When the cat finally came back home, she wasn’t alone. She had brought a full litter of kittens back. They were healthy and full of energy. They were adorable! But soon enough, the zoo staff noticed that she had brought something else along with the little kittens.
When the doctor first took a look, she thought it was just a different-colored kitten. But as soon as she realized what it really was, panic set in. Where could she have found this creature?
A Cold Winter Morning
When Zookeeper Alice was venturing to work on a cool winter morning, she noticed a small pile of dirt moving. When she looked closer, she realized that it was something else entirely.
Monika fit in Alice’s hand when she found her. The tiny kitten was freezing and even had icicles stuck to her nose. Alice wasn’t sure if she would make it through the night.
Alice stuffed the hairball inside her jacket and went to work. The vets rallied and did everything they could for the little one, then all they could do was wait. But Monika was about to leave them all stunned.
To everyone’s disbelief, Monika made it through the first night, then the second, and then the third. The keepers would come to the staff room between shifts to shower her in affection. She was still underweight and weak, so no one could ever imagine that she would cause so much trouble when she grew up.
In Russia, the Ussuriysk Zoo was home to many animals: lions, tigers, bears, penguins, and more. It wasn’t really an appropriate home for a cat.
But the zoo staff decided to keep Monika, and the cat grew up there, making the facility her home. Everyone loved her, and she got all the affection in the world. No one anticipated how much this new member would disrupt the life at the zoo.
One-year-old Monika had begun acting strange one day while moving around from place to place with a swollen belly. One day, as Alice opened the door, Monika slipped out. They managed to keep her mostly inside for over a year, only ever leaving for a short walk on a leash.
But sometimes, she would get out and return after a few days. That’s how she got pregnant. But this time, the days passed, and the cat didn’t return. How would she fend for herself out there?
The staff was anxious that if they didn’t find her on time, maybe someone else would, the zoo being full of wild and dangerous animals. Alice had spent two days searching for Monika on the zoo grounds.
Every time she passed the crocodile enclosure, her stomach clenched. What if she made her way into the wrong pen. Alice was warned by her colleagues to expect never to see Monika again. She refused to listen to them and never lost hope.
Monika eventually strolled back to her home in the center of the zoo. It was Alice who saw her pawing at the glass door. She couldn’t help it. She was overwhelmed with happiness. It had been a week since the cat was gone.
The cat was fine, but Alice had noticed that there was something off about her behavior. They never expected the cat to come back like this.
Alice never intended to keep Monika at the zoo. At first, she wanted to find her a home, but she could never bring herself to say goodbye to the kitten.
Monika always had a playful personality, often hiding behind a table cloth and slapping everyone who passed. But lately, things have changed. And when she returned after her long absence, Monika wasn’t the same kitten anymore.
The Vet Steps In
As soon as Monika came back home, Alice wanted to make sure she was safe and sound. So, she called the zoo vet to check on her. The cat was fine, but she had a big surprise for the staff.
She came back with a litter full of kittens. Apparently, she had given birth while away and returned home with her kittens. But one of them was different than the others. At first, they thought it was just a bigger kitten but soon realized how wrong they were.
The vet suddenly realized that the cat had brought into their headquarters something dangerous, something that shouldn’t have been there.
They had to act fast before the disaster could hit. The vet told Alice that they needed to do something about it, and they should do it soon. What Monika dragged in that day was something they had never seen near a house cat before.
After carefully inspecting the animal, they realized that it was a baby lynx. Apparently, after giving birth to her own kittens, Monika found the baby lynx abandoned and took it in. The mother of the baby lynx rejected the baby, so the cat adopted it and nursed it as her own.
When she returned to the zoo headquarters, she brought both her kittens and the lynx kitten. The staff couldn’t believe what they were seeing. Monika’s maternal instincts had saved the baby lynx.
The cat called Monika had nursed the tiny lynx kitten, whose mother could not care for her due to health problems, and rejected the kitten.
The Ussuriysk Zoo staff assessed the state of the lynx and realized that it was healthy and thriving. Monika, who had only given birth herself two days before, welcomed the baby into her family as if she was one of her own.
One Month After
The lynx reached about one month of age under Monika’s care and enjoyed playing with her new brothers, the “normal” kittens.
However, the lynx was a little bigger than the cats, and Monika couldn’t carry her anymore like the other kittens. She used other means and tried to push the lynx baby in the right direction with her paws. It was the cutest thing ever.
The zoo staff said that Monika adopted the lynx cub, and it would stay with her until it grew a little bigger.
Monika nursed the baby and cared for it as if it were her own, and that impressed everyone, even if they could say they’d seen a lot of weird things while working at the zoo. But they never saw anything like that.
The mixed feline family became famous as soon as the zoo posted the photos on their social media accounts. Everyone was happy that the baby lynx was saved.
The people praised Monika for her initiative and ability to ignore the barrier between species when it came to a little creature in need. The cat acted quickly and saved the lynx’s life. Their story was shared thousands of times and reached people all over the world. But this wasn’t the first time a cat’s motherly instincts crossed the species barrier.
There are many felines at the Sadgorod Zoo, you’d expect to see the likes of leopards, tigers, and lions, right? Well, there’s also Muska the cat.
She is admired by everyone at the zoo including the visitors and the zookeepers alike. But when they noticed what she was looking after, they couldn’t believe it.
Muska was discovered as a kitten by a zookeeper named Alice. One morning she heard meowing coming from a nearby bush right outside the zoo.
It was a tiny kitten. Alice was a zookeeper for a reason, she loved animals. She scooped up the little furball and took it to safety inside the zoo.
Muska wasn’t doing too well when she was found. She was scared to death and vulnerable out in the cold. Her mother was also nowhere to be seen.
It doesn’t matter how Muska was left alone in the bush, because in the end she was saved by Alice by complete luck. But luck couldn’t last forever.
Alice couldn’t believe it when she landed her dream job. She loved going to work each and every day and had worked there for 8 years before finding little Muska.
But she had no idea what the animals got up to behind her back when she wasn’t looking. She had never anticipated what would happen when a new arrival came.
When Muska had been carried into the zoo by Alice, she was looked at by the vet who kept a close eye on her for the next few weeks. She surprised everyone when she made a full recovery.
Alice said, “I knew the moment I laid eyes on Muska that there was something special about her.” She didn’t know how true her statement would turn out to be.
Getting Accustomed To Her New Home
Muska got more and more confident as she grew up and decided to explore more and more of the zoo. The staff was a little worried about this as she would soon walk into the wrong enclosure.
They tried their best to keep her away from the other animals, but she was a little escape artist. And she wanted to visit the other enclosures.
The zoo had a lot of variety when it came to animals – this meant that there were so many dangerous animals too. Alice just hoped that Muska was aware enough to not try to mess with any gorillas or tigers.
Muska was the friendliest feline and would approach everyone with a purr. This was why Alice was worried, what if she tried to befriend something that didn’t want to be friends?
“I love that cat with all my heart, when she went missing I felt like a part of me died, we spent two straight days looking everywhere for her and we just couldn’t find her anywhere,” Alice recalls when Muska went missing.
Alice couldn’t believe that she had gone missing. She put up signs and even called her name out every night. But then something happened.
Out Of The Blue
Alice was prepared to do anything to find her Muska. Just as her worry grew to a boiling point, she found her sitting on the stairs, waiting to come in.
Alice’s eyes grew wide as she cried in relief. She picked her up and hugged her tight. She brought her inside and fed her, she seemed famished. But something was different.
As cool as a cucumber, Muska arrived back to the door of the keeper’s office and waited at the door to be let in. To Alice, her baby had come home but soon, she’d realize something changed.
At first, Alice just thought the change of behavior was just from the tiredness of being missing for a few days. But as the days passed, she began to wonder if there was more to it. And there was.
When Muska went missing for a second time, Alice wasn’t worried. She had made her way home before, so she could do it again. She was a smart cat and Alice trusted her to return this time.
However, when a storm began to brew, Alice began to worry about Muska, especially now that she appeared to be slower than usual. She decided to go out and look for her. There was no way she could have prepared for what she found.
Closer And Closer
Alice patrolled the zoo grounds and then she heard it. A faint meowing coming from a bush, just like the first time she found her. Alice walked over to the bush in quiet hopefulness that Muska would be waiting for her.
The meows grew louder and she walked gently over. She peered into the bush, careful not to frighten her and could not believe what she saw right in front of her eyes.
Muska The Mom
Alice marveled at the sight of her dear Muska with not only a litter of kittens but a clutch of baby hedgehogs! All of the youngsters were suckling at Muska, despite their spikes.
It must have been uncomfortable for Muska but her mothering instincts had kicked in. Alice had never seen anything like this in all of her years working with animals. How was this possible?
Animals are long known to form curious bonds with eachother, whether it’s two preditors that would usually battle it out in the wild or a snake and hamster that form a curious friendship at meal time.
Stories of animal’s incredible and unlikely friendships fill the web and almost always capture the imagination of everyone watching! That’s exactly what happened with Muska and her hedgehogs.
Searching For Answers
How was it that Muska came to adopt these random tiny litter of hedgehogs? Where was their mother and how did they end up with Muska at all?
Alice found herself once again looking high and low for another runaway animal mom who had left her babies behind or forgotten about them. But no matter how hard Alice and the zoo staff looked, they couldn’t find the mother hedgehog anywhere.