Ginger cat brightens up life of melancholy orangutan

This is another one of those animal partnerships that tell us that animals don’t get enough credit for their capability to have deep emotional attachments. Some visitors may have bumped into this story already when surfing the internet but it is the first time I have seen it.

Ginger cat friends with organutan

Ginger cat friends with organutan

This particular partnership also appears to support the view that ginger tabby cats are very stable, sensible and intelligent cats. Another ginger tabby cat befriended a deer.

The orangutan, Tonda, had lived at Zoo World, Panama City, Florida for 11 years. She had a male mate at the zoo who died. Tonda became melancholy and lost her appetite. The zoo keepers came up with an enlightened solution.

They slowly introduced a ginger cat to Tonda. The cat became known as T.K. (Tonda’s Kitty). As Tonda got to know T.K. she disliked it when the contact session was terminated and showed the keepers that she was keen and ready to be with TK on a permanent basis.

And so it happened. That must have been a brave step to take for the organisers. No problem: the two formed an incredibly close relationship. Tonda would play with T.K. and carry him to bed at night etc. It appears she did all the usual things that an excellent human cat caretaker would do. In fact, I have a hunch that she did more, far more than the average human cat caretaker does.

In return, T.K. was extremely attentive towards Tonda like a true gentleman. Once again I sense that he behaved better than many a husband!

The particularly interesting facet of this relationship is that Tonda is a large, powerful and dangerous orangutan who appears not to have been enormously friendly towards her deceased male orangutan mate. She may have been a bit difficult to handle in general but became as mellow as can be with a ginger tom moggie cat.

It makes you wonder if animal to animal relationships have the capability to be finer and more refined than a lot of human to human relationships. We should not dismiss that as an impossibility.

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Ginger cat brightens up life of melancholy orangutan — 6 Comments

  1. I read a similar story about a black cat and a bear in a zoo. When they removed the black cat the bear became very depressed and about 10 days later they returned the cat and the bear was happy again. I am not sure how the cat got in there in the first place but they are best of friends ever since. These stories are great and amazing. Of course animlas feel loneliness and of course they crave company – about that there is no question. Over time they have a very deep bond and need eachother as much as they need the food they eat. It’s about regularity, habit, familiarity and perhaps even addiction if you want to put a negative stint on what is infact a simple positive need. Still – it is no different to us humans. This is the exact reason why I find my cats to be great – if not perfect company. They are different, they don’t talk, but I do and we get along. If the orangutang and the cat can form such a deep bond without words then I question the need for words in the context of needing company to be happy. In other words, you don’t need people to satisfy your need for company. A cat is no less company than a person. If you can dig deep down in yourself an connect and appreciate an animal then good for you. Perhaps its even a bit refreshing after the world of ‘conversation’ which although compelling, is limiting just like music with words is not a liberating as music. I could go on, it’s late, I’ll stop 🙂

  2. Michael, apologize for bragging about “Been here, seen that, done that” facts in order to share personal experiences. During a visit to the Singapore zoo in 2007 i was the luckiest person to have personally met, touched and also be photographed with “Ah MENG” the oldest celebrity orangutan of Singapore zoo.Ah Meng has been photographed with Prince Phillip of England and also Michael.Jackson to name a few of the prominent World personalities.The zoo charged a hefty fee for advertisement documentaries with “Ah Meng” and luckily i was at the right place at the right time, very early morning at the zoo when “Ah Meng’ was being taken for her daily walks by her handler.I was surprised at the humanness of this giant gentle beast, very tame.Sadly “Ah Meng” succumbed to old age and died a few months later past the age of 40’s, rare longevity for an Orangutan.Animals do like other animals as companions and hence some of race-horses always have pony’s in their stable which calms their temperament.Same could be the case between Orangutan Tonda and the ginger cat.Animals too love companionship and don’t like being alone, especially in a zoo or in a private house where they don’t interact with their own kind.I experience this behaviour with my oldest pet, parakeet mitto who just can’t live alone without our presence and will screech if alone.

    • Thank you Rudolph for sharing your interesting experiences. In light of what you say I wonder if all zoo keepers are so knowledgeable and sensitive to the companionship needs of animals.

  3. Pingback: Not Dr Doolittle But Still Communicating | Pictures of Cats

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