Animals are more like us than we like to imagine. They fall for the same tricks, enjoy the same music, and even pull the same pranks as we do. And it turns out, just as humans can form unbreakable bonds with our cats and dogs (and even our black bears pretending to be dogs), the animal kingdom has its fair share of cross-species comrades – and they are some of the most adorable partnerships we’ve ever seen.
Last week musician Karl Kuehn posted a photo of his pets, Hamberton the cat (Ham for short) and Candace Tortie Kuehn (she goes by Tortie) settling down for dinner.
Unsurprisingly, the Internet loved the cute scene, and his images quickly went viral, racking up hundreds of thousands of views, and prompting Kuehn to tweet out an encore.
“Ham is obsessed with Tortie,” Kuehn told Teen Vogue. “Now that Tortie’s inside for the winter, he’s basically always checking in on her.”
Although a feline-testudine connection may seem unlikely, plenty of commenters replied with photos of their own surprising friendships. There were more cats with reptiles:
Dogs with reptiles:
And even one horse-tort pairing:
We were also treated to friendships featuring birbs:
And one pet owner shared a snap of a shared moment between his dog and… opossum?!
This isn’t the first time we’ve seen this kind of excruciatingly adorable interspecies camaraderie. Last year, the Metro Richmond Zoo in Virginia set up the friendship of a lifetime for cheetah cub Kumbali when they introduced him to Kago, a Labrador support puppy who had been rescued from a kill center in Alabama. The pair celebrated their joint third birthday this year, and by all accounts are still as tight as ever.
Meanwhile, in a safari park in the farthest East of Russia, Amur the tiger became friends with Timur the goat – despite Timur originally being put in his enclosure as lunch.
“I would have not believed it if someone told me,” park director Dmitry Mezentsev told the Siberian Times in 2015. “But this is a reality. They are friendly and they are inseparable.”
“Look at these pictures and say who do you see: are they a victim and a predator, or are they the best friends?”
The pair started eating together, strolling together, and Amur would even hiss at humans who got too close to his new pal.
Unfortunately, the star-crossed friendship was not to last, and after a couple of fights with his big cat bodyguard Timur was moved over 9,000 kilometers (more than 5,500 miles) away to Moscow.
And speaking of goats – who can forget the G.O.A.T. mixed-species gang: Shere Kahn the tiger, Leo the lion, and Baloo the bear (oh my!)
Whatever the species, animal friendships will never fail to be utterly adorable – spawning countless internet fan pages dedicated to their wholesome connections. And it seems our fixation on the unlikely pairings may be more to do with human nature than animal.
“It goes back to the idea of why we’re so interested in pets,” psychologist Gordon Burghardt told The Atlantic. “That interest in other species and having relationships with them is meaningful to us, so the idea that other species may also find them meaningful is, I think, pretty interesting.”