The newborn squirrels were tiny – so would introducing them to a cat really be a good idea? She was a calm and gentle animal, mind you, but she was still a cat, and the babies were rodents. As the man held a squirrel in his hand, then, the cat slowly approached, nose lowered, to investigate.
Kalpana is a kindhearted young man who lives in India and creates videos for the ChinChinku Kids Nursery Rhymes YouTube channel. When he’s not stimulating young minds, though, he uploads animal rescue videos, and one of those videos was about a cat named Hetty.
Kalpana found Hetty when she was a tiny stray living on the streets. She was so malnourished that she couldn’t move. But Kalpana took care of her and nursed her back to health. Hetty then became part of his family, and the two have been together ever since.
Now when a cyclone hit their region, fortunately neither Kalpana nor Hetty were out on the streets. In a YouTube video dated December 17, 2016, Kalpana shared footage of the terrible storm. He described it as “the worst cyclone” and noted that wind speeds had reached 85 mph.
But while cat and owner were safe, several souls had been caught out in the storm. “[During the] cyclone, we found a nest outside the gate,” he explained in his video. It’s amazing that anything had survived in such high winds, but survive some creatures did. A handful of little lives had fallen into Kalpana’s lap, and they needed help.
“Four cute baby squirrels inside the nest [had] survived… the cyclone,” Kalpana explained. They were in fact three-striped squirrels, or Indian palm squirrels – rodents that are very similar to chipmunks. Fluffy creatures themselves, their nests are usually padded to keep them soft for the little babies.
Interestingly, squirrels are important in the Hindu religion, as they were favored by the god Rama. In one story, a squirrel brings sand from a beach to help build the Rama Setu, a string of shoals off India’s southernmost coast. And the squirrel’s dedication impressed Rama, so he stroked it, leaving white stripes along its back. Because of this, Indian squirrels are regarded as holy animals and must be protected.
Whether he was thinking of this legacy or not, though, when Kalpana saw the squirrels, he took them inside to try and save them. Moreover, on closer inspection, it was apparent that the squirrels were virtually newborns. “They were so adorable,” Kalpana wrote.
“One of them didn’t even open her eyes,” he added. So, vulnerable as they were, although the young squirrels were out of the cyclone, they still needed nourishment. Kalpana, then, acted as their surrogate mother. “We fed them milk using a syringe,” he explained in his video of the rescue.
The squirrels looked like they might be staying for a while, though, and there was someone they had to meet: Hetty the cat. Kalpana was unsure about introducing Hetty to the babies. After all, in the wild, cats raid the nests of such rodents and feast on their young. But in the end, he trusted Hetty enough to give it a try.
“We were scared and thought that she may harm those babies,” Kalpana recalled. You might also expect that the babies would have been scared of Hetty, at least to start with. What happened was quite surprising, though; in fact, it was Hetty who was nervous.
“Our sweet and calm cat was initially afraid of [the] baby squirrels,” their rescuer wrote. And then, after she had gotten used to the little things, Hetty did something as remarkable as it was touching. “After a day, she started caring for them,” Kalpana revealed.
Could it be that as a rescue cat, Hetty knew what it was like to be in need? In any event, Kalpana was overjoyed to see Hetty looking after the squirrels. “We were so happy to see the babies are playing with Hetty,” he wrote. And it made for an adorable photo opportunity!
Meanwhile, as Hetty’s nurturing instincts kicked in, another squirrel was out braving the storm: the babies’ real mom. Kalpana could actually hear her looking for her babies, but the weather was still too dangerous for them. He did move the squirrel’s nest outside his window, however.
He also encouraged the baby squirrels to call for their mother so that she’d know where to find them. Kalpana’s ploy paid off, too, and the mommy squirrel indeed came closer to the house in search of the babies. Unfortunately, though, the storm remained fierce.
All Kalpana could do, therefore, was make sure that the mommy knew where to find her young – and meanwhile the cyclone raged on. Yet, while it took two days, finally the storm relented, and the weather changed for the better. When it was safe, then, it was time to try and reunite the squirrels with their momma.
When Kalpana took the babies outside and left them there, they started calling out to their mommy – and their cries were answered. “Once the sound [was] heard by mother squirrel, she came for her babies,” Kalpana reported. What’s more, the heart-melting video shows the momma’s reunion with her lost young.
The mother squirrel comes back repeatedly, each time carrying a little one back to her nest. “She took all her baby squirrels one by one with lots of love,” Kalpana wrote. And the video showing the adorable event melted hearts across the internet. To date, it has received some 950,000 views.
Kalpana, meanwhile, was deservedly showered with praise for the kindness that he had shown to the little family in need. “You saved that kitty and look how sweet she is. And now the [babies]. Bless you, this video is wonderful,” one YouTube commenter said. “So sweet, made me cry happy tears,” another wrote.
Still, Kalpana and Hetty had become attached to the baby squirrels during their time together, so their parting was bittersweet. They were pleased anyway, though, to witness the reunion. “We are happy that [the] four baby squirrels [got] back to their mommy,” Kalpana wrote. “[And] yes, we are missing them!”