The beach was a great place for photo opportunities, but the photographer had spotted something unusual. A fox was in the distance, rolling around with something. Indeed, as he got closer, he realized that the fox was fighting a cat – and its jaws were about to close on the feline’s head.
Some stories are so incredible that they stand the test of time and keep on resurfacing over and over. One such example is an amazing encounter between a fox and a cat. It first took the internet by storm in November, 2012, in fact.
It resurfaced a year later in 2013 and has kept on coming back ever since to wow animal lovers worldwide. The original story was uploaded by an imgur user called “standstrong.” According to BuzzFeed, the photographs were taken by a fisherman local to the Lake Van area in Turkey.
The photographer was on Lake Van’s shores when he spotted a fox that seemed to be fighting something. That something turned out to be a cat. According to a YouTube video uploaded by WatchZozo, the cat was a stray living in the area.
As the observer watched the two squabbling, he recorded the stunning events. And then, as the fight progressed, he took an absolutely stunning picture. It must have made his heart jump into his throat, because it looked like the fox was about to kill its rival.
Suddenly, the fox opened its jaws wide with the feline’s head practically in its mouth. And a fox has a much greater biting power than a cat. While domestic cats have a bite force quotient (BFQ) of 58, a red fox has a BFQ of 92 – a bite nearly twice as strong.
WatchZozo’s YouTube video – which was uploaded on April 5, 2017 – described the event. “It was a sight that would make anyone’s heart drop,” they noted. But just when it looked like the cat’s death was assured, something strange happened, and the photographer realized something.
The fox wasn’t going in for a killing blow – and for a very good reason. The pair weren’t in fact fighting with each other at all – they were playing together. The photographer continued to watch the pair while they wrestled, as if they were the best of friends.
Furthermore, the two weren’t just roughhousing – they were playing over a meal that they shared. Not only did the pair play together, they ate together, too. According to the YouTube video, the foxy feline duo were enjoying a fish dinner before they got side-tracked.
The photographer was so amazed by what he saw that he continued to watch the pair for a while longer. The fox and the cat shared a friendship that was like something from a Walt Disney movie. And they seemed to genuinely enjoy spending time together.
Social media couldn’t get enough of the unlikely friends and the images soon went viral. Since they were uploaded on imgur, the photo series has received over 350,000 views. The latest YouTube video, meanwhile, has proven just as popular and has had close to 1.5 million views so far.
Following the video, many people asked if the relationship between the two animals was out of the ordinary – and the answer is a resounding yes. It’s very unusual for these two animals to play together in the wild. In fact, they don’t often interact with each other at all.
On August 29, 2014, cat behaviorist and groomer Anita Kelsey wrote an article on the subject. In it, she noted that the BBC Wildlife team agreed: foxes are generally indifferent to cats. “Foxes and cats meet many times every night and invariably ignore each other,” she quoted them as saying.
Some cat owners worry that their furbabies will fall victim to a fox attack. And while it’s not unheard of for a fox to kill a cat, it’s extremely rare. In fact, on the occasions that they do approach each other, the results are often not what you might expect.
“When a fight does break out, it’s often the fox that comes off worse,” BBC Wildlife noted. In her article, Kelsey also quoted Trevor Williams, one of the founders of The Fox Project. He confirmed that his experiences were the same.
“From a personal perspective, I’ve had three cats in recent years and all of them chased the foxes out of the garden if they spotted them – and the foxes didn’t hang around,” Williams said. He added that cat fatalities were “so rare as to be insignificant.”
Foxes are generally quite timid creatures and the offensive displays of cats seem to intimidate them. Foxes do, however, have a bad reputation when it comes to poultry and rodents. Indeed, if foxes spot an easy meal, they can be determined and single-minded.
Realistically, though, foxes don’t represent a danger to household pets like cats and dogs. In fact, they are more at risk from humans. In the past, foxes have been demonized, especially in the U.K., where fox hunting is a controversial issue.
Some argue that fox hunting – pursuing a fox on horseback with a pack of hounds – should be legalized. However, it is still permitted to shoot the animals as vermin, while adapted forms of the sport remain legal – much to the ire of animal rights protesters. And WatchZozo’s YouTube video seems to side with the protesters, making the case for more compassionate treatment of the animals.
Commenting on the animals’ friendship, WatchZozo noted, “These two very different wild animals prove a fundamental lesson that everyone could learn from really. It doesn’t matter where you come from because love knows no bounds. These two never got the memo that they weren’t supposed to like each other. They just decided to care for each other.”