Thursday, January 21, 2010

Basset hound suckles kittens

When Elizabeth May rescued a litter of kittens, she found an unlikely replacement mother. Showing a mother's love knows no bounds, her basset hound Jezebelle stepped in to feed the seven balls of fluff.

The veterinary nurse, who runs a pet- care company, brought the eight-day-old kittens home from work, intending to bottle-feed them until they were weaned. It was the second litter of the season for the mother, whose owners knew she could not cope. "The mother cat had had two litters this season, this is her second. The first litter of four had died, her owners knew she wasn't going to cope with seven."

Ms May, of Christchurch, New Zealand has three cats, three dogs, a bird and two fish tanks. After two days of bottle-feeding the kittens, she was surprised when Jezebelle took an interest in them.

"I thought it was an unhealthy interest at first. Then she rolled over on her back, into a submissive pose, so I knew she wasn't going to hurt them.

"She started licking them and I noticed that one of them actually latched on and I figured out she had milk." Although Jezebelle had never been mated or had had puppies, she was "really soft-natured and very maternal" towards the kittens.

"She cleans them and is protective. I had the bird out the other day and he landed among them and she just about ate him. Jezebelle's not interested in letting anyone else near them," she said.

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