It’s been over a week now since Koko’s first introduction to seven new kittens. Since then, Koko has enjoyed almost daily visits with the two kittens who stole her heart. Her favorite is a female grey tabby and her “second” favorite is a large female black kitten. Koko has been steadily forming a strong bond and a lasting relationship with these two kittens.
Every time they’ve come to visit, Koko has been full of purrs. The kittens also enjoy her company, and as they become more mobile, they like using Koko as a jungle gym as they romp around. Of course like most kittens, after a good romp they crash, and Koko loves to nap with them. It is amazing how gentle and careful Koko is with them.
Koko will frequently sign to them telling them to “chase” or “sleep.” She has even comforted and soothed them when they were crying by playing some notes on her keyboard to cheer them up.
Koko is particularly fond of the grey tabby. They nap often and rest contently together in Koko’s nest. Koko obviously has a special place in her heart for this particular kitten and keeps her safely tucked against her stomach as any good gorilla mother would.
Clearly, Koko is taking her mother/protector role very seriously. It is apparent to her caregivers that Koko would make a wonderful mother and teacher to her own baby gorilla someday, but for now, it seems the kittens are here to stay.
by Alison Fockler, former TGF gorilla caregiver