We can kind of see where the idea comes from, newborn kittens kind of even look like rats, exceptionally cute rats.
If the video isn't precious enough just learning about the history of how a rate named Emile came to be such an important role in the cafe's presence is even more special.
Currently, the Cat Cafe "employs" two rats, one being Emile and the other being Remy and their jobs are to be caretakers for kittens in need! Both as they're presented in comedic animations and how things really exist in the wild, cats and rats are normally natural enemies but none of that matters when the rat's maternal instincts take over for the kittens in need and it's actually completely natural!
We can clearly see in the video how Emile interacts with the vulnerable kittens by offering them genuine companionship along with tongue filled baths and that's the status quo when she's in charge of orphaned kittens 8 weeks and younger. Remy, Emile's rat-pal also acts as a kitten nanny offering the same services.
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The nanny rats are also from a rescue organization. They were raised and trained by HALT, Helping All Little Things. BBAWC Executive, Anne Levin explained in a story featured on Huffington Post that the rats spend time with "bottle babies," kittens that are usually orphaned and with them being too young for vaccinations they need to be separated from the rest of the cat population. Levin told HuffPo:
I know the rats we have often groom themselves and each other and it seems to be both a self-comfort and a friendship connection.
But their website further explains the behavior:
Remy (grey/white) & Emile (brown) are two new, young rats who are joining the kittens in the terrarium. These boys are so active and playful and they love to share snacks with the kittens. They love vegetables and head scratches. Although rats and cats have adversarial relationships outside the terrarium – inside the kittens are the perfect size to have supervised romp and play sessions with the rats. Because the rats are not scared of the kittens, they don’t run away and the cats don’t hunt them. However, the kittens are convinced that the rat tails are there primarily for them to play with. Remy and Emile are ok with that so long as the kittens play gently with their tails.
According to the story as it was reported on The Huffington Post, the concept of having rats foster, nanny, and care for kittens began when one of their rescue kittens, 4 week old Ebony, tested positive for feline leukemia and needed to be separated from the other cats yet clearly still needed companionship. In comes Ivory, a rat who also needed a home and well, the rest became history!
This photo taken of ivory doing her thing was taken by Cory Rice and it sums up everything good in life.
Captioning this precious photo was the legacy Ivory left behind:
We are heartbroken to announce that Ivory was euthanized by our vet this morning. His elderly body had been declining over the last few months, and we had been monitoring him closely. We were first introduced to Ivory 18 months ago when he became Ebony's companion. Since then, he had always shown such kindness to all creatures - kittens (however obnoxious) and humans. He's been a role model for all of us - practicing tolerance and love of all creatures. He will be greatly missed.
In the time between embracing Ebony and Ivory's passing, Ivory touched the lives of many other kittens and has had a lasting effect, as we can see today in Emile and Remy.
Ivory with another kitten, Etta.via:Facebook
In fact, here's a video of Ivory with a ktiten named Mike. Because you need this cuteness in your life.
Despite the mourning of Ivory, what was more important was Ivory's success and that is exactly why the Cat Cafe brought in Emile and Remy. The rats don't fear the kittens because more than anything, their size is not frightening, and even more important is that the kittens don't desire to hunt the rats... though they rather enjoy pouncing on their tails!
Remy (grey/white) & Emile (brown) are two new, young rats who are joining the kittens in the terrarium. These boys are so active and playful and they love to share snacks with the kittens. They love vegetables and head scratches. Although rats and cats have adversarial relationships outside the terrarium – inside the kittens are the perfect size to have supervised romp and play sessions with the kittens. Because the rats are not scared of the kittens, they don’t run away and the cats don’t hunt them. However, the kittens are convinced that the rat tails are there primarily for them to play with. Remy and Emile are ok with that so long as the kittens play gently with their tails. These boys were rescued and lovingly raised by HALT. Helping All Little Things is a small animal rescue serving New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania. It is run by is run by Danielle Challender, Jimmy Clark and Ericka Chadbourne, who have decided to open their homes and hearts to neglected, abused and unwanted small animals. Working in conjunction with foster homes, shelters and other rescues, they find permanent loving homes for animals such as guinea pigs, chinchillas and hamsters. If you are looking to adopt a small animal we recommend you check out the wonderful small mammals that they have who are looking for homes! Watch Remy, Emile, and the kittens on our Kitten Cam! CatCafebk.com/kitten-cam . . #catcafebk #adoptdontshop #HALT #ratrescue #catsandrats #kittencam #BBAWC
Thanks to the efforts of the rats, the kittens are up for adoption! However, the rats are permanent residents.