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Ratted out: Mortal enemies become 'best friends' at Brooklyn cat cafe

Cats and rats are natural enemies (think "Tom and Jerry" cartoons), but at this cat cafe in Brooklyn, they are the best of buds.
rats and cats
Rats are the cutest companions and unlikely best friends for cats at a cafe in Brooklyn. Photo: Facebook/BBAWC

Rats might steal mail or dance on poles in New York City, but they also babysit orphaned kittens.

Despite being Mayor Bill de Blasio’s sworn enemy, the rats in a Brooklyn cat cafe are sleeping with their enemies —cats —at the Brooklyn Cat Cafe in Brooklyn Heights.

The cafe and feline adoption center, run by the Brooklyn Bridge Animal Welfare Coalition, started pairing rats and cats two years ago.

A four-week-old kitten named Ebony was diagnosed with feline leukemia, a contagious and fatal illness in cats, and had to be quarantined from the rest of the herd, which meant no snuggles or cuddles with other kittens.

To keep Ebony company, the Brooklyn Cat Cafe introduced Ebony to Ivory, a white rat who could not catch feline leukemia, and the two become “best friends.”

“Ivory and Ebony would romp and play together until they passed out cuddled up together,” according to the cafe.

Ebony died in 2015 when she was four-months-old, but “her life was so much richer for having a friend in Ivory,” Brooklyn Bridge Animal Welfare Coalition Executive Director Anne Levin told the Huffington Post, which originally reported the story.

Ivory stayed at the cafe and kept other cats company until his death in February.

Remy and Emile were adopted by the cafe this year and are kitten companions to orphans who are too young to be vaccinated, thus not allowed to join the adoptable cats.

“People don’t realize how smart and sweet [rats] are,” Levin told HuffPo. “Emile rolls on his back and I can tickle his tummy. They make a purring/clicking sound when I rub their face and nose and they love to cuddle and know when it’s evening time and they get their snacks and cuddles.”

“Because the rats are not scared of the kittens, they don’t run away and the cats don’t hunt them,” the cafe’s website explains, but “[t]he kittens are convinced that the rat tails are there primarily for them to play with.”

 
 
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