Cat nurses a newborn pit bull. (Cleveland Animal Protective League/AP)
A pit bull rejected by its mother is being taken care of by an unlikely surrogate: A mama cat.
When Noland was merely 1 day old, he was taken to the Cleveland Animal Protective League without his mother.
"Obviously a 1-day-old puppy, even in the best of circumstances, [the chance of survival] is pretty iffy," Sharon Harvey, president and CEO of the CAPL, told Yahoo News by phone. "We want to give him every chance we could."
The staff decided Noland's best chances were to join a litter of nursing kittens. The question: Would the cat accept a puppy into her brood of four? Amazingly, mom-cat Lurlene welcomed the outsider.
The image says it all: The pit bull is being nursed back to health by a very tolerant feline.
“They’re a happy family now,” said Harvey.
For anyone in love with the orphaned pup who might want to take him home, he’s not quite ready for adoption.“Noland is going to be with us for quite a while,” Harvey told NewsNet5. “We need to be really sure with him. We’ve got to focus on giving him the care he needs right now.”
In addition to spending eight to nine hours a day with the newborn kittens, the now-week-old pit bull, already growing bigger than the kittens, is being bottle-fed and taken home by staffers who watch over him at night.
The little guy has a ways to go before he's in the clear. But a team of staffers—including a cat—have stepped in to help. Harvey remains hopeful—and touched by the simple gesture of a cat saving a dog.
"It’s really crazy what animals can do to give us hope," she said. "Talk about acceptance."
The nutrition and nurturing Lurlene provides Noland are giving him a chance at life.
“We definitely want Noland to have the happy ending that he deserves," Harvey said.