It’s a fair match… for now: heartwarming pictures show adorable baby liliger playing with its new ‘mother’
These adorable pictures show the moment a baby liliger play fights with its ‘mother’ - a domestic cat called Darka
Liliger Kiara - a new hybrid cross between a male lion and a ligress - was born at Novosibirsk Zoo in Russia.
But when her mother stopped producing milk, staff at the zoo had to nurse her, hand-feeding her a bottle of milk every three hours around the clock.
Dedicated keeper Roza Solovieva, 40, decided to take on the unique but challenging task, taking Kiara home with her where she struck up an immediate friendship with her pet cat, Darka.
As soon as the two were introduced, Darka, who already has a kitten of her own, slipped straight into the role of parent by licking and warming the cub as if she were her own.
Pictured playing and nuzzling together, the two formed an extraordinary bond and were rarely seen apart.
However, it wasn’t long before the mini mammal began displaying more predatory behaviour, a sign it was time to return her mother.
Head keeper Roza said: ‘Zita, the cub’s mother was a caring parent but as soon as Kiara was born we noticed she had stopped producing milk.
'The bond between a mother and a new born cub is extremely important and we try to keep them together wherever possible but in this case we had to take drastic measures.
'As soon as I introduced Kiara to my house cat Darka, the pair just clicked.
'Darka's motherly instincts took over and she began to treat Kiara as one of her offspring, licking her and always making sure she was warm, it was beautiful to see.
'Having Kiara at home would be every cat lovers dream I would imagine but its a very serious task and requires complete dedication, but I have to say it was very fun at times.
'After one week we started introducing meat to the cub and then suddenly she started looking like more of a predator than a pet, we knew it was time to give Kiara back to her mother.
'We were worried about reintroducing the cub to her mother because of the time apart but thankfully the two are doing just fine.
'Of course both me and Darka miss Kiara, but it makes me much happier to see her with her mother where she belongs.'
By Daily Mail