Sunday snuggles
April 1, 2007 8:38 AM   Subscribe

Snorgling? I had to look it up.
posted by psmealey at 8:48 AM on April 1, 2007

I am always a sucker for interspecies friendship -- particularly if the two happen to be mammals, for some reason. But I think my favorite example has to be Chino and Falstaff - a dog and a fish. AWWWWWWWWWWWW!
posted by davidmsc at 8:48 AM on April 1, 2007

I love the newscaster voiceover in the second link. "Maybe there's a lesson to be learned in this. Maybe it's to be more tolerant of others, or maybe its that love is unconditional..." or maybe its just really annoyingly cute.

also a fish is not a mammal
posted by cubby at 8:57 AM on April 1, 2007

omg. That is so sweet I just slipped into a diabetic coma! And then the dog and the fish?! I can't take it!
posted by dog food sugar at 9:04 AM on April 1, 2007

I'd snorgle it.
posted by Balisong at 9:04 AM on April 1, 2007

There now, you see, Rodney King? We can all just get along!

Though it seems that having fur helps things along a bit.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 9:08 AM on April 1, 2007

So much cuter than what my cat did to the squirrels living in our walls...
posted by jacquilynne at 9:08 AM on April 1, 2007

So sweet it made my teeth hurt.

I had a damn dream about a rabbit that was really friendly with computers. Now that's an odd pairing.
posted by inconsequentialist at 9:11 AM on April 1, 2007

When I was a kid we had a couple of dogs that slept out in the garage. On cold nights they'd huddle up together on a pile of blankets in the corner.

On real cold nights our rooster would join them.
posted by notyou at 9:14 AM on April 1, 2007

Awww, nickyskye, every day should start like this. Love conquers all!

In the realm of unlikely animal friends, chemistry must be a factor - check out Mark Thomas' polar bear and sled dog photos and story
posted by madamjujujive at 9:45 AM on April 1, 2007

It'd be interesting to see if the squirrels acquire cat-like traits or if, once they reach adolescence, will revert to squirrel. I wonder how much being a squirrel is built into the innate neural circuitry and how much is acquired from seeing adult squirrel behave?

I like how the cat's grooming the squirrels; wonder how different they taste compared to her own kittens (and kittens from some other cat)?
posted by porpoise at 9:52 AM on April 1, 2007

So the question is, is their a name for the process, particularly among mammals, where traditional animal "rivalries" and eating patterns are disrupted on account of at least one of the parties involved being an infant/toddler/child of its species?

Is it the human presence that erodes food competition and fosters or perhaps rewards familiarity?

Is there a common pheromone emitted by mammals that signals "befriend" instead of "eat me?"

These are the things I really want to know.
posted by MasonDixon at 9:52 AM on April 1, 2007

I think that domesticated animals are a little screwy due to all that inbreeding, which accounts for the adoption/befriending thing.

Having just given birth to offspring most likely has something to do with adopting exospecies infants. I've personally have never encountered evidence of adult, non-postpartum cats befriending squirrels, but there may be cases out there.

I recall there was a baby tiger (?) and baby chimp in some zoo that got along splendidly but the zookeepers were pretty sure that they'd have to be separated once they get older or the tiger would eat the chimp suggesting that these types of reversions have happened before.

Then again there's the baby hippo and giant tortoise that befriended each other, albeit, they're (mostly) herbivores. One hypothesis that I heard was that hippos don't have the best eyesight so one giant grey blob (hippo) looks pretty much like another giant grey blob (tortoise). There was sudden loss of family and friends on the hippo's part, too so maybe some herding instinct was at play.
posted by porpoise at 10:14 AM on April 1, 2007

Wow! I've never seen a cat farming before!

Of course, momma cats will routinely hunt, wound and capture prey in order to train their kittens, but I've never seen them raise livestock to that end.


(Alternately: oxytocin really does screw up the female brain!)
posted by orthogonality at 10:19 AM on April 1, 2007 [1 favorite]

MetaFilter: Interspecies Snorgling.
posted by ORthey at 10:42 AM on April 1, 2007

It's just like Homer and the lobster, ya'll. One of those kittens is going to wake up one day and think "dinner."
posted by snickerdoodle at 10:51 AM on April 1, 2007

Hah! All of you who're falling for this: look at your wall calendar! It's April 1st. Those are obviously fake photos, and in the real world there's only hate and fear between the species.
posted by Anything at 11:00 AM on April 1, 2007

Sometimes it's impossible not to anthropomorphize animal behavior--muskrat love, for instance. (I know, I know--they're otters, not muskrats. But "otter love" sounds like something on a to-do list instead of the fuzzy-wuzzy love story.)
posted by leftcoastbob at 11:09 AM on April 1, 2007

Dogs and cats, living together... mass hysteria!
posted by Soliloquy at 11:14 AM on April 1, 2007

(Oops, didn't see that they were already there.)
posted by homunculus at 11:28 AM on April 1, 2007

Great link, nickyskye!
posted by homunculus at 11:33 AM on April 1, 2007

Porpoise: I've personally have never encountered evidence of adult, non-postpartum cats befriending squirrels, but there may be cases out there.

This is something we're curious about, as our cat loves to chase the girls, and my partner swears that Cleo (the cat, of course) seems so intent on just befriending the things. There's not a sign of aggression. Just playfulness... "Hey! Whatcha up to!" That kind of thing.

I should note, however, that our cat loves to bat mice around, and once they're done being good little victims (that is, when they're dead) she has no further interest. She doesn't want to eat the mice, they're just fun little automatons to her. However, windup toys kind of bore her.


Am I the only one who is a bit disturbed by all the interspecies nursing going on? It seems a bit... creepy.

I can't seem to find it, but does anyone remember the japanese woman who nursed a cat? It was some video online. I don't recall if it was a hoax or not. Why is that creepy when these other things are "cute"?

Speaking of nursing. Anybody ever wonder what cheese made of human breast milk would be like? Would it be cute if a mouse ate it?

And good one, Anything... good one.
posted by symbioid at 11:41 AM on April 1, 2007 [1 favorite]

Worst April fool's joke ever. Those kittens devoured the squirrels as soon as the cameras were gone.
posted by DragonBoy at 11:56 AM on April 1, 2007 [1 favorite]

My cat loves to chase the girls??? SQUIRRELS damnit... oh, Freud and your damn slips...
posted by symbioid at 12:01 PM on April 1, 2007

A looong time ago I remember my brother-in-law letting his pets interspecies nurse... and I had to leave the room. I couldn't watch it, it was grossing me out. He kept saying "Why? They're both mothers, it's just milk." But it still just didn't seem right.

Anyhow I guess I'm just uptight... damned if can remember the details but I recall there being an article online about a woman who rescued some animal species -- not dogs or cats -- who walked around with the baby animals living under her shirt all the time. Wish I could remember what it was. I just know I read an interview with her and kept thinking, "Yay for rescuing animals but wow, this woman is seriously creeping me out."
posted by miss lynnster at 12:35 PM on April 1, 2007

Aww, wook at da bunny.
posted by frogan at 12:37 PM on April 1, 2007

Good post.
posted by humannaire at 12:57 PM on April 1, 2007

Needs more lolcats tags...
posted by anthill at 1:08 PM on April 1, 2007

Stray Cat Comforts Depressed Orangutan.

Wild orangutans also have good reason to be depressed.
posted by homunculus at 1:29 PM on April 1, 2007

cute overload always makes me cry *sniff*.

That kid licking the pigs' snout made me laugh. Wonderful shots though. The newsreporter talking about tolerance, I thought it really odd she was wearing gloves./ Yet the squirrel was walking over her bare arm. It's not like she's a germophobe like Howie Mandel is it¿ After all, they are being raised indoors and washed by the cat. Do baby squirrels nip¿

My guess regarding the cat and squirrels' behaviour as they get older is that they will be considered family and not to be eaten. Chased in fun maybe, but that's all. They will be tearing up the house as kids are wont to do. Call it learned behaviour. Would they treat a wild squirrel differently¿ An interesting thought.

Great stuff nickyskye. Thanks *honk*.
posted by alicesshoe at 1:33 PM on April 1, 2007

Ironically, right after I read this, I walked into my living room to find that somehow a teeny tiny wittle bird had gotten into the house and was perched on a venetian blind, singing. My dog just stood there smiling at it, wagging her tail. She had this "hello little friend!" look on her face. It was so cute. And then she ate it.


Anyhow, I opened the window & watched the little thing fly away, but not before snapping a few pictures on my Metafilter camera.
posted by miss lynnster at 2:04 PM on April 1, 2007

Post it!
posted by Dizzy at 2:24 PM on April 1, 2007

Diz, I have to mail in the film & then ztdavis is going to post all of the photos from everyone's cameras... I think there are ten or 15 cameras floating around the world right now. Deadline for mailing the film is 4/7 so it should be posted within a few weeks. I got lotsa good stuff, tho! Pictures of teeny birds, bulldog puppies (as well as my little red dog), my feet during a pedicure, japanese tourists looking lost, an ugly mermaid statue, my Arabic homework, and best of all concert photos of Leslie Hall and her gem sweatered fans. There were a few freaky audience members at her show that I got photos of too... curious how those turned out. One in particular was a blonde guy with a horrible moustache who was wearing a pink tube dress and had obviously stuffed his crotch. Some straaange people in this town, man...
posted by miss lynnster at 3:25 PM on April 1, 2007

homunculus, the orang utans read the Guardian¿ I'll be danged, they are intelligent./ Don't give them an email connection or they'll be writing letters to the editor next.
Yes, there are many species on the endangered list.

Sharks are also much endangered, but because of the perception and shark fin soup 'delicacy'.

As for palm oil biofuel and Malaysia^, "The executive branch has tended to dominate political activity, with the Prime Minister's office being in a position to preside "over an extensive and ever growing array of powers to take action against individuals or organizations," and "facilitate business opportunities".^, hmph, authoritarian, rather. If you aren't close to government officials, then what¿ Fear and torture apparently. Surprise.

Save the Orang Utans, but people first as well as the environment, over economic bullydozers.

True that, but, this is a cute overload thread, isn't it...
posted by alicesshoe at 3:25 PM on April 1, 2007

Symbioid: no adult cat/squirrel data for you, but my current cat was essentially "adopted" by an adult male neutered dog. No nursing attempts, she was just old enough to be on solid food when we found her, but he tongue-bathed her regularly as if she were a small puppy, was incredibly tolerant of juvenile antics, allowed her to eat/drink from his bowls, steal his toys and sleeping spots...and then when she got older, he even discouraged her from one egregious form of canine bad manners (stealing food from the human alphas...when we were looking. If our backs were turned and he was in on the action, now, that was another story!) They remained playmates to the end of his life, which was always a pretty bizarre sight given the size difference (100 pound malamute, 6-pound cat).

The cat now bosses around the current two dogs, both introduced to the household as neutered adults -- the male elkhound, still gives her a wide berth thanks to a single introductory paw-swat to his nose, while the female pit bull, will now play with her and snorgle, albeit still a bit nervously...the cat is totally in charge. But outside the house, both dogs are enthusiastic hunters who have caught and even occasionally killed possums and raccoons that are larger than she is. Like your cats, they seem to act like the critters they hunt are just exceptionally wonderful self-propelled squeaky toys -- once the sound and movement are gone their interest quickly vanishes, and even when I skinned one of their kills they still didn't seem to catch on that those particular toys were actually made of meat.

As for the interspecies idea about the cat video you're looking for, but I've seen a few reports of women nursing puppies. Or in reverse, an early Malamute breeder was quoted as noting: "Don't forget that the Alaskan Malamute for untold generations was raised with the Eskimos, pups and kids on the floor together. I've seen little babies crawling in among the pups to nurse off the old mother dog."

(Hey, it seemed to work out OK for Romulus and Remus...*shrug*)
posted by Smilla's Sense of Snark at 3:59 PM on April 1, 2007

Leslie Hall vid made my head explode miss lynnster. Lesbian Jack Black?
posted by vronsky at 4:07 PM on April 1, 2007

*Madeline Kahn voice*

Oh, all right, you may approach ... Don't ever touch the hair!"
posted by rob511 at 4:53 PM on April 1, 2007

Yep vronsky, Leslie is a trip. (On the first link, avert your eyes when the guy in the orange sweater starts dancing... you'll thank me.)
posted by miss lynnster at 5:22 PM on April 1, 2007

Am I the only one that is "meh" about the squirrel video? I mean, haven't there been a plethora of examples of this kind of behavior with dogs and cats?

There was a lioness not long ago that adopted a baby gazelle. No one knew why, but it was thought that she was separated from her pride and cubs, and went into hormonal overdrive. Unfortunately, the gazelle died as there was no way for it to nurse.

But I guess it does happen in the wild. Its just how often would a wild mother one species encounter wild babies of another species while NOT involved in some kind of hunt or territorial dispute? I suspect if they did have the chance to run into babies when they're in mothering mode, they'd be just as likely to pick up the baby as there own.

And it may even be adaptive. I mean, if you live in a colony of animals where all the mothers feel maternal, regardless of who's offspring they actually are, then there is a greater chance for survival if the mom is offed.

What impresses me more are the monkeys and apes that have formed bonds with animals (cats, it seems, are pretty popular). Is that what early pet ownership was like for humans? What drives a monkey to "own" a cat?
posted by [insert clever name here] at 5:40 PM on April 1, 2007

miss l--
That Leslie Hall site.
posted by Dizzy at 5:54 PM on April 1, 2007

Our male miniature Schnauzer "mothered" the tabby kitten we got for the missus -- carried her around in his mouth, washed her, kept an eye on her, they slept and played together, etc. By the time she was full-grown, she was big and strong enough that when they'd roughhouse, she could easily rock him back onto his hind legs -- he was the runt of the litter and she was a hella sturdy gal, that cat.
posted by pax digita at 6:57 PM on April 1, 2007

davidmsc, that friendship between the Golden Retriever, Chino, and the fish, Falstaff, was mind blowing. Never thought there could be a camaraderie between a non-human mammal and a fish. Like, on what terms could they possibly relate? No familiar sounds, visuals, tastes, touch or smells. Totally different worlds, one breathing water, the other air. But there seems to have been a genuine mutual interest, mutual trust, well the fish trusting the dog anyway, and some kind of communication on one level or another between both critters that lasted years. Awesome and charming.

Your link inspired me to Google mammal-non-mammal unlikely friendships and there was another less charming but no less remarkable camaraderie between a rat snake and the fluffy hamster that was offered to the snake as a meal. They became friends of sorts and snorglers.

mjj, touching to see the polar bear and the sled dog. wow.

Say hey missl. Weird those gem sweaters. Dying to know what interests you in that art form. That is such a nice story about the bird that came to visit you and your dog's waggy response. :) Tickled to hear about your pics. Can't wait to see them and the others' too.

Years ago I visited a small zoo in Guatemala where a scrawny, small dog had adopted a hefty sized lion cub and nursed it. That deeply impressed me.

[insert clever name here], your monkey-kitten link reminded me a famous primate-feline friendship between Koko the sign-language speaking gorilla, who named the kitten she liked, All Ball. Tender pictures of her comforting, protecting and playing with the tiny fuzziness of the kitten. When All Ball died Koko befriended Lipstick and Smoky.
posted by nickyskye at 7:46 PM on April 1, 2007

Anybody ever wonder what cheese made of human breast milk would be like?

All the freakin' time! When I have kids I'm so going to find out.
posted by Jilder at 8:53 PM on April 1, 2007

FWIW, apparently human breast milk doesn't turn into cheese.
posted by nickyskye at 9:11 PM on April 1, 2007

God I love chinese food.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:23 PM on April 1, 2007

Embrace the snorg.
posted by Dizzy at 9:33 PM on April 1, 2007

Am I the only one who watched the video and wanted to reach through the screen and strangle the owner for letting her cat have three litters? Or am I just having a cranky day?
posted by ereshkigal45 at 9:38 PM on April 1, 2007

Otters, anyone? Watch at least 80 seconds.
posted by roomwithaview at 12:15 AM on April 2, 2007

Interspecies is tough, homeboy.
posted by moonbird at 12:20 AM on April 2, 2007

Am I the only one who watched the video and wanted to reach through the screen and strangle the owner for letting her cat have three litters?

No. No, you're not.

Also, since I'm curmudgeoning: the baby with the Neapolitan Mastiff pictures are just horrifying. People who think that's cute (especially the dog's owners/kid's parents) shouldn't have kids and dogs at the same time, I've seen that set of pictures all over the place by now, and it never ceases to amaze me just how little dog sense people have, especially people who are responsible for another human life.

But some of these were really cute.
posted by biscotti at 5:11 AM on April 2, 2007

the baby with the Neapolitan Mastiff pictures are just horrifying.

Amen to that. That is just the dumbest fucking thing I have ever seen. That is a 175 lb (at least) dog nuzzling with an infant. Whether the dog is protecting the child or expressing dominance (as some poster pointed out) over it, that child is far too young and small to put in that position with the dog (makes you wonder what happens when no camera is around).

Some breeds are fantastically gentle around small children, no doubt, that but that's not really the point. One minor misstep there, and it wouldn't take much for the child to be seriously injured or worse.
posted by psmealey at 5:31 AM on April 2, 2007

What really gets me is the people who have huge pythons or boa constrictors cohabitating with their babies. Every time I've seen a news story on that combination going bad, there's some couple saying, "Well, we didn't want to give up our snake... he really loved the baby, I don't know what happened." and I want to slap them.
posted by miss lynnster at 5:39 AM on April 2, 2007

FWIW, apparently human breast milk doesn't turn into cheese.

Even Cambodian breast milks?

No doubt a boon for us all.
posted by psmealey at 5:47 AM on April 2, 2007

I wish my two cats would get along like that instead of trying to kill each other.
posted by mike3k at 1:59 PM on April 3, 2007

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