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Baby meets a kitten his age, cuteness ensues

By Ana Merkulova

Ollie the baby lying next to Bruce the catWhen baby Ollie goes on the baby mat, so does Bruce the cat. Together, under the close supervision of their mom, Alex, they are figuring out how to play together. Ollie is seven months old and Bruce is just a month older. And while Bruce is growing up much faster than his favorite little human, the two understand each other well.

Mostly, Bruce makes Ollie laugh, and Ollie gives Bruce a sense of baby-to-baby solidarity. In fact, when they first brought Bruce home, Alex says he sensed Ollie’s presence and seemed to know he wasn’t the only little one there.

A new friendship in a bittersweet time

Adopting a kitten while navigating life with a newborn might seem like odd timing, but in this case the timing was about as close to perfect as you can get. The couple’s last cat, Anya, died of cancer only a month after Ollie was born, and adopting Bruce has helped them heal.

When Anya passed away, Alex and Tom were devastated, not only because they had lost their fur baby, but also because right from the start they were looking forward to Ollie growing up with a four-pawed sibling.

Bruce the cat sniffing Ollie the baby as he drinks from a bottle

Enter Bruce and his starry eyes. Alex first saw him stealing the cuteness show when he showed up on Instagram stories from Best Friends in New York and thought right away that he was perfect in every way. Though they were still grieving after losing their cat, Alex and Tom decided that having Ollie grow up with a pet was important. Both had animals in the home from a young age, and neither could imagine Ollie not having the same experience.

[Three little kittens, one big happy family]

After a few emails and a virtual meet-and-greet with a Best Friends adoption counselor and Bruce’s foster, they decided to take Bruce home.

Milica Kostic, Best Friends lifesaving outcomes coordinator in New York, says that from the very start Bruce was an easygoing kitten after arriving with his sister from the South Jersey Regional Animal Shelter, a Best Friends Network partner organization. Confident and friendly, Bruce was the perfect kitten to share a home with a new baby.

Baby Ollie looking over lovingly at Bruce the cat and reaching out with his little hand

Growing up together

Now that both Bruce and Ollie are getting older, their friendship is growing by leaps and bounds, although Alex is quick to admit that having a baby and a kitten in a small apartment can be a challenge. “Some days it can get a little crazy, especially working from home,” says Alex. “And we have Ollie, and Bruce is running around the apartment. But I think those are the times that we laugh the hardest and we have the most fun.”

Alex understands why some families with young kids may be wary of getting pets, but says that for them there was simply no other way. Having a pet around teaches children empathy and compassion, she says. “And those two qualities, empathy and compassion are definitely two characteristics I hope Ollie develops as a child.”

Ollie the baby lying in a playpen with toys and Bruce the cat

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Photos courtesy of Alex Kirk