Border Collie Assumes Maternal Duties for Abandoned Kittens on Alberta Ranch


Approximately a week and a half postpartum, a lactating cat went mysteriously missing on a ranch near Barrhead, Alta. With her disappearance, a litter of vulnerable kittens was left at the mercy of the harsh world and ranchers Kelli Geinger and Cal Brown were pressed to conjure up an alternate plan to nourish and nurture the homeless felines.

The mother cat had chosen a hay stack as her birthing suite where Geinger had been able to monitor the nursing mother and her offspring closely. Until, quite unexpectedly, the devoted feline mother seemed to vanish from the face of the earth. No shows at feeding and no sight of her through morning, noon, or night incited dire concerns in Geinger who had grown habitual of watching the feline family closely since their birth to prevent them from going feral.

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In the wake of the mother cat’s abrupt absence, Geinger decided to intervene. She found the kittens nestled in the haystack, devoid of their mother’s warmth, and relocated them inside her home. Surprisingly, it was her three-year-old border collie, Jade, who stepped up to fulfill the role of the absent mother cat.

Jade had been displaying peculiar behaviors suggestive of a pseudopregnancy for the past week or so. Besides diggings that seemed akin to nest-making, she had also been displaying behaviors synonymous with impending motherhood. It was upon the consultation and reassurance of a veterinarian that Geinger formulated the extraordinary plan of introducing her canine to the motherless kittens.

Casting aside doubts, she invited Jade into the new home of the kittens. What followed next was heartwarming to say the least. Jade instinctively assumed her newfound role by cleaning the helpless kittens with her tongue and providing them with both care and nourishment. The kittens, who had endured more than a day without their vital source of food, instinctively sought out Jade’s care.

Three weeks forward, the kittens are now thriving under Jade’s meticulous care and a supplement provided by Geinger. A classic testament to ‘teamwork makes the dream work’, the kittens now have round bellies and are developing regular bathroom habits under their newfound surrogate mother’s watchful gaze. The story of Jade’s unexpected cross-species motherhood serves as a tale of compassion and adaptability in nature’s vast playbook.