Meet Floyd, the Adoptive Dogfather of Five

Floyd the farm dog has never turned a stray away.

Editor’s Note: America’s Best Pet Pals is a nationwide search for the animal friendships that make you laugh, cry, and purr. Reader’s Digest will be honoring the best in pet friendship in print, online, and on social media. This is a finalist in our “Animals to Animals” category. Scroll to the bottom to cast your vote for Floyd and his kittens. To see our full list of finalists, go to rd.com/petpals and vote in each category.

It all started a few years ago when my dog Floyd “adopted” a tiny, sickly-looking kitten we found with her paw in one of our calves’ milk pails one winter. She would be curled up in a hutch keeping warm with a calf, then when we fed the calves, she’d stretch up on her tiptoes to dip into the pails. She wouldn’t let me touch her at first but would rub up against Floyd and let him lick her face as a mama cat would. I was finally able to make friends with her and decided to name her Mousetrap.

Our farm hadn’t had a cat around in years and needed a good mouser. We brought her into the milk house where it was warm, and she could get as much milk and food as she wanted. Mousetrap made herself right at home. The only problem she ever caused was traipsing across the computer keyboard in the barn office and sending the computer into fits! We learned to stand the keyboard on edge at night.

dog and cat curled up togetherCourtesy Elizabeth Miller

Mousetrap loved snuggling up with Floyd while I milked the cows, and she started following him everywhere. Floyd loved having a little buddy, and Mousetrap eventually grew from a scrawny, sickly kitten into a beautiful tortoiseshell cat, who did indeed turn out to be a great hunter.

The following year, I found Floyd gazing delightedly under a broken floorboard in the barn, and discovered Mousetrap was now a mama. I had a hard time getting him to budge—he wanted to lay there at the opening of the hole all day. Whether he wanted to stand guard or just keep his friend company I don’t know, but when the kittens began creeping out, he was right there to greet them, lovingly licking them head to toe as he had their mother.

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dog and three kittensCourtesy Elizabeth Miller

Floyd would check on them multiple times a day, and as they grew up, canine and felines alike would share bowls of warm milk and food together. Floyd will even let Mousetrap share a steak bone or the occasional scoop of ice cream. The kittens saw Floyd as a second mother and followed him around the farm just like Mousetrap, and when mama had enough of nursing and started leaving them on their own for longer stretches of time, they had the world’s best babysitter.

The kittens are all grown up now, and most of them are still here. It’s always a sight to see him trot by with several cats keeping step alongside him. When one of them catches a mouse, Floyd gets in on the excitement too. They’ll play together for hours. Floyd will sometimes snatch a prize from right under their noses and run off for a good game of “catch me if you can.”

dog and cay vying for a chipmunk in the grassCourtesy Elizabeth Miller

Last summer, there was another litter of kittens, and of course, Floyd fell in love with them too. Several of the folks who adopted them were thrilled that their new kitten was already more than comfortable around dogs. There were even a few from that litter who I had to bring into the house for extra care, and Floyd was a wonderful surrogate mom, letting them snuggle up and never complaining when they ate from his bowl or climbed over him.

Witnessing the sweet relationship Floyd shares with these cats has truly been an enriching, heartwarming experience for me, and everyone else on the farm. They’ve brought so many smiles, laughs, and love that we never would’ve gotten if that first tiny kitten hadn’t found her way into our calf hutches that winter, and met the gentle farm dog who accepted her as family.