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Cat and Bear Odd Couple Reunited in Zoo

Fri January 9, 2004

BERLIN (Reuters) - Muschi, a small cat that formed an unlikely friendship with a half-ton bear called "mouse" in Berlin Zoo, has been reunited with her companion after pining outside the bear's cage for months, the zoo said Friday.

Muschi, which means "pussy," has been popular with zoo visitors ever since she appeared in the bear's enclosure three years ago. But the pair were split up last October when the bear was locked in a cage while her living space was enlarged.

Zoo keepers took pity on the distraught cat that had taken to roaming around the zoo and sitting outside the cage, and this week allowed her in the cage with the shaggy female Asiatic black bear called "Maeuschen," which means little mouse.

"They greeted each other and had a cuddle and now they're happy," said Heiner Kloes, a member of the zoo's management board. "The cat has a real fan club, mostly among our older, regular visitors."

No one knows where Muschi, a normal black domestic cat, came from. "She appeared from nowhere in 2000 and we decided to leave them together because they got on so well," said Kloes. "They sunbathed together and shared meals of raw meat, dead mice, fruit and bread."

The enlarged enclosure will reopen in the spring.


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