Macaque and kitten - a close symbiotic interspecies friendship

This is an interspecies friendship story from Indonesia in 2010. You may have heard about it. I am a great fan of interspecies friendships and there are many to see on the Internet. This particular story comes from a book I have on these sort of friendships called Unlikely Friendships.

RELATED: Interspecies friendship: donkey and domestic cat

The macaque and the kitten
The macaque and the kitten. An interspecies friendship in which both found something that was missing in their lives. The picture is deemed to be in the public domain.

In Indonesia there is a sacred forest in the town of Ubud on the Indonesian island of Bali. In this place monkeys roam freely over a Hindu temple built many centuries ago. They are long-tailed macaques which are said to guard the temple from evil spirits.

A ginger tabby kitten strayed into the area and into the arms of one of these macaque primates. At this temple there are 300 macaques in four separate troops each with their own territory. People who saw the friendship develop were astonished.

One witness was Anne Young who was on vacation at the time visiting the Sacred Monkey Forest. She said the following:

"The pair had been together a few days, and whenever the park staff tried to capture the kitten, it would just run back to the monkey."

The macaque was a young male. He would groom the kitten. He would hug and nuzzle him and sometimes lay his head on the kitten's head. It was clear that he wanted to keep his kitten friend to himself. He became wary of the other macaques and indeed people who got too close. He would hide his 'prize' by climbing higher or going deep into the forest with his kitten in his arms.

On one occasion he used a leaf to cover the kitten. The kitten made no attempt to escape from the relationship. This macaque was not an alpha male or a leader.

It is believed that he was not getting a lot of attention from the other macaques and neither was he receiving attention from humans as they've become a nuisance in Ubud.

So the macaque found a friend and some attention as did the kitten. Perhaps they both craved friendship and a companion. It is probably as simple as that. A homeless kitten found a parent and a male primate found a child.

The story does not tell me how it ended. I'd like to know. Did they remain friends for the rest of the life of the cat?

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