When Monika finally returned, the staff at Ussuriysk were overjoyed. Alice let out a sigh of relief, a massive weight had been lifted from her shoulder. Everyone was ecstatic to welcome her back, especially when they noticed that she had brought back healthy kittens.
But one of them looked a little strange. Panic set in when the staff finally realized the truth. But where could Monika have found this creature?
Alice, a zookeeper at the Ussuriysk zoo in the Russian city of Primorsky Krai, got a surprise one freezing winter morning as he arrived for work. She first thought she was seeing a small clump of leaves in the snow.
She was shocked to discover that it was a tiny kitten and was freezing. She immediately wrapped her up and took her in for treatment. Judging from her frigid body and shallow breaths, Alice worried that she wouldn't make it.
She Had Spirit
Alice found the zookeepers and vet and they immediately began treating Alice. When Alice left that day, she was told not to grow too attached as the outlook was bleak.
Against all odds, the little kitten survived the night. After the next two days, she was underweight but clearly a fighter. They affectionately named her Monika and took turns caring for her. Monika survived but none of them knew how much more trouble lay ahead in her future.
The Ussuriysk Zoo was home to a vast array of exotic wildlife. Some were large and ferocious like bears, a famous Siberian tiger, and even lions. The staff knew that it wasn't really a place for a domestic cat.
Regardless, they had all grown fond of Monika and decided to keep her. She was well-loved and taken care of and settled in nicely. No one really anticipated any problems from her but she soon proved them wrong.
Monika usually spent all her time inside the facility but every now and then she would slip out and disappear for a while. At first, the staff would get anxious for her safety.
She would always return in the end and after a while, it became normal for Monika to go on little adventures. After a while, the staff realized she had gotten pregnant on one of these adventures. While highly pregnant, Monika disappeared again. Only this time, she wasn't returning.
When Monika hadn't returned for a long time, the staff grew anxious. They searched all over the zoo grounds and feared that she may have wandered into one of the other animal's enclosures.
More time passed and Alice began to worry about all manner of things that might have happened to Monika. Her colleagues began to lose hope but Alice felt responsible for Monika and refused to give up.
One day, out of the blue, Monika returned. Alice found her outside the entrance doors, scratching on the glass. She was relieved but immediately noticed something was different.
Monika seemed physically unharmed but her behavior was skittish. She kept trying to get back out until Alice followed her and saw what.
The Big News
In the days prior, Alice had begun wondering if Monika had simply gone back to the home she had before she found the zoo. It was clear now that had left for a reason.
Monika was changed now. Alice could sense it in her behavior as she guided her outside. It was there that Alice realized she wasn't alone.
The New Guy
To everyone's surprise, Monika had returned with a full litter of kittens. Alice rushed her and the kittens to the vet for examination.
At the Vet's office, they noticed that one kitten seemed different from the others. At first, they thought it was just a little larger. Suddenly the vet let out a gasp when he realized what it actually was.
A New Worry
The vet's entire demeanor had changed. The rest of the litter were still all tiny and helpless but as he examined the odd one out, deep worry lines appeared on his forehead.
He explained to the staff that they had to act fast. The kitten that didn't belong was actually a dangerous animal to have around ordinary domesticated kittens and it needed to be raised separately before it grew any bigger and became a threat to them.
After carefully inspecting the animal, they realized that it was a baby lynx. Apparently, after giving birth to her own kittens, Monika found the baby lynx abandoned and took it in. The mother of the baby lynx rejected the baby, so the cat adopted it and nursed it as her own.
When she returned to the zoo headquarters, she brought both her kittens and the lynx kitten. The staff couldn't believe what they were seeing. Monika's maternal instincts had saved the baby lynx.
The cat called Monika had nursed the tiny lynx kitten, whose mother could not care for her due to health problems, and rejected the kitten.
The Ussuriysk Zoo staff assessed the state of the lynx and realized that it was healthy and thriving. Monika, who had only given birth herself two days before, welcomed the baby into her family as if she was one of her own.
One Month After
The lynx reached about one month of age under Monika's care and enjoyed playing with her new brothers, the "normal" kittens.
However, the lynx was a little bigger than the cats, and Monika couldn't carry her anymore like the other kittens. She used other means and tried to push the lynx baby in the right direction with her paws. It was the cutest thing ever.
The zoo staff said that Monika adopted the lynx cub, and it would stay with her until it grew a little bigger.
Monika nursed the baby and cared for it as if it were her own, and that impressed everyone, even if they could say they'd seen a lot of weird things while working at the zoo. But they never saw anything like that.
The mixed feline family became famous as soon as the zoo posted the photos on their social media accounts. Everyone was happy that the baby lynx was saved.
The people praised Monika for her initiative and ability to ignore the barrier between species when it came to a little creature in need. The cat acted quickly and saved the lynx's life. Their story was shared thousands of times and reached people all over the world. But this wasn’t the first time a cat’s motherly instincts crossed the species barrier.
There are many felines at the Sadgorod Zoo, you’d expect to see the likes of leopards, tigers, and lions, right? Well, there’s also Muska the cat.
She is admired by everyone at the zoo including the visitors and the zookeepers alike. But when they noticed what she was looking after, they couldn’t believe it.
Muska was discovered as a kitten by a zookeeper named Alice. One morning she heard meowing coming from a nearby bush right outside the zoo.
It was a tiny kitten. Alice was a zookeeper for a reason, she loved animals. She scooped up the little furball and took it to safety inside the zoo.
Muska wasn’t doing too well when she was found. She was scared to death and vulnerable out in the cold. Her mother was also nowhere to be seen.
It doesn’t matter how Muska was left alone in the bush, because in the end she was saved by Alice by complete luck. But luck couldn’t last forever.
Alice couldn’t believe it when she landed her dream job. She loved going to work each and every day and had worked there for 8 years before finding little Muska.
But she had no idea what the animals got up to behind her back when she wasn’t looking. She had never anticipated what would happen when a new arrival came.
When Muska had been carried into the zoo by Alice, she was looked at by the vet who kept a close eye on her for the next few weeks. She surprised everyone when she made a full recovery.
Alice said, “I knew the moment I laid eyes on Muska that there was something special about her.” She didn’t know how true her statement would turn out to be.
Getting Accustomed To Her New Home
Muska got more and more confident as she grew up and decided to explore more and more of the zoo. The staff was a little worried about this as she would soon walk into the wrong enclosure.
They tried their best to keep her away from the other animals, but she was a little escape artist. And she wanted to visit the other enclosures.
The zoo had a lot of variety when it came to animals – this meant that there were so many dangerous animals too. Alice just hoped that Muska was aware enough to not try to mess with any gorillas or tigers.
Muska was the friendliest feline and would approach everyone with a purr. This was why Alice was worried, what if she tried to befriend something that didn’t want to be friends?
“I love that cat with all my heart, when she went missing I felt like a part of me died, we spent two straight days looking everywhere for her and we just couldn’t find her anywhere,” Alice recalls when Muska went missing.
Alice couldn’t believe that she had gone missing. She put up signs and even called her name out every night. But then something happened.
Out Of The Blue
Alice was prepared to do anything to find her Muska. Just as her worry grew to a boiling point, she found her sitting on the stairs, waiting to come in.
Alice’s eyes grew wide as she cried in relief. She picked her up and hugged her tight. She brought her inside and fed her, she seemed famished. But something was different.
As cool as a cucumber, Muska arrived back to the door of the keeper’s office and waited at the door to be let in. To Alice, her baby had come home but soon, she’d realize something changed.
At first, Alice just thought the change of behavior was just from the tiredness of being missing for a few days. But as the days passed, she began to wonder if there was more to it. And there was.
When Muska went missing for a second time, Alice wasn’t worried. She had made her way home before, so she could do it again. She was a smart cat and Alice trusted her to return this time.
However, when a storm began to brew, Alice began to worry about Muska, especially now that she appeared to be slower than usual. She decided to go out and look for her. There was no way she could have prepared for what she found.
Closer And Closer
Alice patrolled the zoo grounds and then she heard it. A faint meowing coming from a bush, just like the first time she found her. Alice walked over to the bush in quiet hopefulness that Muska would be waiting for her.
The meows grew louder and she walked gently over. She peered into the bush, careful not to frighten her and could not believe what she saw right in front of her eyes.
Muska The Mom
Alice marveled at the sight of her dear Muska with not only a litter of kittens but a clutch of baby hedgehogs! All of the youngsters were suckling at Muska, despite their spikes.
It must have been uncomfortable for Muska but her mothering instincts had kicked in. Alice had never seen anything like this in all of her years working with animals. How was this possible?
Animals are long known to form curious bonds with eachother, whether it’s two preditors that would usually battle it out in the wild or a snake and hamster that form a curious friendship at meal time.
Stories of animal’s incredible and unlikely friendships fill the web and almost always capture the imagination of everyone watching! That’s exactly what happened with Muska and her hedgehogs.
Searching For Answers
How was it that Muska came to adopt these random tiny litter of hedgehogs? Where was their mother and how did they end up with Muska at all?
Alice found herself once again looking high and low for another runaway animal mom who had left her babies behind or forgotten about them. But no matter how hard Alice and the zoo staff looked, they couldn’t find the mother hedgehog anywhere.