“She just softened immediately” ❤️
Cleo had only been at Helen Woodward Animal Center for four days when she arrived.
The small, hairless sphynx cat was malnourished, and shelter workers feared she wouldn’t survive without a mother to care for her.
“When Cleo arrived, she was quite tiny,” Jessica Gercke, the shelter’s communications director, told us. “Our vet started bottle-feeding her right away, but getting Cleo to drink was a long process.”
“At the end of the day, we felt she needed to be fed by a mother to have the best chance of life,” she added. “However, we continued to give it our all.”
Bellarina, a pregnant cat, appeared a week later, answering their prayers. The shelter hoped that once Bellarina gave birth, she would welcome the little kitten into her family, but they couldn’t be sure.
“Three days after her arrival, she gave birth, and after seeing how good she was with her own kittens, we introduced her to Cleo,” Gercke added. “We all crossed our fingers since we knew Cleo, being hairless, would feel and smell different than her own kittens.”
Bellarina could tell Cleo needed help the moment she met her. She didn’t mind that Cleo was different, and she quickly adopted her.
“She just warmed up to Cleo right away and favored her during feedings, rolling over to her first and lifting her up with her mouth to ensure she had a good spot!” According to Gercke. “She was fond of brushing and nuzzling her. It was deeply moving for all of us.”
Bellarina continued to look after her fluffy kittens — and Cleo — at home with her foster mom.
“She treated her the same way she treated her other infants,” Bellarina’s foster mother, Traci Parker, told The Dodo. “She even maintained a closer check on her because she appears to be odd and requires special attention.” She was a fantastic mother.”
Cleo needs to be kept warm because of her unusual appearance, so her foster mother gives her frequent showers and massages with coconut oil. Cleo, on the other hand, is prospering thanks to Bellarina and Parker and will soon be available for adoption.
“Cleo is curious and inquisitive,” Parker remarked. “She enjoys playing with her siblings and with the feather toys. She also like her circular, fluffy bed, which is really kind on her skin.”
Bellarina and her other babies are now looking for their forever homes, while Cleo continues on her path to become a healthy and happy cat.
“As she continues to grow and gain weight, Cleo will stay with us for another month,” Gercke added. “She’ll need the extra time to make up for her slow start, but we think she’ll have a bright future.”