Rat and cats aren’t famous for their friendship, but a New York café is challenging that stereotype.
The Brooklyn Cat Café on Atlantic Avenue has recruited two rodents to help care for orphaned kittens.
Rats Emile and Remy now look after the café’s lonely or sick kittens and even help out with the grooming.
Manager Anne Levin said: ‘We started Brooklyn Cat Cafe as a way to have an adoption space, it allows us to have anywhere between 20 to 25 cats fostering in this location, so the cat cafe has been very successful in terms of getting pets adopted.
The Brooklyn Cat Cafe In New York has recruited two rodents to look after orphaned kittens
The interspecies relationship began after introducing an unwell black kitten, Ebony, to a white rat called Ivory
TheBrooklyn Cat Cafe (pictured was started as a way to have an adoption space and allows its owners to have anywhere between 20 to 25 cats fostering at the location
‘When we started in May 2016 we had almost 300 adoptions our first year.
‘It’s a great opportunity for us to speak with individuals about cat issues and things they can do in their local neighbourhood to help cat and dog population.’
The interspecies relationship began after introducing an unwell black kitten, Ebony, to a white rat called Ivory.
Ebony had been diagnosed with feline leukaemia and was unable to be exposed to her kitten peers, becoming desperately lonely.
The staff at the Cat Cafe decided to rescue a rat companion, immune to the disease, and along came Ivory.
After the unusual duo formed a solid friendship, there was no looking back for the cafe.
Ivory died in February and Remy and Emile were brought in to help care for the kittens.
Ebony was diagnosed with feline leukaemia and was unable to be exposed to her kitten peers, becoming desperately lonely
Rats are immune to feline leukaemia and the paternal rats even groom the young kittens
Ms Levin said: ‘We reached out to HALT (Help All Little Things), it’s a New Jersey rescue that does essentially what we do for cats for small mammals.
‘They had two rats that had been raised around cats and weren’t scared of them so we adopted them for our new cafe cats and Remy and Emile have been here ever since.’
Along with the new rodent employees came more surprises, and the rats even have their own unique personalities.
While Emile is very paternal with the kittens, ‘Remy likes to play with them and share their food.
The cafe rescued the rats from HALT (Help All Little Things) in New Jersey and brought them to the cafe
While rat Emile is very paternal with the kittens, ‘Remy (pictured) just likes to play with them and share their food
The Brooklyn Cat Cafe manager said: ‘They have a great time hanging out with the kittens, it turns out that Emile especially has become very paternal and he likes to groom and comfort the kitten.
‘Remy just likes to play with them and share their food.
‘We do hope that Remy and Emile can act as ambassadors to people who don’t have any experience with rats outside of the subway. Turn that bad reputation into something more positive.
‘Most of our customers think its really interesting and great. Everyone likes to see some sort of cross species relationship, I think it gives us hope that we can all get along in peace is a possibility.’