Every day in the USA, 70,000 puppies and kittens are born, and sadly, many of those babies are abandoned. 

Though that number is overwhelming, the Brooklyn Cat Cafe is doing their best to save as many stray kittens as they can, and they've enlisted the aid of some very unusual helpers. 

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Late-spring and early-summer are a busy time for shelters, and the Cat Cafe has found themselves caring for 20+ newborn kittens.

These "bottle babies" are incredibly time-intensive to take care of, as they require hand-feeding every two hours and must be quarantined until old enough for vaccinations. 

Instagram | @catcafebk

The idea of giving orphaned kittens a rat caretaker started with a kitten named Ebony, who was introduced to a rat named Ivory.

Ebony had the Feline Leukemia virus, which is contagious and deadly to cats, but not to rats. Ivory kept Ebony company, playing, grooming, and sleeping with the kitten. 

Instagram | @catcafebk
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Ivory eventually moved into the terrarium with the rest of the kittens, and was later joined by two other rats, Remi and Emile.

Though Ivory eventually passed of old age, his proteges are continuing to care for all the new kittens that come to stay at the Cafe. 

Facebook | Brooklyn Cat Cafe

The rats are super patient with the kittens, who often see tails as toys. 

They teach the kittens how to groom themselves and even share their treats!

Facebook | @catcafebk

After eight weeks, the kittens are given their first vaccines and are free to roam outside the terrarium, but they do so with the lessons they've learned from their rat daddies. 

What next? Dogs and cats living together too? 

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