For the past three years chihuahua-foxy-cross Shyla has been a foster mum – to litters of kittens.
Owner Angela McFall, a vet, said Shyla had her first "false pregnancy" three years ago. Shyla has never been pregnant, but once a year at about the same time she produces milk.
The first time it happened Miss McFall, of Brydone, had rescued a kitten and Shyla took it upon herself to clean and feed it, and treated it like her own offspring.
The next year Shyla had another "false pregnancy", and mothered a litter of seven abandoned kittens that Miss McFall rescued while living in Christchurch.
"We drove to Ashburton as I had heard there were some kittens that were going to be put down. We stuck our feelers out because we knew she was producing milk," she said.
Shyla gets very protective of the kittens she mothers, and Miss McFall kept all seven of the previous litter.