Cat Helps Rescue Raccoon Return To Wild

A raccoon raised in captivity learned to love the outdoors because of his cat friend, and acclimated back into his habitat.

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A senior cat liked one animal in the entire world: this raccoon. Via Haley Williams Photography/Facebook
Anastasia Thrift

Best friends get us through hard times. Even if you come from different backgrounds, the common bond you share is solid.

A senior cat’s friendship with a raccoon raised in captivity was so, so strong it helped the wild animal return to his roots, LoveMeow reports. Zizi, a sort of cranky senior working cat, and Winston, an injured raccoon nursed back to health by Haley Williams, shared such a bond.

Apparently the barn cat didn’t get along with the other cats in the household. Williams told the site he picked fights with “every animal that crossed his path.” But when Williams brought home a tiny, emaciated raccoon she found on the side of the road, Zizi was about to meet the one animal he liked.

Winston as a young raccoon. Via Haley Williams Photography/Facebook

Winston as a young raccoon. Via Haley Williams Photography/Facebook

Williams discovered that Winston the raccoon — whom she bottle fed back to health, being turned away by vet offices and living too far from a wildlife center for assistance — was drawn to Zizi the cat. Williams encouraged Winston to explore the outdoors, hoping to acclimate him for a return to the wild someday, and as he did he increasingly returned to Zizi, and Zizi, she told the website, “seemed to be drawn to Winston as well.

“Winston walked right up to Zizi laying down on the porch and after Zizi gave him a few light paw slaps to the head, Zizi just kind of accepted the fact that Winston wasn’t running away and wasn’t a threat,” Williams told LoveMeow. “They played a little and Zizi was very gentle. After that, every time I brought Winston outside, he’d seek Zizi out and Zizi went along with all of it.”

Winston and Zizi were the best of friends. Via Haley Williams/LoveMeow

Winston and Zizi were the best of friends. Via Haley Williams/LoveMeow

Winston was motivated to go outside on his own because of Zizi, she says, and he began to love the outdoors.

“I would be able to look out the window at any time of the day and see Zizi and Winston cuddled up sleeping in the flower pot together, wrestling or just exploring side by side. When I would come home from school, Winston would hop into my lap and Zizi would follow,” Williams told the site.

Sadly, aging cat Zizi passed away a few years after Winston was rescued. His family missed him, of course, but the really heartbroken one seemed to be raccoon Winston. Now fully grown, Winston started to explore beyond the house for increasingly longer stretches of time, eventually returning only every few months.

“Every once in a while I will look outside and see Winston cuddling with our newest young cat,” Williams told LoveMeow.

Winston must remember the kindness one cat showed him, which helped him learn to love the outdoors and return to the wild.

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