It's a fact of nature that smaller and more vulnerable animals tend to fall prey to their larger and more fierce counterparts. Rarely will an apex predator come across something that could be a meal and turn off its predatory instincts to not harm that animal. However, that's exactly what happened at the Berlin Zoo. It was there that a cat found itself inside an 800-pound bear's enclosure as employees and bystanders watched in amazement at what would happen only seconds later.
In 2000, at the Berlin Zoo, zookeepers and guests were observing the enclosure of an Asiatic bear named Mäuschen when they were completely taken aback by a stray black house cat that managed to wander into the bear's dangerous enclosure at the zoo.
Onlookers rightfully feared that they were about to watch the docile cat, which they would later name Muschi, get killed right in front of their very eyes.
A Zoo Favorite
Although there are countless different species residing within the walls of the Berlin Zoo, Mäuschen the bear was a favorite among both visitors and workers. Not only did everyone think that she was a gorgeous animal, but they also admired both her size and strength.
When they saw Muschi in the same enclosure they knew exactly what Mäuschen was capable of doing to the cat so they watched with wonder at the two animals met...
The First Sighting
Muschi was first spotted by a zoo employee early in the morning while they were in Mäuschen's enclosure, making sure that she had enough food for her breakfast. The cat was seen sitting on a branch up in a tree.
This was out of the ordinary because they definitely didn't have an exhibit for house cats in the zoo, so they weren't entirely sure where Muschi came from. Despite the odd sighting, zookeepers didn't think the cat would enter the enclosure.
The Situation Changed Drastically
It wasn't long until Mäuschen eventually noticed the cat in the tree and immediately became interested. People weren't sure if Mäuschen was just curious or if they saw the cat as a quick snack.
Mäuschen then began to slowly make their way to where the cat was perched in the tree. To the bystander's amazement, the cat then jumped from the branch and onto the ground inside of the enclosure.
Everyone Was Amazed
Everyone watching soon became astonished, when in fact, the opposite of what they had feared happened. Mäuschen wasn't aggressive towards the cat whatsoever but was in fact enamored by it.
The two became friends almost instantly, something that went against what some people might call the laws of nature. Not only were the two friendly towards each other, but the pair soon became inseparable within the bears enclosure at the zoo.
They Had To Be Separated
In 2007, the Berlin Zoo decided that it was necessary to expand Mäuschen's enclosure to improve her quality of life. While this was a great decision and benefited Mäuschen, it also posed a problem.
While her enclosure was under construction, it meant that Mäuschen and Muschi had to be separated for some time. Considering that the two were best friends by this point, neither was happy from being away from each other.
They Missed Each Other Dearly and Zookeepers Felt Awful
Even though the two would have an even better life as soon as Mäuschen's enclosure was finished, neither understood what was happening. They both most likely thought they had been separated for good.Muschi would sit outside of Mäuschen's cage all night and refuse to leave. This circumstance made all of the zookeepers feel terrible for separating an already particularly unique and beautiful relationship. The zoo staff knew they had to make it right.
They Were Finally Reunited
Although the two had a hard time being separated from one another, their suffering came to an end as soon as Mäuschen's enclosure was no longer under construction. After getting used to her new and improved home, the two were overjoyed to finally be back together.
Unsurprisingly, the couple's rekindled relationship began to attract a lot of attention not just from the zoo's employees but from visitors who flocked to the zoo to see the unique pair.
The Real Question
Soon after the two were back together again, people started coming around from all over to see for themselves the cat and the bear who were best buds. It is truly shocking to see two animals that you would never normally be seen together living as an inseparable pairing.
While everyone was fascinated by their relationship, people soon began asking questions. One of the most popular questions was where did Muschi come from in the first place?
Studying Their Relationship
While everyone was curious how Muschi made its way into the zoo and later into Mäuschen's enclosure, they never did get a solid answer. However, what was more fascinating than Muschi's rather random appearance was the couple's extremely unlikely friendship.
Why was Muschi so inclined to climb into the enclosure and get close to a predator that her instincts should have told her to stay away from? The zookeepers began to think that the two had been destined to meet.
A Lesson To Be Learned
Yes, Muschi and Mäuschen's friendship is incredibly unique and very adorable, but it also has a deeper meaning. Nobody ever thought that a random cat and bear that didn't grow up together would become the best of friends.
They are living proof that even though people are different whether it's their race, culture, or personality, friendships can blossom out of anywhere! People don't have to hang around with the same people because friendship can be found in the most unexpected places.
More Bear And Cat Friendships
Amazingly enough, Muschi and Mäuschen weren't the only bear and cat couple that has a special bond between them.
While many people thought that Muschi and Mäuschen's relationship was unique to the Berlin Zoo, another one was discovered all the way in California! They were found at the Folsom City Zoo Sanctuary. Perhaps our next bear and cat relationship would help researchers better understand why this type of pairing was happening multiple times.
Another Black Cat
Much like Muschi, a black cat, whom the workers named Little Bear wandered into the Folsom City Zoo Sanctuary and eventually found itself inside the zoo's bear enclosure. Much like in Berlin, people were scared that something horrible was going to happen to the cat being all alone in a cage with a bear.
However, to everyone's relief, the two got along swimmingly and it actually appeared that the two sincerely enjoyed being around each other.
Little Bear was initially quite the sneaky cat. Zookeepers discovered the cat sneaking into the bear's enclosure every morning to steal some of the food that they would leave out for the animal.
Instead of acting like the dangerous predator it could have become, the bear allowed the cat to eat some of its food every day. Eventually, zookeepers began putting out a bowl of cat food for the cat and their bear friend left the food for their new feline friend to eat.
The Zookeepers Were Shocked
Many of the Zoo's employees and zookeepers were shocked by the unusual relationship between the two animals. For the most part, it just didn't make sense for the two of them to have such a mutual relationship.
Jill Faust, a senior lead zookeeper in Folsom City, claimed that it was unlike anything that she had seen in her whole career. While the two animals were an odd pair, the zoo wanted to do its best to foster the relationship the best they could.
Choosing The Biggest Friend
While Little Bear wandered around the zoo as they pleased, the cat made an interesting choice for a best friend. Little Bear took interest in one of the zoo's largest animals. Choosing to befriend a 500-pound black bear named Sequoia.
While Sequoia had never really been aggressive in nature, the zookeepers still wanted to keep an eye on the unusual pair in order to make sure that Little Bear wasn't in any serious danger.
It Was Beneficial For The Zoo
Most zoos and other wildlife sanctuaries, unfortunately, suffer financially and need all the help they can get to maintain the grounds and provide for the animals. Luckily for the Folsom City Zoo Sanctuary, Sequoia and Little Bear's relationship helped to greatly increase foot traffic at the zoo.
People were coming from all over to witness for themselves a small house cat and a 550-pound bear hanging out with each other. For many, the sight was unbelievable.
Little Bear Acted Like A Big Bear
Even though Little Bear was a fraction of the size and weight of Sequoia and the other bears in the enclosure, she never seemed intimidated by any of them. If anything, the cat appeared to be very comfortable around their newly adopted bear family.
For most of the day, Little Bear could be seen relaxing in the shade provided by the trees in the enclosure as Sequoia and the other bears went about their business. Some people even believe that Little Bear might have thought they were a bear too!
Loving The Attention
During her time relaxing at the zoo, and especially the bear enclosure, Little Bear was loving all of the attention they were getting from the visitors. Despite hanging around other animals that could kill her at any second she appeared completely relaxed.
Much like Muschi and Mäuschen, Little Bear and Sequoia had become inseparable and left visitors scratching their heads. And much like our first bear and cat pairing, the connection between the two appeared to be immediate.
Friends Until The End
Both Muschi and Mäuschen and Little Bear and Sequoia are both undoubtedly strange relationships between two cats and two bears. Although each relationship is unique in their own ways, both friendships have proven that we may not know as much about animal behavior as we think.
Both sets of friends have now come so far that there's little doubt that their relationships will only grow stronger in time. We thought friendships like this only existed in Disney movies!
This Monkey Was Found Orphaned And Scared For His Life
Life was looking grim for an infant vervet monkey who was found on the side of the road in Zimbabwe. He was clinging to his dead mother when he was found by some good samaritans who took him to an animal sanctuary. This sanctuary didn’t have any monkeys of his kind, but it wasn’t the humans who helped this little guy become who he is today!
This monkey's name is Horace. He lives at the Twala Trust Animal Sanctuary in Zimbabwe, Africa. "His mom had been hit by a car on a very busy highway. He was found sitting on her body, on the side of the road. He's lucky that he got picked up by the right person, who then brought him here," Twala founder Sarah Carter told The Dodo in 2016.
The Baby Monkey Was Timid In The Caring Hands Of Humans
Horace was just a helpless infant when he was first taken to the Twala Trust Animal Sanctuary. The tiny primate might have been frightened at first in his new environment, but luckily he was in good hands.
Twala provides a safe haven for wildlife creatures in need. As a result, the rescue is home to a variety of different species including cats, dogs, lions, and antelope. You would think that the situation wouldn’t fare well, but you’d be surprised…
Some Unlikely Creatures Were There To Help Horace Fit In
For a young vervet like Horace, it might have been intimidating to see all these different animals in the same space. Thankfully, all the animals at the rescue were very welcoming to the newbie.
“Since we had so many orphans at the time, and not enough hands, we had to raise everyone together… They just formed this relationship, which is great,” says Carter. It was just up to Horace to warm up to his new roommates.
It Took Some Time, But Horace Eventually Warmed Up To Them
As Horace grew up at Twala, he began warming up to his new friends. The rescue has a variety of wild and domestic animals, but Horace was first drawn to the equally adorable kittens.
Perhaps they were less intimidating because they were similar in size and, after all, who could be afraid of a kitten?! But soon enough, Horace grew close to the older members of the rescue, who learned to accept the monkey as one of their own as you'll see next.
Horace Developed A Special Connection With The Cats
Soon enough, Horace was comfortable enough to snuggle up to his new feline friends. Being that they were around as he was growing up, Horace most likely felt a special bond towards them.
Aside from his human caretakers, these felines probably felt obligated to care for this orphaned monkey. A lot of people see cats as finicky animals, but here you can clearly see how open and loving they can be – especially towards other animals!
Soon The Other Animals Started Warming Up To Horace Too
Pretty soon, Horace was making friends with more of the animals at Twala. One of his closest pals would be Keiko, one of several rescue dogs who also lived at the sanctuary.
Twala is home to a variety of wild and domestic animals who've been abandoned or abused. Sarah Carter and her team continually work hard to provide a safe and nurturing environment for these animals who otherwise might not have made it on their own in the wild.
Horace Developed A Reputation For Some Particular Things
As he grew up, Horace earned a reputation for napping a lot. Horace has a tendency to fall asleep anywhere, especially when he's cuddling with one of his feline friends. It must be the comfort of having someone around to make you feel protected.
"Horace is a master napper. He fights it though as he is afraid he will miss something… And he loves to nap and sleeps anywhere he pleases," Carter told Daily Mail in 2015.
Horace Is Like A Real-Life Curious George
Horace has even made friends with the resident antelope at Twala. He may seem like a bit of a nuisance, but the animals know that it's just Horace’s playful and curious nature. There is never any true roughhousing between these animals.
"Horace is hugely confident and affectionate having been raised in a very diverse and loving environment at Twala," says Carter. “He has many friends, human and animal, and is seldom alone. He is mischievous, extremely clever and endlessly entertaining.”
Horace Always Wants What He Knows He Can't Have
"His biggest vice is being irresistibly drawn to the forbidden food he is not allowed to eat, places he shouldn't be, objects he is not supposed to touch," Carter told Daily Mail.
Horace may be a bit of a food-stealer, but lucky for him it was actually snack time when this photo was taken. The animals often share meals together and often eat a healthy buffet of natural fruits and veggies.
Horace Is More Mischevious Than Meets The Eye
Here are Horace and resident rescue cat Freddie. Horace appears to be napping on top of Freddie, but Carter warns that just might be a ploy.
She told Daily Mail, "Horace always makes me laugh, he is a consummate thief – he pretends to be otherwise engaged whilst sidling up to you to pinch a pen or a bit of paper or food. He will also come and cuddle someone, person or animal, as a ploy to distract them to steal something."
Horace Finds Fascination In Everything
"He is insatiably curious – into everything, and often comes and watches me writing or typing with absolute fascination, before stealing my pen or jumping on the keyboard," Carter said.
The other animals at the sanctuary don't seem to mind. In fact, they are happy to allow Horace’s curiosity to flourish. At Twala, the animals miraculously coexist without having their animal instincts take a dangerous turn. This is probably thanks to the nurturing environment in which they were brought up.
Horace Likes To Roam With The Cats At Night
Horace has also taken on a lot of his friends' characteristics as well. Though he is a vervet monkey, Horace sometimes likes to act like a cat.
"He runs around in the middle of the night, in the dark, with the cats. All the other monkeys got to sleep when it starts to get dark because that’s their instinct. Meanwhile, Horace is busy running around the garden at 10 o’clock at night. He’s a character," Carter told The Dodo.
Horace Thinks He Is A Little Prince Among His Friends
Being the sleepy monkey that he is, Horace is sometimes too lazy to walk on his own. But no worries! Keiko is happy to give Horace a ride to wherever he needs to go around the sanctuary.
Horace may be growing into his adult years, but he still likes to act like the baby of the bunch. His dog and cat friends, hilariously annoyed as they may seem in the photos, at least treat Horace like their own baby brother.
Horace Likes To Ponder The Complexities Of Life When He's Not Running Around
Horace has certainly developed a personality all his own as well. Growing up in a sanctuary is definitely different from growing up in the wild, but this makes Horace truly unique among his kind.
"He is a thinker – often sits gazing into the middle distance, twirling a leaf or a flower or a twig in his hands, totally lost in thought," Carter told Daily Mail. We can only wonder what Horace might be daydreaming!
Horace's Support System
Horace and the other animals are lucky to have been found and taken to Twala. They'll grow up with a strong support system that might not have been possible if not for the diverse array of inhabitants.
Some might say that goes against Horace’s nature, but Carter would disagree. "Here [he] has friends and he’s safe. He has the backup of everyone here at the sanctuary – people and animals," she told The Dodo.
Pairing Animals With Different Species Is Actually Healing
Freddie is one of Horace's favorite cuddling pals as you can see. Even though the animals are all of a different species, the Sarah Carter’s sanctuary only proves that all creatures might share an empathetic instinct.
"We get lots of orphaned animals coming in, so you can’t always pair them with the same animal. But for them to be able to be with another creature is really healing and comforting for them, no matter if they’re different," said Carter.
When Another Baby Vervet Came, Horace Took Responsibility
Twala Trust Animal Sanctuary tries to pair animals with their same species if they can. So when another vervet orphan came tot he sanctuary, they knew just who to pair him with!
Now that Horace is older, he takes care of newcomers whenever they're introduced into the sanctuary. This little monkey is Hamish, who was an orphan just like Horace. Horace felt a special connection with this little guy since Hamish is reminiscent of himself as a baby.
Horace Showed Hamish The Comforts Of Cuddling
Hamish was attached to Horace for much of his upbringing in the sanctuary. Of course, Horace was happy to oblige to offer comfort. But that didn't mean that Horace still didn’t need comfort on his own!
Carter told The Dodo that Horace has shown them how much comfort animals of different species can find solace within each other. "We learned that from Horace," she said. “They form these amazing bonds. It just brings so much comfort to all of them.”
Horace's Playfulness Ended With Him Losing An Arm
Horace may be an adult now but that doesn't mean he still doesn’t get into some trouble. In 2016, Twala shared the unnerving news that Horace suffered an intense electrical shock from a power line.
"He was found unconscious and severely burnt on both arms. It is an absolute miracle that he survived such a massic shock… Horace has always lived free, as he should do, but… we cannot protect him from the many dangers that animals face in the world," they wrote on Facebook.
Horace Can Go Back To The Wild, But Why Would He?
Though he survived the shock, the vets did have to amputate one of his arms. But that hasn't slowed Horace down. After recovery, it was back to his awesome life at the sanctuary.
"Horace is free to go wherever he wants. There’s nothing stopping him from leaving. He chooses to stay… He really does have the best life," Carter told The Dodo. Horace is perfectly healthy and grown now, but the sanctuary isn’t making him stay. He really has no reason to leave!