By Adam Gray @agrayphoto
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Videographer / director: Adam Gray
Producer: Shannon Lane, Ed Baranski
Editor: Sonia Estal
The Brooklyn Cat Cafe located on Atlantic Avenue has recruited two rodents, Emile and Remy, to help care for young orphaned kittens.
Manager Anne Levin said: “We started Brooklyn Cat Cafe as a way to have an adoption space, it allows us to have anywhere between 20 to 25 cats fostering in this location, so the cat cafe has been very successful in terms of getting pets adopted.
"When we started in May 2016 we had almost 300 adoptions our first year.
"It’s a great opportunity for us to speak with individuals about cat issues and things they can do in their local neighbourhood to help cat and dog population."
The interspecies relationship began after introducing an unwell black kitten, Ebony, to a white rat called Ivory.
Unfortunately Ebony was diagnosed with feline leukaemia and was unable to be exposed to her kitten peers, becoming desperately lonely.
The staff at the Cat Cafe decided to rescue a rat companion, immune to the disease, and along came Ivory.
After the unusual duo formed a solid friendship, there was no looking back for the cafe once they realised that rats take a lot of pressure caring for the kittens.
Anne said: “We reached out to HALT (Help All Little Things), it’s a New Jersey rescue that does essentially what we do for cats for small mammals.
"They had two rats that had been raised around cats and weren’t scared of them so we adopted them for our new cafe cats and Remy and Emile have been here ever since."
Along with the new rodent employees came more surprises, and the paternal rats even groom the young kittens.
The Brooklyn Cat Cafe manager said: "They have a great time hanging out with the kittens, it turns out that Emile especially has become very paternal and he likes to groom and comfort the kitten. Remy just likes to play with them and share their food.
"We do hope that Remy and Emile can act as ambassadors to people who don’t have any experience with rats outside of the subway. Turn that bad reputation into something more positive.
"Most of our customers think its really interesting and great. Everyone likes to see some sort of cross species relationship, I think it gives us hope that we can all get along in peace is a possibility."