Footage of Chichi the cat’s impressive efforts has gone viral after being posted to TikTok by his owner under the handle jowwwwwie alongside the hashtag “responsible father.”
At the time of writing, the video had been viewed 2.1 million times.
In the human world, women carry the brunt of childbirth but dads are expected to do their duty throughout the awkward and often painful months of pregnancy.
During a series of focus groups conducted by BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth, mothers and fathers were asked to define the part dads should play in pregnancy.
They settled on two specific definitions, firstly that fathers should “be present, to support, to understand, to be patient, and to have sympathy for the woman carrying his child.”
There was an additional agreed expectation that men “provide emotional, physical and (if possible) financial support to the woman carrying his child.”
Cats approach fatherhood in a different way though.
While no one is expecting much in the way of financial support from a four-legged dad, male felines don’t tend to possess much in the way of parental skills.
Nicky Trevorrow, behavior manager at the pet charity Cats Protection, explained: “Overall, cats are not known for their fatherly skills as male cats do not tend to be involved in raising offspring, especially in the wild.”
Despite this, Trevorrow notes “there are rare cases reported where domestic male cats have shown paternal care towards the young.”
Maybe that’s what makes the story of Chichi so special.
When his cat partner, Sophie, began giving birth to what was eventually a litter of five adorable kittens, he stayed close by her side.
As their owner explains on the video, Sophie was “always following the father of her kittens” throughout the birth and frequently sought “comfort from Chichi.”
According to the video, Chichi did his duty once the births began, making sure to “never” leave Sophie’s side while she delivered all the kittens.
“Such a father figure,” an on-screen caption read. “Thank God he never left Sophie because after a few hours she started to give birth to all of her kittens”
Chichi’s doting ways were not just reserved for the birth either. Once the kittens had arrived and were safely snuggled alongside Sophie in a cage, Chichi made a point of resting alongside his newborns, occasionally offering a playful, affectionate paw through the cage bars during this time.
With all of the kittens reported to be “healthy” and “busy breastfeeding to their mama” it looks like Chichi and Sophie will have their paws full for the foreseeable future.
Not that anyone watching the video had any concerns about the two cats being up to the task, particularly after Chichi’s display of affection.
Mamamasev commented: “Dad cat is better than most of the human dads on Earth,” with Bea Soledad adding: “True love! So rare in a male cat.”
Msjackiej said: “This is the most adorable cat story in this decade ever… the way he gently smelled and touched the wee babies,” while only_for_himmm added: “I wish that was my dad.”
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