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.
Muska was always an energetic, fun, and playful cat but something about her had changed since she went missing. She was lethargic and slow, choosing to lie around napping rather than play with the keepers.
Alice was suspicious. What exactly had Muska been up to when she went missing? Did one of the bigger animals out there give her a fright? Did something happen? Alice was about to find out.
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.
Alice was so touched by the incredible sight of Muska adopting these hedgehogs that she took a video and posted the motherly scene on social media.
The video became an online sensation and shot Muska into the meida spotlight with her unusually kind, tolerant and loving behavior. But one question kept appearing on everyone’s mind.
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.
Muska’s new babies had lost their mother and, while giving birth to her kittens, had come across Muska. Amazingly, she chose to adopt them and raise them as her own, despite their obvious difference to her kittens.
“I knew when I found her in that bush as a kitten, she was special” smiled Alice. “I had no idea just how special she would turn out to be!”. So what became of Muska and all her babies?
Like another story that surfaced online about another cat who mysteriously adopted baby hedgehogs, Muska fed the baby hedgehogs along with her kittens until they were old enough that she began to wean them off herself.
Alice found the kittens loving homes – two of them were adopted by the zoo keepers and others were given to other homes around the area. And the hedgehogs?
Lesson In Nature
The hedgehogs were able to be released back into the wild in a forest area near the zoo where Muska continued to live.
Alice will often see one of Muska’s hedgehogs strolling across the grasslands of the zoo, only to be greeted by Muska. We could definitely learn a thing or two by the behaviors of animals!