A cat showing his gratitude after a woman saved him has melted hearts online.
On Thursday, Irine who lives in Chelyabinsk, Russia shared a video of her and her cat Zephyr on Reddit’s popular forum r/cats where it has since received more than 13,000 upvotes.
The video features Zephyr licking her face with the caption: “Saved a kitten from drowning, since then he licks me non-stop and generally thinks I’m his mom.”
Irine told Newsweek: “I was walking in the local park and saw a drunk man with a little kitten who was shivering and trying to meow. He walked straight into the river and I just saw red.
“I pushed him away, grabbed the kitty and brought him home.”
Irine quickly learned all about kitten care, and says that her new feline friend started licking her and her other cat almost immediately.
“He’s a big licker,” she said.
In the US, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals says that around 3.2 million cats end up in animal shelters each year.
The University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Shelter Medicine program provides a whole host of resources when it comes to kitten care, particularly when looking after very young or abandoned kittens.
They note that: “Since kittens under four weeks of age do not have the ability to thermoregulate, we must help maintain body warmth.” Other important steps include providing kittens with adequate nutrition, keeping them clean, and protecting them from infectious diseases. When it comes to caring for very small kittens, it is always advisable to consult your vet for professional advice.
Delighted by the story, Reddit users headed to the comments to praise the woman’s heroic actions and share their joy at the cat’s reaction.
“Thank you kisses forever,” said one commenter, while another wrote: “He’s bathing you because he loves you.”
One Reddit user wrote, “You ARE his mom,” while another said: “His mom and his hero. I love this. Thank you for saving this grateful ‘lil guy.”
“On the bright side, you have a free facial everyday,” joked another Reddit user.
When it comes to licking behavior in cats, there are a number of different reasons your feline friend might be giving you a wash. One reason may be as a way of creating a social bond. From a young age, a cat’s mother will lick them to groom them but also to show affection. Cats will often replicate this behavior to show their affection as they get older.
Cats are also extremely territorial animals and will sometimes lick to let others know that something belongs to them. Meaning that your kitty could be giving you a good lick just to let everyone know who you belong to.
One commenter wrote: “What a special bond. You two will be friends forever.”
“You weren’t kidding,” wrote another. “He’s practically worshiping you.”
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