The details of the story are fairly straightforward. What is more complicated and what interests me more is what is the mentality of this community cat when she ‘saves’ the baby. The media have used the used the word ‘save’ to describe the cat’s actions.
A Russian woman abandons her baby boy near the entrance to a block of flats in the town of Obninsk, Kaluga region. This is in the Far East near Europe. It is very cold with subzero temperatures. Although the child was dressed and some provisions had been with him, left alone without assistance the child would have struggled to survive.
The block of flats have a community cat – a cat the residents share and feed between themselves. Her name is Masha and she has a cardboard box, outside, to rest in.
Of course, Masha investigated the baby lying on the cold ground and we are told that she lay next to the baby and licked him. She also cried out and the lady on the ground floor near the entrance heard this and come out to see what was going on as Masha’s cries sounded as if she was in distress.
Eventually the baby was taken to hospital for a check up and when this happened we are told that initially Masha chased after the ambulance.
Can we say Masha saved the life of the baby? To be perfectly candid, I don’t think we can but I don’t want to spoil to party.
Perhaps Masha wanted to warm herself up by lying against the baby. That is my initial rather commercial thought. I don’t believe Masha viewed the child as a kitten to care for. The circumstances don’t appear to be correct for that.
I’d have thought too that Masha was happy at the unexpected human companionship that had come her way. Domestic cats do like babies once they get to know them. We often see videos of cats next to babies and young children. The old wives tale of a cat taking a child’s breath indicates that cats like to be next to babies.
My personal conclusion, and I’ll accept being corrected of course, is that Masha liked the presence of the baby as a human companion which provided warmth in very cold conditions and so the relationship was mutually beneficial. Her actions helped the baby to survive by keeping him warmer. I don’t believe this was altruistic behavior ‘I must lie next to this baby to save him’ on behalf of Masha. She’s a great cat though and I’d like to see her brought inside, please.