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When Animals Adopt

Posted September 09, 2009 12:01 AM by SavvyExacta

People adopt pets all the time, but sometimes animals adopt other animals – occasionally, other species! The orphan foal is nursed by another mare; the abandoned kitten is taken in by a motherly dog; or even more recently and a little more extreme, the Rhodesian ridgeback nurses the tiny piglet!

Why Does it Happen?

I attempted to research this quite extensively and couldn't come to many conclusive answers other than a lot of websites full of cute pairings.

The information I did see explained that such relationships often develop when one of the animals is very young and the other has a parental instinct – such that they form a strong bond. Many of the "parents" are females who have lost babies of their own. Many of the "babies" are orphans or have been abandoned.

Peculiar Pairs

  • Baboon and chicken
  • Leopard and baboon
  • Lioness and calf
  • Tortoise and hippo

The photo above is of a family friend's dog with a fawn they rescued. The two became good friends.

Do you have any stories or pictures of two different animals interacting to share?

Resources:

http://www.neatorama.com/2009/09/04/dog-adopts-abandoned-runt-piglet/

http://www.moderndogmagazine.com/articles/interspecies-friendships-when-cats-join-pack/270

http://www.divinecaroline.com/22353/50203-food-friend--animals-adopt-species

http://www.environmentalgraffiti.com/featured/if-different-species-can-get-along/11361

http://scienceray.com/biology/zoology/12-astonishing-interspecies-relationships/

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#1

Re: When Animals Adopt

09/09/2009 2:52 AM

Well in some cases like where you may leave your dog alone in the house while you are gone to work, the dog simply needs either another smaller dog to play with, or a cat to play with.

Cats between themselves after they become cats, and are no longer kittens, engage in what is called parrallel play. In otherwords they sit around together, sometimes not even really all that close together.

Alistair who is our killer cat, and has killed many a young rabbit, for some reason decided not to kill one rabbit. I really wish he had not decided to have a pet rabbit since the damn rabbit ate phone lines and I would have preferred really to only find the feet and liver that Alistair normally might leave around after his hunting.

I have found that the cats were very accepting of the company of possums. Overall my suspicion is that emotional creatures like some company.

I am certain I do.

Possibly Alistair felt since Jamison was no longer alive and around since Jamison died of a heart attack out in the yard, the rabbit filled a life void for him, and he allowed the rabbit to live and eat from the cat bowl.

Alistair was very comfortable with the possum, even though I wanted the possum out of the house.

In the case of Alistair the cat, I have never ever noted any parental instinct at all. He is normally a flat out killer. Still I do feel that he wants some company.

Dogs obviously day in and day out want lots of company with either other dogs humans, or even cats. Hounds and beagles especially hate to be alone. I unfortunately do not have a picture of Alistair and his pet rabbit, nor Alistair and his possum, together, but I do have a picture of the possum on the deck, and I did tell a story. - So there you have it.

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#2
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Re: When Animals Adopt

09/09/2009 3:48 AM

...nice story. Alistair sounds an interesting cat

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#3

Re: When Animals Adopt

09/09/2009 10:20 AM

While this didn't happen in nature, it was a most memorable pairing for me.

Koko and All Ball.

Koko is a lowland gorilla living in captivity in California who has become quite adept at using American Sign Language. He has cared for several 'pet' kittens over his life, but his first and favorite was All Ball.

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#4

Re: When Animals Adopt

09/09/2009 10:54 PM

The links to your images is broken.

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#5
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Re: When Animals Adopt

09/09/2009 11:10 PM

Ummm... I didn't try to post any links. Did the picts not post (they did for me)? It was just a cut/paste from an email.

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#6
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Re: When Animals Adopt

09/09/2009 11:51 PM

You probably need to save 1st

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#7
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Re: When Animals Adopt

09/10/2009 12:07 AM

Yeah, just as Garthh suggested, try saving the pictures to your desktop and add a picture by browsing to your desktop. After the pictures have loaded, you can delete them from your desktop afterward if you do not want to keep them on the hard drive.

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#10
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Re: When Animals Adopt

09/10/2009 12:41 AM

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Re: When Animals Adopt

09/10/2009 2:41 AM

Cuddle cuddle

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Re: When Animals Adopt

09/10/2009 7:13 AM

Great pictures! Yes, it's amazing how animals will bond together. I just thought of that Disney classic The Fox and the Hound.

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Re: When Animals Adopt

09/10/2009 9:27 AM

OMG, how wonderful! Great pictures, Lighthasmass

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#8

Re: When Animals Adopt

09/10/2009 12:07 AM

Cats are sociable creatures. Its a myth that they are aloof and standoffish. Unfortunately most people only see orphans that were taken away from their mothers at an extrtemely young age.

We have a polydactyl cat. She was born in 2004 and we now have three generations of polydactyls. Raising whole cat families including the father gives an entirely different perspective on family dynamics in the feline world. Much depends on how they are raised by their human care takers. (us) If you talk to them and cuddle them they in turn talk back and socialize. It doesn't take long to figure out what they are saying. (Ever been told off by a cat or had them complain about the cooking? Some of them even cuss me out. ) When Soya's daughter gave birth to her first litter, three of them survived. Her sister lost all but one of her kittens at birth ( first litter ) and she acted like a human teenager who didn't know how to be a mother. So we gave the remaining one to Kia ( the daughter) Well Kia calmly took in the little one and raised it as her own. Meanwhile Mother Sonja was also pregnant and dropped a litter a week later. The two of them decided to join forces and mixed the two litters into one big basket. This allowed one or the other to take a break and get away from the 24/7 care taking at intervals. Mind you the chow lineup was a circus with eight kittens trying to nurse at six teats.

About two years ago we had an orphan who became 'auntie' to the first litter our polydactyl dropped. Although she could not nurse, she would spell the mother and mind the kids for an hour or two while mother got some rest and a break. That was her own idea. Evidently Sonja remembered this and told her daughter about it.

We are now on the second go round of mixed family co-operative care. The cats now tend to figure it out on their own. First time one of them gets pregnant they come and tell my wife a whole long story and insist she keep vigil during the birthing process. None of this hiding them away. Nope! they come and tell my wife where they want to have the kittens. And its not always th eplace we chose for them.

Subsequent litters they usually manage on their own. Evidently they do talk among themselves because each successive generation learns more and faster than the previous generation. We have decided to keep one of the latest. He is spoilt rotten. If mother lectures or disciplines him, he goes to grandmother for a cuddle and a snack suck. Both mother and dauther are lactating so its a free meal either place. But even after we give him a bath in the sink, mother and grandma insist on giving him a licking as well. Because he is the only survivor this time around they dote on him and he is never left unsurpervised. In many ways he reminds us of our little 4 year old nephew.

The fathers are typical chauvanistic males. Never help out with the family chores and when the sons get big enough, they are kicked out by cuffing them or actually fighting them. Pretty soon the young males goes walkabout unless we give them away first.

We have now been raising cat families for nine years. The cats also get used to the dogs but unless the dogs are small ( cat sized) they are still leery of playing with them. People simply do not know how much they miss by not seeing whole families interact instead of one lonely orphan kitten.

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#9
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Re: When Animals Adopt

09/10/2009 12:15 AM

This is well deserved: AWWWWWWWWWWWW!!!!

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Re: When Animals Adopt

09/10/2009 2:33 AM

polydactyl cat

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