15 Favorite Unusual Animal Families

Three baby pigs rest next to their adoptive mother, Sai Mai, an 8-year-old tiger, at the Sriracha Tiger Zoo in Thailand in January 2010. Sai Mai nurses and cares for the piglets as if they were her own. Photo Credit: Sukree Sukplang / Reuters

(ANIMAL PICTURES/ANIMAL FAMILIES) We often hear stories of people adopting abandoned baby animals, but how often do you hear of a tiger who adopted piglets, or a gorilla who adopted a kitten? This beautiful photo gallery showcases the special relationship between inter-species families. From MSNBC’s Today, meet furry, four-legged moms who adopted, nursed and nurtured animals of completely different species. — Global Animal 

1. Shar-Pei & Tiger Cubs

Photo credit: Igor Okunin / AP

The first mom up is Cleopatra, a Shar-Pei dog who ‘adopted’ two baby tigers in the Black Sea resort of Sochi, Russia on June 4, 2012. The tigers, whose mother refused to feed them, found an unusual wet nurse, a wrinkled, sand-colored Shar Pei dog named Cleopatra. The cubs were born in late May in a zoo at the October health resort in Sochi.


2. Cat & Puppies

Photo Credit: Muhammad Hamed / Reuters

Smaigel the cat nurses her kittens and four puppies at her owner Mohammad Al-Hamoury’s house in Amman, Jordan in February 2009. Smaigel took it upon herself to care for the puppies after their mother died in a car accident.


3. Golden Retriever & Bengal Tiger Cubs

Isabella, a golden retriever in Kansas who adopted three white Bengal tiger cubs and nursed them as her own. The tiger cubs — Nasira, Anjika and Sidani — needed somewhere to turn because their mother stopped nursing them 15 hours after their birth. Zookeepers Tom and Allie Harvey brought the cubs home, and their dog Isabella stepped right up.


4. Dog & Wild Boar

Photo Credit: Barcroft / Fame Pictures

Laska the Alsatian immediately viewed it as her mission to nurture two tiny, abandoned wild boars who were close to death when they were found in Hamburg, Germany in March 2010. The baby boars — dubbed Alice and Emma — were brought to the home of the Heckers, Laska’s owners. Because of their small size, baby boars can’t stay warm enough alone at night to keep alive. Laska focused on snuggling up against them to keep them warm, cleaning them with her tongue and picking them up whenever they toppled over.


5. Siamese & Puppies

Photo Credit: Lucy Schaly / AP

A Siamese cat named Amanda, owned by Debbie Girting of Beaver, Pa., is shown here nursing her two newborn kittens along with an orphaned litter of puppies in March 2010. Lucy, Girting’s Maltese Pomeranian dog, gave birth to seven pups on March 7, and Amanda’s kittens were born on the exact same day. Sadly, four days later, Lucy had a seizure and died. Amanda stepped right up and adopted the puppies as her own.




  1. Kathiemudge you are a ‘Debbie Downer’!! These are absolutely beautiful stories of different species of animals adopting babies that aren’t even there own and you have to go on and on about getting your animals fixed!! Everyone is well aware of these facts. Such wonderful stories about loving animals and you have to taint it, WTH is wrong with some people? Some people aren’t happy unless they can control the whole world!

  2. What bothers me about these pictures is often times it is a lactating dog or cat who has had puppies/kittens and lives on a farm or some other facility, or just belongs to an every day owner. These mother dogs or cats will nurse something of a different species and be very motherly and that is wonderful, yes, but no one ever questions why no one fixed the dog or cat in the first place, and if you are a realistic person you can pretty much predict this is not the animal’s first litter nor will it be her last. With the millions of animals put to sleep each year I personally shudder every time I think of it. God bless the poor animals and thank goodness babies who are abandoned or whose mother has died have a way to live, but the mothers “used” which is often the case, are truly that. What happens to their puppies and kittens? Found homes for after being fixed? I think not.