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Woman claims puppies were born to cat

Geneticist Adil Pacheco took blood samples from three puppies in a poor neighborhood in Passo Fundo in southern Brazil to settle a dispute over a claim they were born from a cat.
Brazilian Aline da Silva holds her dog, named Dog, as her neighbour's cat Mimi nurses what its owner Cassia Aparecida de Souza claims are Mimi's own offspring born with dog traits
Brazilian Aline da Silva holds her dog, named Dog, as her neighbor's cat Mimi nurses what its owner Cassia Aparecida de Souza claims are Mimi's own offspring born with dog traits three months after allegedly mating with Dog.Edison Vara / Reuters
/ Source: Reuters

Geneticist Adil Pacheco took blood samples on Friday from three puppies in a poor neighborhood in Passo Fundo in southern Brazil to settle a dispute over a claim they were born from a cat.

“It’s rather simple really. If the puppies prove to have 78 chromosomes, they are dogs. If they have 38, they are cats,” said Pacheco, director of the Institute of Biological Sciences of the University of Passo Fundo.

“But I seriously doubt they are feline. Every characteristic about them is canine.”

Cassia Aparecida de Souza, 18, said her cat Mimi had given birth to the three puppies as well as three kittens, which did not survive. And she, her husband Rogerio Jorge da Silva, 26, and several others in the town believe a neighborhood mutt named Dog is the father of Mimi’s pups.

Brazilian Cassia Aparecida de Souza holds her cat Mimi (L) and what she and her husband claim is one of Mimi's own offspring born with dog traits three months after allegedly mating with a neighbor's dog, in the southern Brazilian city of Passo Fundo, Rio Grande do Sul state, in this November 15, 2006 file photo. A geneticist from the Passo Fundo University took blood samples on November 17 from the three puppies being nursed by Mimi to settle the dispute over their owners' claims that the puppies were born from their cat. Picture taken November 15, 2006. REUTERS/Edison VaraEdison Vara / X01489

When news of the spectacular claim spread in the Brazilian media, some local newspapers accused the poor couple, who are expecting their first child in a few months, of fraud and said they were simply trying to make money off a hoax.

“I feel indignant at such accusations,” da Silva said.

Pacheco said he was asked by a local newspaper to conduct the chromosome test, which should yield results on Tuesday.

“It’s not uncommon for mammals to nurse young from another species. The cat gave birth in a field and she likely inherited the puppies from a nearby female dog who had recently given birth,” he said.