RUSSIA – As the old saying goes, a dog is a man’s best friend.
And perhaps the cats of the world have also found their soulmates, if these endearing moments between a kitten and a chimpanzee is anything to go by.
Captured on camera at the Irkutsk city zoo, which is located in south-eastern Russia, Lea the young chimp plays with Bobby, an unwanted kitten she took in after it was found in the zoo.
The one-and-a-half-month-old kitten was discovered one day in one of the zoo’s enclosures.
It has trouble finding a home, according to zoo staff, because it’s got a very short tail that gives it a strange look. For that one silly reason, no one wanted to take the cat home!
They have since discovered that Bobby is more than likely a purebred American bobtail, which is an uncommon breed which has a tail about one-third the length of a usual domestic cat.
Employees at the zoo kept the kitten but decided to put it in quarantine so it wouldn’t endanger any of the other animals.
Lea the chimpanzee, who is five years old, spotted the tiny kitten while she was just taking one of her daily walks around the zoo with one of her keepers.
Lydmila Ivushkina, the head of the zoo, stated: ‘She saw it through the glass window and could not keep her eyes away.
‘She kept on returning to the glass window as if she was begging to see the kitten.’
The chimpanzee and the kitten finally did get the chance to meet three days ago when Bobby’s quarantine period ended.
Lydmila went on to add: ‘She was so happy to see it. The kitten was even happier because it had been very lonely.’
They captured the very sweet and tender embrace on video, with Lea holding the tiny kitten in her arms, remaining calm while Bobby playfully nips at her.
When they realized the pair had taken such a liking to each other, the zoo staff then decided to let the kitten stay in the cage with Lea.
However, they are taking precautions to make sure the cat can find refuge if the two don’t always see eye to eye.
Lydmila stated: ‘In the future, we plan on making a small hole between the cages so Bobby could have some personal space in case Lea gets too excited.’