10 unlikely friendships between a cat and another animal

There are 10 highly unusual reported relationships between cats and another animal species on this page. I hope you enjoy them. They are pretty rare and tell us that interspecies relationships can be magical. Perhaps the most magical and certainly the most successful interspecies relationship is between humans and cats and dogs. The next most successful is the relationships between cats and dogs.

These stories were reported in 2011. Please feel free to follow up on the stories and update them if you wish as at the date of this article which is February 23, 2022. I would really appreciate some comments which update the stories.

Asiatic bear Mausschen and Muschi the black cat
Asiatic bear Mausschen and Muschi the black cat. Photo in the public domain.
Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles: Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

Black cat and Asiatic black bear

This relationship developed at Berlin Zoo where Mausschen, an Asiatic black bear, was housed. He had been there for 40 years. They don’t know how Muschi, a black domestic cat, got into her enclosure but there she was one day. In 2000 she suddenly appeared living in the black bear’s enclosure. She struck up a friendship with the old lady bear.

At that time the bear was the oldest known female Asiatic bear. On any given day you could see her sprawled out on a bed of hay with her cat companion by her side. They ate together and shared their meals of raw meat, dead mice and fruit (I don’t think the cat ate fruit 😉). When the bear exhibit was renovated, Muschi became troubled and waited around until the enclosure was reopened. The relationship lasted a decade on my report. It might have lasted longer and probably did. My report is dated 2011 as mentioned.

Bobcat kitten and a fawn

During the Santa Barbara major fire of 2009, a tiny fawn and a young bobcat became friends. The month was May, a time when many animals give birth and the California forests had many newborn deer. The fawn had been rescued from the fire by the Solvang Animal Rescue. It was weak and crying when found. Rescue centres were full up and so the Sheriff’s Department offered their facility as temporary housing.

They already had a tiny bobcat kitten in a crate at their facility said Julia di Sieno. The kitten needed round-the-clock care. They weren’t sure that he would survive. Because of a shortage of space, they put the fawn with the cat in the crate. This is exactly what they needed. As soon as the fawn was placed in with the bobcat, they curled up together and went to sleep. They were both exhausted and cuddled up for comfort and forged an immediate bond out of the fear and exhaustion of that terrible fire. The deer was eventually relocated into the wild.

Fat Cat Slender Deer
Fat Cat Slender Deer. This is not the relationship described above as you the cat is an adult. This is another deer/cat interspecies relationship. I sense that there are quite a few more.

Bobtailed cat and bobtailed dog

The story also starts off with a natural disaster, in this case Hurricane Katrina when it slammed into New Orleans, Louisiana in August 2005. The disaster left 250,000 domestic animals alone and abandoned. Many of them died. Many lived on the streets and some joined gangs of other like-minded animals to survive. The bobtailed dog had been tied up but had managed to break free. Some of the chain was still around her neck. The bobtailed cat heard the clinking sound of the chain on the ground which attracted the male cat to the female dog.

They were together when a construction worker saw them. The dog appeared to be protective of her feline friend. She growled when people approached. Rescuers from Best Friends Animal Society rescued them both and put them in a temporary shelter in a New Orleans suburb. They named them Bobbi and Bob Cat. At the time they had separate facilities for dogs and cats but when they separated the pair Bobbi complained vociferously with a loud piercing bark. They cobbled together a cage inside a larger cage to give them access to each other. As long as Bobbi was near her friend, she was calm, said Barbara Williamson who managed the sanctuary’s media relations at that time.

News about them when viral on social media while they were looking to rehome them. Sadly, despite Best Friends finding an excellent adopter, not long after the adoption Bob Cat became ill and died. The adopters brought in another rescue cat who also had a bobbed tail. Bobbi accepted her new friend right away.

Cats and dogs together are great to see
Cats and dogs together. Photo: Pixabay.

Cat and cockatoo

This story starts with a brash and outspoken cockatoo whose name is Coco and who lived with Libby Miller and Gay Fortson at Savannah, Georgia, USA. They rescued a young stray cat and brought Lucky into their home. The cockatoo took to their new feline friend very quickly. Coco was perched at the foot of the bed one morning. Lucky was hiding under the bed. When Libby came into the room “they were there, together on the bed.”

She was concerned that one might hurt the other but “Coco was being so gentle! She rubbed Lucky with one foot, then walked back and forth over her head – which Lucky didn’t seem to mind at all.”

She videoed the event and uploaded it to the Internet where it went viral. As at 2011 they were still best friends, nuzzling up to each other. Coco liked to stick her finger-like tongue into Lucky’s ear.

Kitten and gorilla

The story of the kitten and gorilla reminds us that animals are sentient beings with emotions and primates have emotions which are very close to those of humans. Koko was being taught sign language by the Grella Foundation. Francine Patterson was Koko’s teacher. Koko, in sign language, told Francine that she wanted a cat for her birthday. This did not surprise Francine because Koko had indicated that she liked kittens. She knew this because when she read stories to her about kittens Koko became very interested. Koko did not want a stuffed plush toy but the real thing. So, they gave Koko a tiny kitten who had been abandoned. He was a tailless, grey male cat and they named him All Ball. Koko was smitten. She treated him like a baby. She handled this tiny kitten with great gentleness and tolerated his play bites without any aggression. When she was asked in sign language about her newfound friend she said: “Soft, good cat”.

Sadly, the relationship ended prematurely when Ball escaped Koko’s enclosure and was hit by a car. Koko were tremendously sad and in sign language she indicated her grief. When she was asked in sign language to talk about her loss, Koko signed: “Cry.”

And when she was asked what happened to her kitty, Koko responded, “Sleep cat.”

She got over it in time and bonded with two new kittens named Lipstick and Smoky. Once again, she showed gentle affection towards her new kitten friends. This female Western Lowland Gorilla really loves cats, no question about it. The report once again is dated 2011. I don’t know the current position.

Domestic cat and iguana

Rina Deych, a registered nurse living in an apartment in New York City which had the appearance of being a zoo 😊 took in a foot-long iguana from a man who found it at the junction of 71st Street and 13th Avenue in Brooklyn, New York City. She was unsure what to do but did some research and the iguana thrived under her care. It seems that Rina acquired animals and she took in a kitten that was near death. She felt that she could save him. She put the cat into the iguana’s enclosure. The iguana hissed but the cat didn’t seem to be afraid and just rubbed up against the iguana’s rough skin and purred. The iguana who she had named Sobe must’ve been confused but calmed down. He closed his eyes and let the kitten, who she had named Jo, rub against his face and play with him. They became best friends and Sobe curled up with Jo and the other cats and didn’t mind when they tried to groom him. Perhaps he liked it. Iguanas can be aggressive when they are sexually mature. It seems that the cats learned to read the cues and got out of the way when Sobe became more ‘affectionate’ i.e. aggressive.

Leopard and cow

This is a story from the banks of India’s Dhadhar River at a village called Antoli. A leopard befriended a female cow. Instead of being a predator of the cow, the leopard clearly wanted companionship because every night over a 2-month period she came for company and friendship. She approached the cow cautiously and rubbed her head against the cow’s head and settled down against her body. The cow would lick her. The leopard loved this and wriggled in delight. The cow was normally asleep when the leopard arrived and would be woken up gently with a nuzzle to the leg. The leopard and cow would lie down together. The leopard ignored other cattle in the field and arrived at around 8 PM in the evening and stayed with the cow until the first hint of sunrise.

Their relationship improved crop yields because the leopard was preying on pigs, monkeys and jackals and these animals are the ones that normally devoured as much as one third of the farmers’ harvest.

At one stage the leopard stayed away for several weeks. And then on the last night of their friendship they stay together with the leopard visiting the cow nine times throughout that night before wandering away from his friend forever.

Kitten and macaque monkey

This macaque monkey lived among 300 others in four separate groups in the town of Ubud on the island of Bali, Indonesia, where monkeys roam freely throughout Hindu temples, built centuries ago. A scruffy stray kitten walked into this group of macaque monkeys. It seems that this particular monkey wanted to form a relationship with a kitten which was witnessed by tourists and others. One vacationer said:

“The pair had been together a few days, and whenever the park staff tried to capture the kitten, it would just run back to the monkey.”

The macaque was a young male. He would groom the kitten, hug and nuzzle it. He occasionally laid his head on the kitten’s head as if the kitten were a pillow. He would try to hide the kitten as if he possessed it and was perhaps frightened that he might lose the kitten to other monkeys or humans. He climbed higher and deeper into the forest with his kitten in his arms. The kitten made no attempt to escape. The macaque monkey was not an alpha male leader. It is thought that he was not getting enough affection from other macaques. Humans can be irritated by them as they are a nuisance. The kitten was probably craving a surrogate mother. This is how the friendship formed.

Kitten and orangutan

The story took place at Zoo World in Panama City, Florida, where the orangutan had lived for 11 years as at 2011. She did not have a sweet nature. Her name was Tonda and she had male mate. Her mate died and she lost her appetite and enthusiasm for life. The staff at the zoo enriched her days but there was no change in her attitude. The zookeepers could not find a new mate for her and therefore they looked out for another friend. They appear to have picked a ginger tabby cat who they called Tonda’s Kitty or T.K. for short. They introduced them slowly and the cat was safe. And when the cat was taken away Tonda became annoyed. She demonstrated quite clearly that she loved to have T.K. around.

And eventually T.K. became Tonda’s ‘everything’. They were with each other all the time. T.K. rubbed against his primate best buddy and Tonda scooped him up and carried him off to bed at night. The remarkable thing about this relationship is that Tonda was not a docile orangutan who was easy to handle. And orangutans can be very dangerous. Her rough nature towards people and others was not manifested in her relationship with T.K.. It was a genuine friendship with all the usual emotions as experienced by people.

The cat and the rat

If you put aside the common perception of rats being disease carrying pests and vermin, they are great survivors and intelligent little creatures. Arguably they have an unfair reputation and some people keep them as pets as we know. And one white rat called Peanut was the companion animal of Maggie Szpot living in Ohio, USA. Maggie adopted a stray cat. She had negative expectations of the cat attacking her rat. She named the cat Ranj. Ranj was not your typical cat by the look of it because she only showed curiosity towards the pet white rat and the other rats that Maggie had rescued. Peanut, the rat, was placed in a fenced off area with other rats and Ranj jumped in and started to sniff them. He showed no aggression. Peanut in return developed a special liking for Ranj and began to follow him everywhere. His affection was reciprocated. Peanut loved to snuggle with Ranj. He crawled under Ranj’s haunches when he was seated. They were just good mates and not predator and prey.

The picture below is not of Peanut and Ranj but another cat/rat friendship.

Is it bizarre that a cat makes friends with a rat? No.
Is it bizarre that a cat makes friends with a rat? No. Screenshot.

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