In New York City, we see our fair share of rats. They’re usually scampering down the streets or cruising along the subway rails or hiding in the kitchens of our favorite restaurants and effectively getting them shut down until we don’t know where to get empanadas anymore.
But #NotAllRats are diseased rodents who get our Cuban places condemned. Consider the San Francisco Rat Café where the rats are the guests of honor. They’re not only welcomed among the food and drink, but also subjected to snuggles and cuddles.
Likewise—yet unexpectedly—the Brooklyn Cat Café has opened its doors to rat residents. While many people assume that cats and rats are natural sworn enemies, that really only applies to the wild. When socialized, they can actually enjoy very close companionship.
But it’s not all just for fun and friendship. The rats of the Brooklyn Cat Café actually serve as nannies to orphaned kittens in need. It began with Ebony, a 4-week-old kitten with feline leukemia who had to be sequestered so as not to infect the other kittens. Since she was all alone, the staff introduced her to a white rat (named Ivory, obvs), so she could have a friend with no fear of infection.
Although Ivory has since passed away (see post above), the Brooklyn Cat Café—which is run by the Brooklyn Bridge Animal Welfare Coalition—has continued to keep rat “staffers” on hand to bond with abandoned kittens. This past weekend, they shared an Instagram video of a rat named Emile bathing and grooming his kitten friends, and the internet caved in on itself.
On the cat café’s website, they explain the relationship between the rats and the kittens: “Although rats and cats have adversarial relationships outside the terrarium – inside the kittens are the perfect size to have supervised romp and play sessions with the kittens. Because the rats are not scared of the kittens, they don’t run away and the cats don’t hunt them. However, the kittens are convinced that the rat tails are there primarily for them to play with. Remy and Emile are ok with that so long as the kittens play gently with their tails.”
You can watch the two species at play on The Brooklyn Cat Café Kitten Cam.
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