Orphaned after their mother died while protecting them from a coyote, four starving kittens were rescued and nursed back to health by the CATS Cradle Shelter in Fargo, N.D. Now all four kittens have been adopted together and are learning their way around their new home.
Found beside their mother’s body in July, the kittens were just 4 weeks old and in poor condition.
"We were pretty stunned by the condition that they were in — they were emaciated and hair was falling out, which is a sign of starvation, so we immediately took them," shelter director Gail Ventzke told KVRR. "They should be bouncy, furry, happy little kittens and they look like mice, and they were just so small."
The smallest of the kittens was Daisy, a tiny kitten with bulging eyes and thinning fur who weighed less than 6 ounces. At her age, Daisy should have weighed more than a pound.
The "coyote kittens," as they came to be known, were put on a special diet to help them gain weight. Shelter workers said the foursome were messy eaters and that Daisy often looked like she’d taken a swim in her formula.
By the time they reached 11 weeks of age, Daisy and her siblings were unrecognizable as the emaciated kittens CATS Cradle had taken in. She’s still the smallest of the litter, but Daisy is healthy and continues to put on weight. At her 11-week weigh-in she was 1.54 pounds.
During their recovery, the coyote kittens found new friends in foster mom Lori Lang and her English sheepdog, Romeo, who "stepped up to surrogate parent the little orphans."
And it looks like they’ve found a permanent home with Romeo and the rest of the Lang family.
CATS Cradle recently made a Facebook update saying, "They will be sharing their home with their foster canine brother Romeo forever. Lori and her husband have decided that they just cannot part with them and they are now officially adopted."
More cat stories from MNN:
- Kitten with rare birth defect gets back on his feet
- Blind kitten becomes an Internet sensation
- Lolcats: Where they came from and why we love them
All photos: CATS Cradle Shelter