When Thuy Duong realized her pet cat was about to give birth, she rushed to be with her. But when she got there, it seemed that the expectant mom had all the support she needed. There, right by the cat’s side, was the kittens’ father… and how he was acting left Duong stunned.
In February 2017 Vietnamese animal lover Duong took to her Facebook page to announce some good news. She revealed that her beloved cat had given birth to a litter of kittens at her Hanoi home. And she had the most adorable pictures to prove it.
The Duong family had originally adopted their cats one year before. And before long, Tam The had made good friends with a male cat named Yello. Indeed, the pair had obviously bonded well, as Duong would soon discover that her pet was pregnant.
Then on February 13, 2017, Duong returned home from a wedding. When she got there, she discovered that Tam The was ready to give birth. So she washed herself up and prepared to help her pet through her delivery.
What’s more, Duong decided to photograph Tam The’s labor from the very beginning. Her series of images also show the moment the new mom first laid eyes on her little ones; thankfully, each of her four babies were in the best possible health.
However, Tam The wasn’t the only one who was relieved to see the litter was fighting fit. During her delivery, the kittens’ father Yello stood by. And, adorably, the concerned dad kept a watchful eye over his expectant partner throughout her entire birth.
Then when his new babies arrived, Yello threw himself into his fatherly duties; Duong’s pictures show the ginger puss tenderly cleaning his kittens one by one, for example. But once he had taken care of the little ones, he turned his attention to Tam The.
In another photo, Yello even appears to congratulate the new mother with a kiss on the lips. Plus, one snap sees him putting a protective paw around Tam The and his newborn family before they all fell asleep together. The gang seemed to be the happiest feline family around.
And Yello’s doting demeanor astounded Duong. In fact, in a February 2017 interview with Bored Panda, the cat lover revealed that Yello generally wasn’t the friendliest of felines and only had time for her, the family dog and his darling Tam The.
But it wasn’t just Yello’s regular prickly demeanor that made his affectionate actions surprising. What was more unusual about his soft nature was the fact that male felines often kill kittens. As a result, experts often advise owners to keep male cats away from pregnant females.
This disturbing behavior mirrors that of big cats in the wild. For instance, lions that are new to a pride will kill existing cubs to give them a better chance of breeding with their mothers. They may also kill male cubs who might grow up to be a threat to their dominance.
With that in mind, male domestic and wild cats aren’t considered to be naturally paternal. Indeed, it’s extremely rare for them to involve themselves in the raising of their kittens. Yello, however, is one of the few toms that seem to have bucked this trend.
But there are a handful of anecdotes that suggest he wasn’t the first dad to dote on his kittens. Some owners have reported that their feline fathers have helped out with cleaning or playing with their offspring. Meanwhile, others have claimed that their male cats have brought their litters home – as if to show them off.
Duong’s pictures were so unusual, though, that people couldn’t get enough of them online. In fact, one album of proud Yello and his family clocked up more than 8,000 reactions on Facebook, and the ginger tom was dubbed “father of the year” in the process.
All the attention stunned Duong, however. “I almost ran out of battery because [of all the] reports,” she subsequently wrote on Facebook. “My cat is famous. Look at [his] wife and children that are still lying [next] to each other and dry my tears,” she wrote.
Someone also posted the inspiring images on imgur. There, they received a lot more attention. More than 500,000 people viewed the beautiful family album. Furthermore, in excess of 600 viewers felt compelled to leave a comment on the site.
And many of those commenters simply couldn’t believe what they were seeing. “I have never seen a father cat in my life,” one intrigued user wrote below the photographs. “This is beautiful. Thank you for sharing,” they added.
Meanwhile, other viewers couldn’t help but draw parallels between humans and our feline friends. “He looks stressed, then caring, then attentive, then content,” one observed of Yello. “Just like human fathers going through the same experience,” they added.
In addition, a few commenters shared similar stories about their cats. “We had cats like this,” one user revealed. “When the mom left the babies to eat and they started meowing, the dad would jump in and keep them company till she came back.”
So it seems that fatherly instinct isn’t exclusive to us humans after all. However, what makes Yello’s bond with his babies so special is its rarity. And surely the little kittens in his feline family are among the luckiest in the world to have such a loving mom and dad.