An Australian woman got the shock of her life after opening the back door to find her cat happily giving a piggy-back ride to a baby ringtail possum. Emilia Lendoudis, of Briar Hill, Melbourne, was about to scold her six-year-old cat Minx for scratching at the door on Tuesday morning when she noticed the unusual visitor on the pet's back.
"I was washing the dishes and I heard her scratching at the flyscreen to come in. When I went to let her in I saw something on her back and it was a possum," she said. Ms Lendoudis said neither Minx nor the possum seemed fazed by the strange pairing, with Minx happily walking around the backyard with the marsupial still attached. Aware the story would be a tough sell without evidence, she rushed to document the amazing scene.
"I ran to get my camera as there was no way anyone was going to believe that there was a possum on her back," she said. Featherdale Wildlife Park spokeswoman Lisa Christie believes Minx and the ringtail are familiar with each other, suggesting the relationship would be different were they not. "It looks as though these animals have met before or are both used to being around each other and therefore, the cat has no reason to fear or mistrust the possum and isn’t too worried about being used as a climbing post," she said. "If this had been the first introduction, neither animal would be so calm."
While the usual roles played by these two animals is hunter and hunted, Ms Christie said the bond the two showed was not unheard of. "In unusual circumstances animals that would normally be enemies can get along," she said. "It depends on the situation and the temperament of the individual animals involved. This has been apparent in the past when pigs have been known to foster young tiger cubs or dogs and tigers have befriended each other." Ms Lendoudis took the possum to a local vet who gave it a clean bill of health and will give the animal to a carer before releasing it back into the wild.