The first encounter between a family’s cat and their newborn was caught on camera, capturing hearts on the internet.
Romy Depraetere, mom to both the cat and the infant, shared the meeting on TikTok in a clip that has amassed 1.5 million views since April 7.
Depraetere lives in Belgium. Her British shorthair cat Jules was the first baby of the family, joining Depraetere and her partner Glenn de Cabooter last year. Then, on April 2, she gave birth to their daughter Olivia.
In her video, de Cabooter carried Olivia out of the hospital and later arrived at their home. Jules, who was waiting by the door, slowly approached the baby. After the father rested her cradle on the floor and allowed Jules to investigate, the cat cautiously circled around her. Finally, Jules reached his paws over the cradle and sniffed Olivia’s face, appearing to gently kiss her forehead.
In the next clip, Olivia was laying in her father’s arms when Jules approached and bopped his nose into the baby’s tiny hand. De Cabooter grinned up at the camera, looking touched that the two got along.
Viewers melted over the new family dynamic.
“British shorthair are the sweetest and gentlest around babies, he loves [her],” one comment said. “They will be the best of friends.”
“Cat’s like ooooh dats my baby,” another gushed.
Others shared their own experiences with introducing a baby to their pets.
“They will be lovely together,” said one viewer. “When my daughter was born years ago now, we had a British Cream, he loved her, slept by her and never hurt her.”
“For the first week of coming home after having my daughter my cats wanted nothing to do with me,” another parent added.
Growing up with a cat can have a range of benefits for children, according to American Humane. Kids learn responsibility through their participation in feeding the pet and cleaning their litter box. They can also develop empathy and gentleness to meet the creature’s comfort level, building social skills that will aid them in other areas of life. Having a cat can even improve a child’s immune system and lessen their likelihood of developing allergies or asthma.
Some cats become “self-appointed guardians” to a baby, according to Cats Protection, a feline welfare charity in the United Kingdom. Cats have been known to raise the alarm when a baby shows signs of illness. Some have even saved the lives of abandoned babies who were at risk of hypothermia by snuggling up and warming them.