Believe it or not, people have a natural parental instinct. It is most evident from the moment we get to hold a baby, whether it be our own child or someone else’s. Whether we genuinely love babies and “know how to behave” around them, we will know exactly what to do.
I assure you, the moment we take a baby in our hands, we all start to gently rock our bodies back and forth and slowly bounce while tightly holding the baby. We try to lull the baby back to sleep if it starts to cry, or act in a silly manner and speak in a high-pitched voice just to make the baby laugh.
We might not even be aware of what we are doing. But if no one ever taught us, how do we know?
Well, these behaviors are actually hard-wired into our brains. It’s hard to understand, but we simply know what to do – it is ingrained in our biology. Even if we don’t want to become parents ourselves, we still know that we need to be gentle with a baby, careful when we are holding the head, and so on.
However, did you know that this parental instinct we are talking about is not reserved only for humans? Nope! Animals have it too! And a beautiful tomcat Rigby – the main protagonist of our today’s story – is excellent proof of that.
Holly and her lovely family adopted Rigby seven years ago from an Oklahoma shelter, with the intention to get a furry company for their family cat Canon. Rigby was already an older cat when they got him, but he fit in just fine.
Canon and Rigby got along great, too. They were all having the time of their lives, but a year later Holly decided that it was time for a new special addition to their feline family.
Holly came to a brilliant idea to foster adorable orphaned kittens. She already had two grown-up felines in her home and thought that it was definitely time to rejuvenate her furry family.
But she couldn’t have imagined what happened next even in her wildest dreams.
When she brought the first group of kittens home, she noticed Rigby was intrigued. He started to show a vast interest in the mysterious new guests and made it his mission to get as close to them as pawssible.
What made Rigby famous all around the world was definitely his first close encounter with them.
He was standing in front of the doors that led to the room where the kittens were hanging out, patiently waiting to be let inside. Once Holly allowed him to go inside, he carefully approached them, sniffed them a couple of times, and laid still right beside them.
Soon enough, they all ended up snuggling together.
Rigby then started grooming each kitten individually from head to toe, being extra careful not to miss a spot. And when he was done, he willingly spent the rest of the day interacting with them.
Rigby was very considerate of kittens. It was as though he knew they had no mother to take care of them, so he bravely stepped up to do the job she was supposed to. He was an angel! He had very strong parental instincts and knew exactly what these kittens needed.
However, as Holly was only fostering those kittens, in a couple of weeks they were gone. Rigby was left confused, to say the least. But a new batch of kittens would arrive soon enough and Rigby quickly returned to his old task of fatherhood.
He soon realized that this thing with kittens his family was doing was a regular practice and he didn’t mind at all! He knew exactly what his role in the whole process was, and he performed very well. He awaited every kitten as a surrogate parent they all needed.
Rigby taught them how to clean themselves, use the litter box, play, and trust humans.
He was very intuitive, loving, gentle, and patient. He even let Holly drape bottles over his body, so he could feed the orphaned kittens and make them feel as though they are feeding off of their mother. Can you believe that? What cat would agree to that?
And even in those cases when Holly brought home an entire litter along with the mother, Rigby knew his place. He was there to help if the help was needed, but he allowed the mother to have her own space and do the things she needed to do.
Rigby was of immense help to Holly. Not only did he help her raise so many kittens, but he also helped her test if those foster kitties are appropriate for a multi-cat home. Because if they got along with Rigby, they would also get along with other cats.
Every kitten that Holly fostered ended up loving Rigby. They would snuggle up against him, play with his tail, and crawl all over him. And Rigby enjoyed their company, too. But most importantly, he enjoyed the role he got to play.
Who would have thought that a feline that was once a stray would get to be adopted by such a loving family and experience becoming a foster parent to many kittens?
Life is sometimes cruel and difficult. But in moments of greatest despair, it usually surprises us the most. Positively, of course. I think Rigby would definitely agree with this one.