Lifestyle & Human Interest

Cat Becomes Surrogate Mother to Abandoned Baby Monkey and Now the Pair Is Inseparable


One long-running philosophical disagreement that has persisted through the ages involves the nature of humanity. Are we generally good — or generally not?

Well, if you asked the individuals who run animal rescue shelters, they’d have a definite opinion, particularly if you had them read Proverbs 12:10 first. That well-known verse states, “Whoever is righteous has regard for the life of his beast, but the mercy of the wicked is cruel.”

People perpetuate plenty of cruelty toward animals, yet there are others who try to balance that out by providing care for those abused animals. And as one shelter in India shows, sometimes injured critters receive solace from unexpected places.

According to, Peepal Farm exists to aid injured, abused, abandoned and otherwise unwanted animals in Himachal Pradesh, India. Co-founded by Joellen Anderson, the shelter is also an organic farm.

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Peepal Farm prides itself on staying lean while rescuing any sort of animal. Its expansive facility, which includes a kennel, a clinic, and a cowshed, is fashioned entirely out of mud-brick and scavenged material, and it has rescued roughly 600 animals.

In a YouTube video, the farm shared the story of one of the rescues, a monkey named Avni. It opens with a phone call the farm received, which led to a worker named Arti explaining, “There’s a monkey in Dharmsala with its arm ripped off.”

The next images are the stuff of nightmares. A young Simian slinks between power lines, its mangled limb dangling, barely attached after getting run through by electric current.

“We were able to just remove the arm without a surgery because the skin that was holding it had died, so she kind of had a bone sticking out,” Anderson explained.

With the arm effectively gone, they needed to perform a surgery to remove the bone and get the poor monkey cleaned up so she could begin healing.

Though the surgery sounds horrible, it gave the little monkey, who the farm named Avni, a new lease on life. Also, it allowed Avni to make an amazing new friend as she recovered: a rescue cat called Billo.

“Billo just came right up and walked right in,” Anderson told The Dodo. “They started snuggling.

“It was immediate. We were like, ‘O.K., this might actually be a good thing for Avni, for her recovery so that it can help her reduce her stress.

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“Because monkeys are really creatures of troops. They want a family.”

Bereft of her family, Avni found a new one in her unlikely feline companion. In fact, Billo became something of a surrogate mother for the injured monkey.

Nowadays, Avni spends her days following her kitty mama. She keeps up by resting her remaining arm on the cat’s back, a method that allows her to keep pace.

“Avni really likes to groom Billo,” Anderson said. “She just ruffles through her hair and pulls things out.”

Avni may have lost her family and been injured by mankind’s inexplicable devices, but she has found a friend in the most unlikely place — and the cat seems to enjoy the company, too.

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A graduate of Wheaton College with a degree in literature, Loren also adores language. He has served as assistant editor for Plugged In magazine and copy editor for Wildlife Photographic magazine.
A graduate of Wheaton College with a degree in literature, Loren also adores language. He has served as assistant editor for Plugged In magazine and copy editor for Wildlife Photographic magazine. Most days find him crafting copy for corporate and small-business clients, but he also occasionally indulges in creative writing. His short fiction has appeared in a number of anthologies and magazines. Loren currently lives in south Florida with his wife and three children.
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