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Cape Town -
Cats and dogs rarely see eye to eye, so it came as a surprise to the staff at a Khayelitsha animal clinic when a stray cat adopted a puppy into her feline family.
The puppy, a tiny crossbreed called Lollipop arrived at the Mdzananda Animal Clinic after she was found wandering the streets of the township.
Suffering from a bad case of fleas, ticks and worms, the little pup was in a bad condition and had to be treated overnight.
But the by the next morning, “Lolli” was still struggling, a shivering wreck hiding in the corner of her cage and refusing to eat.
Clinic spokeswoman Marcelle van Zyl said staff tried everything to keep Lolli warm - from hot-water bottles and blankets to jerseys. But she was still struggling.
“It was decided that to try to keep her warm we would put her with a stray cat that had been admitted with her three 10-week-old kittens.”
Nobody at the clinic was sure how the cat would react.
“Best-case scenario, the cat would foster Lolli as her own, or otherwise tolerate her just enough to let her snuggle up,” Van Zyl said.
At first the cat was wary of the pup, but by the next day staff found the dog lying quietly suckling from her.
The three kittens took a little longer to warm to Lolli, but were soon playing with her like one of their own, rolling around in their pen in a ball of claws and paws.
The pup eventually made a full recovery under the watchful eye of her new mother, who staff said never failed to look after her.
“When she turned eight weeks, we decided it was time for her to find a new home and move her away from her surrogate family,” Van Zyl said.
Lollipop was adopted and is now living at riding stables with five other dogs.
Her new owner said Lolli was settling in to a dog’s life. And the pup was not showing any signs of having picked up tricks from her feline family - no scaling trees, catching birds or pining for sardines.