Category Archives: animal friendships

How Close Do Pets Bond With Each Other?

By Linda Cole

I already had a young dog when I bought my home. Jack was a fun loving American Eskimo. Shortly after moving in I adopted Puff, a fuzzy yellow kitten. Jack was just shy of his first birthday so he and Puff grew up together and became inseparable. I didn’t understand how closely they had bonded until 17 years later when I lost Puff to natural causes. I found Jack lying beside him in the morning acting as if he was trying to get him to wake up. Jack and I grieved Puff’s passing and Jack never really got over the loss of his friend.

Yes…pets can develop a close bond with one another.

Some people think humans are the only species with the capacity to love and bond closely with others. They argue that pets have no emotions and are therefore unable to care about each other or even their owner. However, there are plenty of documented stories about pets developing strong friendships and bonding with each other and even with wild animals.

In Japan, a farmer was shocked when his cat came home with a baby mouse in her mouth. Now that in itself isn’t odd, but it’s what the cat did with the mouse that is. Instead of attacking her prey, the cat befriended the mouse. They shared food, they played together, and the cat protected her little friend from dogs.

Two tabby cat siblings, Jesse and Jack, were separated when their family decided to move from their home in the southern part of Australia to a new home in the northern part of the country. Before the family could move, however, Jack disappeared. After several months the family feared the worst, and went ahead with their moving plans, taking Jesse with them. Losing Jack was hard on the entire family, including Jesse, as she and Jack had been inseparable. Shortly after moving, Jesse disappeared from her new home and the family once again grieved the loss of another pet. They were surprised to learn fifteen months later that Jesse had arrived back at her old home in the south. She had traveled 1,900 miles across the Australian Outback. In the meantime, Jack had returned home. When Jesse left her new home and headed south on her long and dangerous journey, it wasn’t her old home she was seeking, it was her brother Jack. Their bond was closer with each other than it was with their human family. Jesse and Jack are now happy as can be living in their original home in the south.

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The True Story of a Wild Crow That Saved a Kitten

By Linda Cole

We don’t usually think of wild animals as having the capacity to know when another species needs help to survive, and then doing what they can to help. But that’s exactly what happened when an abandoned kitten was left to fend for herself. A wild crow swooped down, not to hurt the kitten but to protect her, and he is credited with saving the kitten’s life.

Ann and Wally Collito have always been animal lovers. Living on the outskirts of town in North Attleboro, Massachusetts they would sit on their porch and watch the wildlife. One peaceful day in 1999, they noticed a small kitten about three months old walking around the edge of their yard. A couple of days later, they saw her again and noticed a wild crow hanging around the kitten. At first, they thought the crow was trying to hurt the young cat, but they were walking beside each other down the street.

When they kept seeing the kitten, Ann was afraid she hadn’t eaten in a while, so Ann decided to set out some food for her. However, Ann and Wally quickly discovered the kitten wasn’t as hungry as they had feared. They watched in amazement as the crow walked around their yard and gathered up bugs and worms. He then went over to the kitten and poked his beak into her mouth, feeding her what he had gathered. There was no doubt in their mind, the crow was taking care of the kitten in the only way he knew how. He even showed her where to find water.

Ann named the kitten Cassie, and the wild crow was given the name Moses. No one really knows why or how the two became friends. Crows are intelligent birds, but to see natural enemies acting like friends is definitely not an everyday occurrence. Ann called her vet to see if they could give her any advice on what to do. They were as amazed as Ann and Wally, and suggested they get the kitten and crow on videotape to prove their story, otherwise no one would believe them. So that’s exactly what they did. You can see their video here.

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A Lion, a Tiger and a Bear…Oh My!!

By Julia Williams

Stories surface from time to time about unusual friendships between animals of different species. Last year in “True Stories of Interspecies Animal Friendships” I wrote about several such “animal odd couples” that play together, eat together and show affection for one another, including a dog and deer, giraffe and ostrich, and kitten and crow.

I recently learned of the unlikely yet strong bond between three animals that would be mortal enemies under any other circumstance. Although it might seem more like a Disney movie than real life, the tale of a lion, a tiger and a bear who became best friends is true, and very heartwarming.

Leo the lion, Shere Khan the tiger, and Baloo the bear live together at Noah’s Ark Animal Rehabilitation Center in Locust Grove, Georgia. Eight years ago, three tiny cubs barely two months old were rescued during a police drug raid in Atlanta, Georgia. It was thought that the three exotic animals were being kept as status symbol pets. The cubs were taken to Noah’s Ark, where the decision was made to keep the trio together because they came as a kind of family and seemed to have already formed a bond. Whether it would work long term or not was anybody’s guess, because this unlikely animal friendship was one of a kind. “To our knowledge, this is the only place where you’ll find this combination of animals together,” said Diane Smith, assistant director of Noah’s Ark.

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Tokyo Cat Cafes Offer Feline Friendship for a Fee

By Julia Williams

Many things that originated in Japan have since become commonplace in America and other countries – origami, anime, martial arts, Pokémon, karaoke, teriyaki and sushi, to name just a few. In the animal arena, the Japanese have given us the Maneki Neko (Beckoning Cat), Hello Kitty, the Japanese Macaque (Snow Monkey), the Japanese Bobtail cat breed, and the Shiba Inu and Akita dog breeds. “Cat Cafes” are the latest Japanese craze. Although wildly popular in Tokyo and surrounding areas, it’s too early to tell if cat cafes will ever be found in America. I like the idea of cat cafes myself, but then I do have my reputation as Crazy Cat Lady to uphold.

What’s a cat cafe, you ask? It’s a quiet, cozy place where people can go to sip tea or a latte while enjoying the companionship of a room full of friendly cats. A “cat menu” introduces patrons to each of the different felines in the cafe, with photos and information on their name, breed, gender and age. The fee varies by establishment, but typically costs around $8 to $10 for an hour of feline friendship. The meticulously groomed resident cats are free to lounge wherever they please – on the sofas, chairs and tables, in cat trees and baskets, and even on your lap, if you’re lucky.

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Can Dogs and Cats Live Together in Peace?

By Linda Cole

We’ve all heard the old saying, “Fighting like cats and dogs,” but is it true? In all the years I’ve lived with both, I’ve never had any serious incidents with dogs and cats living under the same roof. Sure, they’ve had their little turf wars when one of the dogs wants a spot on the couch and the cat won’t move. Dogs and cats can live in peace, but you do need to be mindful of certain dog breeds that may not be as accepting of cats, and proper introductions need to take place before they can become house mates who won’t demolish your home while you’re gone.

Dogs and cats are both territorial, and we have to be respectful and understanding of their right to protect what they feel is theirs. In your pet’s mind, a newcomer is trespassing, and even a cat will defend her space, toys, bed and human. A new dog or cat may also be dominant, which is why you need to take charge and defuse any confrontations from the start.

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True Stories of Interspecies Animal Friendships

By Julia Williams

There are so many things about animals I love that it would be hard to pick just one thing I admire most. But when I see examples of unlikely animal friendships, particularly those of two natural born enemies, it really touches my heart. I’m convinced these incredible beings are much more evolved than most people think. Humans could learn a lot from these “animal odd couples” that play together, eat together, show affection for one another, and give and receive motherly attention. If dogs and elephants, ostriches and giraffes, hippos and tortoises, and birds and cats can get along so well, why can’t we?

While humans are busy warring with others we consider “different” than us, these animals are simply enjoying the companionship of another. They don’t consider race, or country, or religion. One could argue that animals don’t have the intellectual capacity to consider such things, and this is why these unlikely friendships can develop. I think this inability to reason might be what makes animals so special in my eyes.

Human beings think too much. If only we’d listen to our hearts instead of our heads, things would often go so much better. This is because the heart is never wrong. It never steers us down the path of war or conflict. It steers us toward love, kindness, affection and trust. I believe this is what interspecies animal friendships are all about. The cat listens to its heart, which tells it that a mouse can be its companion instead of its lunch.

Below are some of my favorite examples of interspecies animal friendships. These true stories of animals that form unlikely bonds are sure to touch your heart and make you go “awwww.”

The Dog and the Deer: this super cute video shows Buddy the black Lab playing in the yard with a white-tail deer who was found alone and malnourished when it was just a baby. Buddy’s owner bottle fed the baby deer and it bonded with the dog as well as their cats. In the video, Buddy and the deer chase each other around the yard and engage in hilarious mock sparring with their front legs. The deer is now free to wander and has been seen hanging out with his own kind, but frequently comes back to their house to play with the dog.

The Cat and the Deer video features an orange kitten licking a deer all over its face, then the two of them curl up together and fall asleep, but not before the deer gives the kitten an endearing lick on its nose. The Louis Armstrong song “What a Wonderful World” makes this footage even more charming.

Bea the Giraffe and Wilma the Ostrich live at Busch Gardens Theme Park in Tampa Bay, Florida. The park’s 65-acre Serengeti Plain is home to herds of giraffe, zebra, rhino, antelope and countless species of birds. Just as they do in the wild, the animals usually hang out with their own species. But zookeepers noticed an unusual friendship between a three-year-old giraffe and an ostrich, who seem to really adore one another. Photo by Matt Marriott / Associated Press

Owen and Mzee is the true story of an unlikely animal duo who found comfort and love in each other’s presence after the 2004 tsunami. Owen, an orphaned baby hippo who got separated from his pod, was rescued and taken to an animal sanctuary in Kenya, where he meets Mzee, a 130-year-old giant tortoise. The book, Owen & Mzee: The True Story of a Remarkable Friendship shows photos of the pair eating, swimming, snuggling, and playing together. You can also see a delightful photo montage of Owen and Mzee here.

The Kitten and the Crow: a young stray kitten about four months old is videotaped for many months with its best friend and protector, a big black crow. The two saunter along side by side, they wrestle together in the grass, the crow feeds the kitten a worm (ewww), and takes care of it to make sure it survives.

Why do these unlikely animal friendships occur? I think this quote from the “kitten and the crow” video sums it up nicely: “If you are able to gain trust in someone or something, or each other, then anything is possible.” For some unknown reason, the crow had a motherly instinct. The young kitten was still a baby, and it trusted the crow, who was the only mother figure in its life. A bond developed between the two, and the rest is history. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if it could be that simple for the rest of us?

Read more articles by Julia Williams

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The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.