Dog Raises Stray Kitten As One Of His Own
"He's actually never met another cat, so I think he assumes he's a dog."
Taryn and Jenna Choquette like to say that they have two dogs - Brady and Tuukka.
But in reality, Brady is the only actual dog in the family. Tuukka is really a cat, although he doesn't seem to know it.
"We always joke that Tuukka is more like Brady - more of a dog than a cat," Taryn Choquette told The Dodo. "So we just call them 'the dogs.'"
Over two years ago, Tuukka was found clinging to the branches of a tree in a neighborhood near Austin, Texas.
"A friend of a friend found him in the tree and took him home, and she fostered him for a couple days," Choquette said. "And then we were like, 'We need him. He's adorable.'"
Tuukka was a month old and weighed "about a pound," according to Choquette. And when they first brought him home, Tuukka was scared of everything and everyone - including Brady.
To help Tuukka adjust to his new surroundings, the Choquettes kept him in a separate room with a sliding glass door. But Brady lay by the door each day, waiting for Tuukka to like him.
"Brady loves all creatures great and small," Choquette said. "He wants everyone and everything to be his best friend."
Each day, Tuukka got a little braver, and a little closer to the glass. After about a week, the Choquettes decided it was safe to introduce them to each other.
Their first interaction was a nose bop. Tuukka tiptoed up to Brady, and touched his little wet nose against Brady's large snout. Then he did it again, and again.
The pair quickly became inseparable. Brady happily took on the 'mommy' role with Tuukka, said Choquette, and he didn't even mind when Tuukka tried to nurse from him.
"Since Tuukka was so young, he wasn't actually fully weaned when he got lost, so he started to suckle on Brady," Choquette said. "It was the cutest thing ever."
Brady also loved teaching Tuukka things, although he probably taught Tuukka how to be more of a dog than a cat.
"Brady would also show Tuukka how to drink water from his own bowl," Choquette said. "And to this day, Tuukka will still not drink out of a tiny cat bowl - he only drinks out of Brady's giant water bowl."
Brady also taught Tuukka how to go outside with him and eat grass, and how to beg for food.
"As soon as we have food, both 'pups' are right there trying to get a taste," Choquette said.
Another thing the duo loves is roughhousing.
"Every morning when I get ready for work, they chase each other around the house," Choquette said. "Tuukka likes to launch off to wall to get a head start, and Brady is kind of giant and cumbersome, and he'll chase him around. And they'll jump on the bed and wrestle forever. They'll always do it late at night when I'm trying to sleep, or wake me up in the morning."
They also make a great team for mischief. Tuukka loves knocking food off the kitchen counter, and Brady loves eating it. And this exact scenario has happened too many times for the Choquettes to count.
"They're in cahoots," Choquette said. "That's like the exact definition of them."
Tuukka loves playing with Brady so much, he gets jealous when the Choquettes' friend's dog, Wyatt, has Brady's attention, and he tries to scare him off.
"Tuukka is very protective of Brady," Choquette said. "He growls like a dog, and he actually sounds like a dog - it's so funny."
When Brady is gone for the day, Tuukka mopes around. And when Brady returns, Tuukka glues himself to him.
"Whenever we come back, Brady lies down and Tuukka sniffs all around, like 'Tell me where you've been. Tell me all the things that you've done,'" Choquette said.
"I think he thinks he's just like Brady," Choquette added. "He's actually never met another cat, so I think he assumes he's a dog, just like Brady's brother."
Whatever Tuukka thinks he is, he's definitely happier with his best friend Brady around.
To see more adorable pictures of Brady and Tuukka, follow their Instagram account