Maternal Cat 'Adopts' Rejected Newborn Sphynx — and Now They're Both Looking for Forever Homes

Ballerina took in Cleopatra after the kitten's mom rejected her, nursing her back to health with her own babies

Cat that 'adopted' another abandoned cat
Photo: Helen Woodward Animal Center

There truly is nothing like a mother's love — even when it comes to cats.

In March, a newborn sphynx kitten named Cleopatra was relinquished to the Helen Woodward Animal Center in Rancho Santa Fe, California, after its mother seemingly rejected it; the animal's siblings had died and according to reps for the animal center, the cat's owner was "desperate." Staff began bottle-feeding the baby back to health, but knew the love of another cat was what this little one truly needed.

Six days later, the staff's wishes came true when a pregnant domestic short-haired cat named Ballerina arrived from a partner shelter — and gave birth three days later. An "extremely affectionate" mother, animal center staff said, she "welcomed [Cleopatra] as the fourth member of her adorable feline family ... within minutes," even nursing the "adopted" cat with her own.

Cat that 'adopted' another abandoned cat
Helen Woodward Animal Center

The little crew is now inseparable, with Ballerina "in love with" her adopted daughter, according to animal center foster program supervisor Erin Schmitt. "Animals are amazing. It's as though Ballerina sensed a need in Cleo and decided to not only provide her nourishment but provide her all the love she'd been missing."

All five of the cats — Ballerina, Cleopatra and babies Bean, Biscuit and Bunny — will soon be available for adoption through the Helen Woodward Animal Center in Rancho Santa Fe, California, with Cleopatra just needing a little more time to pass some health checks.

If you're interested in adopting any of the five cats, visit, call 858-756-4117 or visit the center in Rancho Santa Fe, California.

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