Cats and rats may not seem like the ideal partners, but these little critters are the best of buds – despite their obvious differences.
The Brooklyn Cat Café has enlisted the special help of two rats named Remy and Emile. The rats have a very special job: to befriend and care for orphaned kittens.
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The kittens are not always in need of babysitters – once they’re old enough to receive their vaccinations, they are free to join the larger community of older cats.
The idea for this unique inter-species relationship began several years ago when the Brooklyn Cat Café was hosting Ebony; a kitten who was diagnosed with feline leukemia. The virus is highly contagious in cats, which means that infected kitties have to be kept away from their non-infected peers.
As a means of providing Ebony with stimulation, the organization introduced her to Ivory the rat.
The duo’s friendship was rife with romping and play before Ebony passed away from the virus a while later. After observing the positive effects of their relationship, the café staff became dedicated to the use of rats as caregivers.
“Although rats and cats have adversarial relationships outside the terrarium – inside the kittens are the perfect size to have supervised romp and play sessions with the kittens,” says the café’s website. “Because the rats are not scared of the kittens, they don’t run away and the cats don’t hunt them. However, the kittens are convinced that the rat tails are there primarily for them to play with. Remy and Emile are ok with that so long as the kittens play gently with their tails.”
(WATCH the video below)