We had the chance to join our neighbors for a Labor Day barbecue this year. There were lots of laughs, good food and good company.
I first noticed Chester when he greeted us on our arrival at the party. A complete extrovert, he checked everyone out and played with those of us who are into cats.
When we visited the rabbit hutch later, Chester had climbed into the hutch and was inside on the rabbit's bed. When I asked if he would harm the rabbit, his owner said he visited the rabbit often and would spend considerable time with it.
I have read about friendships between animals of different species, but this was the first time I had seen it in action. I was somewhat surprised to see the difference in their behavior toward each other.
Chester was outgoing and friendly but the rabbit was almost completely unresponsive.
Chester was interested in the rabbit and watched it closely. The rabbit came over and sniffed the cat once but seemed relatively withdrawn otherwise.
The owner said the rabbit had been rescued from a place where it had been severely neglected. I figured it had probably never been socialized as an animal raised by an affectionate owner. It certainly did not show the normal curiosity exhibited by animals raised under humane conditions.
There is a wide range of personalities in domestic animals and humane treatment tends to bring out the best in them, but watching this cat interact with the rabbit, it seemed that over time the cat might have a positive effect on the rabbit in spite of its past neglect.
We all do better with friends around us. It's nice to see that this is not confined to human friendships.