A total of eight orphaned hedgehogs managed to survive against all odds at a zoo in the Russian city of Vladivostok, after a kindly cat became their surrogate mum.
Muska the cat adopted the spiky litter after their mother died in a lawn-mowing accident.
The tiny hoglets, as young ones are known, had refused milk from a syringe, a bottle, and a saucer for two days, according to Sadgorod Zoo.
At night, a heating pad was used to stimulate their digestion.
Yet, nothing helped.
As Muska had recently raised a litter of foster kittens, she still had milk to offer and so, the zoo decided to try the unusual pairing.
The hungry orphans reacted to her bodily warmth as well as to the smell of milk, and soon began to nurse.
The good-natured cat then proceeded to feed the hedgehogs for over a week and she also comforted them at night, Russia’s Vesti reported.
The fragile little ones are now eating on their own, although their feline guardian is still keeping an eye on proceedings.
A photograph on the zoo’s Instagram feed shows one of them happily snoozing in his food bowl.
Sadgorod Zoo’s media director, whose name is Alyona Asnovina, explained that there had been an “invasion” of hedgehogs in eastern Russian this year.
This is certainly not the first time a cat has nursed orphaned hedgehogs in the country. Back in the year 2012, a cat named Sonya accepted in a total of four babies and fed them alongside her own kitten.