Eight orphaned hedgehogs at the Sadgorod Zoo in Vladivostok, Russia, found a new mother in the most unexpected creature: a black cat named Musya.
The hoglets—yes, newborn hedgehogs are called hoglets—were discovered after their mother was killed in an accident. They were little, blind, and fighting for survival without their mother to provide for them.
The hoglets were gathered up and taken into care by zoo employees. The eight hoglets resisted milk from a bottle, syringe, and saucer for two days despite being placed on a heating pad to aid their digestion. The zoo’s staff attempted everything to encourage them to feed.
It was obvious that the feisty young children would not survive if they did not eat soon.
The fluffy black cat had lately given birth to and was currently nursing a litter of foster kittens.
The zoo officials had no choice but to pair Musya and the hoglets together in the hopes that Musya’s presence and milk would entice the hedgehogs to eat. The hoglets immediately responded when they felt Musya’s inherent warmth and smelled her milk. They immediately dove into her soft, fluffy belly and started nursing.
Musya didn’t appear to mind the odd-looking “kittens,” but she wasn’t hesitant to reprimand them if they became unruly. Musya cared for the hoglets for more than a week and kept them warm at night.
The hedgehogs survived because of their adopted cat mother and are now contentedly chewing on solid food. They likely picked up their pastimes from Musya, which included eating and sleeping.