Cat adopts abandoned day-old puppy, helps shelter win $25,000

Noland and LureneA cat who had recently delivered a litter welcomed a day-old puppy into her brood after workers at the Cleveland Animal Protective League placed them together. The odd pairing helped win the league a $25,000 grant from the Petco Foundation, which awarded 33 grants after receiving 4,500 applications.

The Cleveland Animal Protective League’s tale of a nurturing cat and a helpless puppy not only captivates and amazes, it added $25,000 to the nonprofit group’s budget.

The Petco Foundation received more than 4,500 applications for 33 grants, and Thursday announced the winners — based on the quality of an  organization’s overall work and the impact of their top success story.

The APL’s winning story began June 12, when a humane officer investigating a call about animal neglect found a fly-covered day-old puppy alone in a garage. The officer couldn’t find the puppy’s mother, so she rushed the tiny pit bull mix to the shelter on Willey Avenue, where the animal care team named him Noland and discussed how to save his life.

“The team decided the best option would be to try placing Noland with a stray mom cat named Lurlene who had, two days before Noland’s arrival, delivered a litter of four kittens,” APL director Sharon Harvey said. “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.”

Noland’s mother, Molly, was found later that day, chained behind the home, but she was too emaciated and frightened to care for her puppy, Harvey said, so Noland stayed with Lurlene and her kittens during the day and was bottle-fed at night.

When Molly’s owner was convicted of animal neglect, Noland and the kittens were thriving together. They were placed in a foster home until they were old enough to be neutered for adoption.

“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 and APL director of development, Judy Hunter, wrote to Petco. “Actually, Noland blended in with the family so well, he was even found using the litter box a few times.”

Noland then was placed in a foster home with a litter of puppies his age, and learned how to be a dog, while Lurlene and the kittens returned to the shelter and all were adopted.

When Noland returned to the shelter, he and his mother, Molly, were reunited for play sessions.

“Actually, Noland blended in with the family so well, he was even found using the litter box a few times.”

“Noland had certainly thrived with Lurlene, his feline siblings and foster families as he was nearly 18 pounds when he went home with his new family,” Hunter wrote to Petco.

Molly fully recovered and learned to trust people, and she, too, was adopted.

“Truly, Noland and Lurlene’s story encompasses everything we do at the APL — protecting animals from cruelty and neglect, staff members and volunteers working together to nurse them back to health, 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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