Tennyson the German Shepherd towered over a tiny kitten called Moo like a giant. He watched the ball of fluff scrabbling helplessly at the stairs – and then he saw his chance. Tennyson slowly approached and closed his powerful jaws around Moo’s fragile body.
On July 26, 2016, a social media user called Ten Shakes of Grace uploaded a video to YouTube. The footage shows a surprising encounter between two very different animals – a small kitten and a large German Shepherd. Their names are Moo and Tennyson respectively.
Moreover, they’re just part of the extended family that lives in the OP’s household, as the uploader’s social media output reveals. Not only do they live with another German Shepherd called Harper Grace, but they also have a cockatiel called Shakespeare. Moo isn’t the family’s only kitten, either.
Apparently, the OP regularly looks after foster kittens for a nearby animal shelter. These furbabies sometimes feature in Ten Shakes of Grace’s videos, and little Moo is one of them. However, at the start of the video, you can only see Tennyson.
As Tennyson stands on the stairs, in fact, the shape of the big German Shepherd eclipses tiny Moo. The black-and-white-spotted kitten only becomes visible when Tennyson begins his climb. Furthermore, it looks like Moo wants to imitate the large dog and follows him.
The first step doesn’t pose a problem to Moo, and he bounces up it with one leap. The second step is a bit more of an issue, though. And by the third step, you can tell that Moo is running out of energy, as he struggles to keep up with Tennyson.
For his part, Tennyson stops on the stairs and waits for the kitten to join him. When he looks down at Moo, his face seems to be full of concern. And his human can tell just what he’s thinking, too, as a voice off-camera reveals.
“No, let him do it himself,” the voice tells Tennyson, while the dog observes the kitten’s struggle. Subsequently, Moo changes tactic and resumes his climb using the wall as support. But Tennyson has other ideas, despite his owner’s advice to the contrary.
Tennyson can’t stand to see Moo struggle, in fact, and steps back down to help him out. With this in mind, he gently closes his jaws around the nape of the kitten’s neck. Initially, Moo tries to keep some of his independence and resists Tennyson’s attempts to help.
Moo consequently crouches down to prevent himself being picked up and continues his attempted climb. Tennyson’s determined to help out, though, and tries again to assist the kitten. And this time, he closes his jaws around Moo’s head to lift the kitten up the stairs.
The video’s comments indicate that some viewers worried that Tennyson’s approach might hurt Moo. “Is it not bad for the kitten that the dog just literally puts the whole head in his mouth?” one person asked. But it’s not nearly as bad as it looks.
Another YouTube commenter reassured the concerned viewer. “Cats tend to pick up their child by the pelt of their neck,” they explained. “It’s just that a German Shepherd has too big a mouth to do that, so he gently picked him up by the head instead.”
The behavior is indeed reminiscent of how mother cats carry their kittens by the scruff of the neck. This area has a fold of skin that’s loose enough for mom to grip gently in her teeth. The action, otherwise known as “scruffing,” has several purposes.
For one, since they lack hands, it’s the only way that a mommy cat can transport their babies. It also has a pacifying effect on kittens, which results in the baby going limp. What follows next is almost like a trance or a form of paralysis.
In addition to its use in training, scruffing also allows mommy cat put an excitable baby to bed when they’d prefer to play. Moreover, the limp kitten won’t struggle when its mommy carries it, thus preventing possible injury. And this is exactly the effect that Tennyson has on Moo.
Tennyson takes little Moo in his mouth and gently lifts the prone kitten to the top of the stairs. When they’re safely up, he puts Moo down on the floor. The video ends with Tennyson lying down next to his charge for a snuggle.
The video’s description reveals that this kind of behavior isn’t unusual for Tennyson. “German Shepherd Tennyson loves to help with the foster kittens,” it explains. And the internet certainly fell hard for the adorable pair, as the viewing figures show.
The original video has almost half-a-million views, and it’s been uploaded to other platforms, too. For example, the viral video channel DailyPicksandFlicks also has a copy of the footage. Its viewing figures are significantly higher, with 9,600,000 views and 154,000 likes.
And judging from the comments left by viewers, it’s clear that many people fell in love with Tennyson and Moo. One wrote, “That is one of the sweetest things I have ever seen a dog do. I think they will be best friends for life.”
Tennyson looked after the fostered kitten until later that year, when little Moo found his forever home. Now Moo has a new canine sibling who plays with him all the time. Meanwhile, Tennyson remains a gentle giant, finding the smallest of friends in the most unlikely of places.