A stray cat that adopted a neglected day-old puppy has helped an Ohio animal rescue win a $25,000 grant from the Petco Foundation.

Lurlene and Noland's story began in June when a humane officer investigating a report of animal neglect found a newborn puppy covered in flies alone in a garage.

The tiny pit bull puppy was taken to Cleveland Animal Protective League where shelter workers named him Noland and placed him with Lurlene, a rescued cat that had given birth to four kittens two days earlier.

"Remarkably, Lurlene welcomed Noland into her family, nurturing and nursing him as if he was one of her own. And the kittens were fine with him, too," CAPL director Sharon Harvey told Cleveland.com.

Noland's mother, Molly, was found the next day chained in the home, but she was too emaciated to care for her puppy, so shelter workers nursed her back to health.

Meanwhile, Noland stayed with Lurlene and her kittens in a foster home.

"We were a little concerned that Noland would get to be too big and rough for his less robust feline family, but Lurlene had things under control and it didn't take the kittens long to learn how to put him in his place," Harvey said. "Actually, Noland blended in with the family so well, he was even found using the litter box a few times."

Noland was eventually placed in a foster home with a litter of puppies where he learned to act more like dog.

When Molly recovered, she and Noland were reunited for play sessions until Molly was adopted.

Lurlene and her litter were returned to the shelter where they were all adopted.

The Petco Foundation received more than 4,500 applications during its Holiday Wishes Grant Campaign, and Noland and Lurlene helped CAPL take home one of the 33 prizes.

"Truly, Noland and Lurlene's story encompasses everything we do at the APL — protecting animals from cruelty and neglect, finding them wonderful new homes, and learning from them about the power of forgiveness and unconditional love and acceptance," Harvey said. "And when you get right down to it, that's really what it's all about, isn't it?"

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Laura Moss writes about a variety of topics with a focus on animals, science, language and culture. But she mostly writes about cats.

Momma cat adopts puppy (and brings home the bacon for shelter while she's at it)
When shelter workers took in a day-old pit bull puppy, they placed him with a litter of kittens where he was welcomed as part of the family.