Cat-Pybara: An Unlikely But True Friendship


A few days ago the word “Oyen” was trending on X/Twitter. It got me thinking, “What’s going on?” I clicked on the trending word and found myself to be amused. Oyen is a ginger stray cat who was abandoned in the National Zoo of Malaysia during the pandemic in 2020.

The name ‘Oyen’ originates from the word orange which refers to the colour of the cat himself. The cat slowly makes friends with the herd of capybaras in the zoo. Now please note that capybaras are not native to Malaysia. They are typically found in South America, particularly in countries like Brazil and Venezuela.

Capybaras are the largest rodents in the world and are semi-aquatic animals that inhabit marshes, swamps, and other waterlogged areas. They are known for their social behaviour and often live in groups. The keyword here is ‘rodent’. And as we all are aware, felines and rodents are not usually the best of friends. This is where this inter-species friendship becomes unique in the eyes of zoo visitors.

According to FMT news, Oyen has not formed any friendship with other cats and prefer to stay close to the herd of capybaras instead. As of today, four different cats are living with giraffes and tortoises at the zoo. Oyen is sometimes seen rubbing his head against the capybaras. In a cat’s world, it is a sign of affection. Other than that, Oyen also spends his day like any other cat, which means, eating, sleeping and playing. The two species cozy up real good that neither of them shows any signs of distress.

Oyen has made national and international news, thus making the ginger feline a celebrity. The International Zoo deputy president Rosly @ Rahmat Ahmat Lana stated that 90% of visitors are flocking to see the two species together in the enclosure. In June, the zoo decided to install a sign reading “Oyen” at the capybara enclosure, thus solidifying his position as a distinguished inhabitant of the national zoo.

I think the best lesson that we can learn from this story is that no matter what life throws at you and no matter what the circumstances are, we can turn our life around and make the best of it. Like Oyen, an abandoned cat finds himself a new family and a new home despite his unfortunate beginning. You know what they say, “When God closes a door, he opens a window, but it is up to you to find it”.

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