Two shunned puppies find survival in a Siamese cat

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(Florida Today) By Scott Gunnerson

Two Chihuahuas born prematurely, hairless and thin, were shunned by their birth mother and had little hope of surviving this week.

That was until a Siamese mix named Nessy, who gave birth to four kittens last week, took in the pair as part of her litter at the SPCA of Brevard in Titusville.

Nessy, a Siamese mix, gave birth to four kittens last week and has accepted into her litter two Chihuahua puppies born premature Tuesday and rejected by their mother. Scott Gunnerson, March 27, 2014.

"We took the puppies and put them on her to see if she liked them," said Debra Cantwell, SPCA adoption coordinator. "She loved them, and I think they are a cute little family and she's doing a great job raising them."

A Chihuahua went into premature labor and gave birth Tuesday to four puppies, but two of them died shortly afterward.

The two survivors weighed only a few of ounces and were about as long as a person's index finger.

They were rejected by the birth mother, leaving the hours-old puppies with very little chance of survival without a mother's care, according SPCA staff.

The two puppies were introduced to the 2-year-old Nessy, and the pups were immediately accepted into the litter. Each puppy will be given a name in a week or two based on their personalities. Cantwell predicts the puppies will survive.

"She really loves them and takes care of them," Cantwell said. "They are nursing good and active. I think they are going to be just fine."

SPCA staff has used the surrogate technique before, matching rejected newborns with a nursing mother of a different species.

"Some of the moms take to the newborns, some of them don't," Cantwell said. "It's always nice to have one that will."

Nessy as well as the kittens take turns grooming the puppies. At feeding time, the litter mates jockey for position and the smaller Chihuahuas need a little assistance to get into position.

Cantwell expects the kittens and puppies to bond and play together as they grow older.

The kittens and puppies will remain with the SPCA until they are old enough to adopt. The no-kill facility on State Road 50 has room for 226 pets

The SPCA expects to expand to a larger location in August on Sisson Road, where it will house 323 homeless pets for adoption while the current location will be used to house clinics for dogs and cats.

The SPCA opened a cat adoption center at Merritt Square Mall this month and another at Melbourne Square Mall in November.

Meanwhile, if any other newborns need a surrogate mother, the SPCA has a momma ready to help.

"If anything else happens, Nessy is on stand by," Cantwell said. "I think she would take as many as she could, she is just that kind of good mother."

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