Historically speaking, cats and dogs are not always quick to associate with one another. In fact, some may say they have one of the most quintessential rivalries in all of the animal kingdom.
That said, what happened recently at the Metro Richmond Zoo in Virginia is especially unusual and heartwarming – a cheetah that was not being looked after by his mother ended up finding some much needed companionship in a Labrador named Kago.
The Whole Story
It all started when vets at the zoo discovered that Kumbali was not gaining weight properly, indicating that his mother was not producing enough milk to care for him. In order to correct for this, Kumbali was taken from her care and “hand raised” from a very young age.
One problem with hand raising is that these animals lack that certain kind of socialization and companionship that only a mother or siblings can provide. That is when Kago entered the picture.
Kago was adopted as a puppy by the zoo specifically to offer Kumbali that kind of brotherly love. After some moments of hesitance…
the two of them became fast friends,
Although cheetahs are the most skittish of all the big cats, in the wild they still socialize amongst themselves. So for Kumbali to be all on his lonesome was not an option. As you can see, having Kago around really helped Kumbali come out of his shell.
Dogs are wonderful companions for cheetahs, as they are more confident in new surroundings and situations, which helps their cheetah friends feel more comfortable and less anxious or flighty. In fact, dogs have been used as companion animals to cheetahs in captivity for over 30 years.
After spending so much time together, Kumbali and Kago have practically become brothers, and are all but inseparable.