CLEVELAND - A quick glance at a mother cat nursing her new litter is nothing out of the ordinary, however, a closer inspection would reveal something very extraordinary.
Lurlene is nursing four newborn kittens (Rivette, Espa, Zixi and Tallydab) along with a one-week-old pitbull puppy.
Last week, the puppy was dropped off without its mother at the Cleveland Animal Protective League. He was just one-day old.
"Pups that old without their mom … their survival rate is pretty iffy," said Sharon Harvey, president and chief executive officer of the Cleveland Animal Protective League.
The APL's veterinarian and animal team were faced with a challenge and decided to see if a new mother cat at the agency would accept the puppy into her family.
Lurlene and her litter of four welcomed Noland with no hesitation.
"Lurlene loves him," said Harvey. "It's so adorable."
Noland is spending about nine hours a day with Lurlene and his new siblings – eating and sleeping the day away.
Since Noland is a bit bigger, the staff at the APL is supplementing Lurlene's milk with a bottles. He goes home at night with team member who can bottle feed him and monitor him overnight.
"We need to be diligent with his care," explained Harvey, who is optimistic about his future.
The organization currently is not accepting inquiries on Noland's adoption.
"Noland is going to be with us for quite awhile," said Harvey. "We need to be really sure with him. We've got to focus on giving him the care he needs right now."
Harvey said there are two things the community can do to help out Noland and others like him at the APL.
Those looking to help can visit clevelandapl.org and make a general donation to the humane agency or donate to the second chance program, which helps out animals like Noland with extraordinary conditions.
The humane agency is also looking for people willing to volunteer or foster young animals. Harvey said the organization is most in need of volunteers willing to foster baby animals and bottle feed them or keep them until they are big enough or strong enough to go up for adoption. Interested parties can email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 216-771-4616 ext. 0. Ask for Morgan when calling.
"Any donations made will help Noland and others like him," Harvey said.