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Cat forms unlikely close bond with owner's pet rat

By Ben Hooper Contact the Author   |   Feb. 11, 2016 at 2:29 PM

CEDARBURG, Wis., Feb. 11 (UPI) -- A Wisconsin pet owner shared a video chronicling the unlikely friendship that developed between two stereotypically adversarial animals: a cat and a rat.

Maggie Szpot said Ranj, the orange tabby cat she found as a stray in Cedarburg, Wis., became used to having pet rats around the home, but he never showed particular interest in the animals until she brought home baby rats Peanut and Mocha.

"Peanut first met Ranj when [Peanut] was still a baby," Szpot told The Dodo. "I had brought Peanut and her sister out of their cage to play, and I put them in a fenced area for them to run around in, and Ranj actually jumped inside to get a closer look. He is always curious of new things ... they quickly became good friends and Peanut followed Ranj around everywhere."

Szpot told ABC News she had feared Ranj could display "a strong hunting instinct since he was a stray," but she soon discovered she was "completely wrong."

"Peanut always wanted to be around Ranj, and she took a real liking to him," she said. "She would always want to play with him, snuggle up under his fur and she even ate cat kibble from his bowl along with him."

"The two were like close siblings," Szpot said.

"If Ranj went to eat out of his food bowl, Peanut would come and eat with him," Szpot said. "I think those were the cutest moments, when Peanut was so determined to be with Ranj that she would overcome all kinds of obstacles to be with him."

Szpot said Ranj was always patient and gentle with Peanut.

"There were times when Peanut invaded Ranj's personal space too much and he'd leave or hop onto anything off the ground to get away from her," Szpot said. "Sometimes Peanut would literally crawl all over Ranj, and he didn't enjoy that too much. She never quite understood the concept of personal space, but Ranj was good at tolerating her antics!"

The pet owner said domesticated rats have short lifespans and Peanut died at the age of 2, but her legacy lives on.

"I definitely really missed her," Szpot said. "I'm sure Ranj did too. He seemed kind of lonely. He would look at me like, 'What are we doing today Maggie?' The fun daily adventures with Peanut were lost after she passed away."

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