Interspecies friendships are some of the most heartwarming stories available on the Internet – from a cat who cares for ducklings to a BFF bond between a fox and hound.

While not all animals get along that well with each other (like these dogs who are afraid to pass their feline household companions), special interspecies friendships show us the unconditional acceptance and love two species can share with one another, often unexpectedly, making them all the more remarkable.

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One such relationship sprouted earlier this year at the Cleveland Animal Protective League (APL) in Ohio involving a newly rescued stray momma cat named Lurlene and Noland, a day-old pit bull puppy.

Their heartwarming story has since allowed the Cleveland APL to be awarded a $25,000 grant from the Petco Foundation, which is given based on the “quality of an organization’s overall work and the impact of their top success story,” according to Cleveland.com.

Noland’s story with Cleveland APL began on June 12, 2013 when a humane officer went to investigate a call concerning animal neglect at a neighborhood property. When the officer arrived, Noland was discovered at just a day-old covered in flies and all alone in a garage without his mother in sight.

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The Cleveland APL team decided that Noland’s best chance at survival was to be placed with Lurlene and her litter of four kittens.

[caption id="attachment_1481047386" align="aligncenter" width="800"]Adorable! Day-Old Pit Bull Puppy Taken in by Stray Cat (PHOTOS) Cleveland Animal Protective League[/caption]

“Remarkably, Lurlene welcomed Noland into her family, nurturing and nursing him as if he was one of her own. And the kittens were fine with him, too,” said Cleveland APL Director Sharon Harvey to Cleveland.com.

[caption id="attachment_148104" align="aligncenter" width="800"]Adorable! Day-Old Pit Puppy Taken in by Stray Cat (PHOTOS) Cleveland Animal Protective League[/caption]

Later that same day, Noland’s mother, Molly, was discovered chained up behind the home, “emaciated and frightened.” Thankfully, Molly and Noland’s owner was convicted of animal neglect and Molly eventually came into the care of Cleveland APL too.

Molly and Noland would later be reunited for play sessions, but until that point, Noland remained with Lurlene and her adorable newly born kittens.

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Judy Hunter, Cleveland APL director of Development wrote to Petco saying that, they had initially been worried of how Noland would get along with his new family, but were amazed that Lurlene “had things under control … [and that] Nolan blended in with the family so well, he was even found using the litter box a few times.”

[caption id="attachment_1481047390" align="aligncenter" width="800"]Adorable! Day-Old Pit Bull Puppy Taken in by Stray Cat (PHOTOS) Cleveland Animal Protective League[/caption]

Noland enjoyed his time with his new siblings, playing and cuddling softly.

[caption id="attachment_148104" align="aligncenter" width="800"]Adorable! Day-Old Pit Puppy Taken in by Stray Cat (PHOTOS) Cleveland Animal Protective League[/caption]

But he did need to learn “how to be a dog,” so he was eventually placed into a foster home with puppies his own age.

We are happy to report that Noland, Lurlene, and her kittens have all found their forever homes. Molly, too, learned to trust people again, and was taken in by a loving family as well.

What a happy ending to such a heartwarming story!

To learn more about Cleveland APL, please visit the shelter’s website or Facebook page.

Lead image source: Cleveland Animal Protective League via Cleveland.com