A Dutch tabby cat nurses an orphaned red panda cub in Amsterdam, Netherlands.
updated 7/18/2008 11:29:28 AM ET 2008-07-18T15:29:28

Amsterdam's Artis zoo says a baby red panda adopted by a zookeeper's cat after being rejected by its mother has died.

The zoo says an autopsy on the tiny panda found its windpipe filled with milk, indicating it choked to death. The zoo had hoped the panda would be able to suckle from the cat for three months before moving onto a diet of bamboo and fruit.

The tabby cat came to the cub's rescue July 1 after it was spurned by its mother. A second cub died shortly after the cubs' birth on June 30.

In a message on its Web site Friday, the zoo says the cub was healthy until its unexpected death Thursday. The rest of its adoptive family — the tabby and her four kittens — are in good condition.

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