July 8, 2020
Julie says: At church one Sunday a friend of mine asked if school was out yet for me. (I'm a teacher.) I said yes and she said, "Great! How would you like to nurse a kitten for me?” A friend of hers had given her an orphan male kitten to care for, since normally she does that kind of stuff, but she was just too busy to attend to the two-hour feedings. I said I would do it, knowing that my daughter Emily, home from college, would be in love and I wouldn’t have to do much. We would only have the kitten for about three weeks and then we would have to find it a home because I knew our cat, Cally, would not tolerate another cat around the house, although I thought she might accept a kitten for a while.

So the work began. We fed the kitten milk replacement formula from an eyedropper, and then afterwards we would clean him with a warm wet paper towel to imitate the licking of the mother cat. This also induces kittens to eliminate, since they can’t do this on their own yet. I was thinking (hoping) that Cally might adopt the motherless kitten, but when we showed the meowing babe to her, she stiffened, hissed at it and took herself outside. But all was not lost. Gradually we introduced kitty to Lucy, our dog. No one, not even a dog, can resist a kitten. Her interest was fanatic. Eventually we let her sniff him and she was in love. When we felt it was safe, we put the kitten on the floor. Lucy laid down next to the little thing and assumed the nursing position, getting in occasional gentle licks. That was it; Lucy finally attained motherhood. Kitty was her "puppy" and she began caring for him in every way that she could. Even claws and sharp little teeth didn't deter Lucy's desire to be a good mother. Under Lucy's care, Toby grew and thrived. He became very playful and grew to love sandals, his "sock buddy," and anything he could get his teeth and claws into, including my leg.

Still, he needed a new home. I tried to remain a stauch supporter of my husband's declared position of "no new cat." But he was the one who fell in love and caved. So Emily won again, just as she did in 1994 when she convinced us to keep Cally.

Toby is now a total member of the family. He has learned to be more careful with his claws. Cally still hisses and growls whenever he comes within two feet of her. Lucy no longer mothers this full-grown boy, but they are friendly. She routinely shares "her" chair with him. And when he sees Lucy crossing the yard, he crouches, races across the yard and leaps at her, occasionally using her back as a springboard.

All Photos Courtesy of and ©: Julie Falk
Julie's photo blog Framework of the Heart is not to be missed, especially her photos of snowflakes!!

Comments and LOLs:
katzenmother -
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katzenmother
gold kitten points
807 points
Such a cute little wee lad:) Not every kitten gets to be mothered by a dog. Lucy was a fine mother and raised a super cute baby.
Natthecat -
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Natthecat
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∞ points
Irresistible Toby! This photo went viral for years. People make plans but cats undo them. Great backstory.
txmomlovell -
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txmomlovell
gold star pointsgold star pointsgold star pointsgold star points
104 points
bright eyes
judymack812 -
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judymack812
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1489 points
Love Toby and Lucy. I used to foster and my female cats wanted nothing to do with kittens but my male cats took care of them and watched over them until weaned. Daddys always say no and cave in. Its really sweet.
Natthecat -
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Natthecat
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#judymack812. What you said about daddies really resonated with me! Been thinking about mine a lot since Father's Day and July 3rd, 1961, when he died of cancer. He was so cool, and my dearest friend among humans.



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