Ampang, Selangor, Malaysia-Oyen the cat lost its mother and lived with a group of capybaras from childhood to adulthood. This cat is really popular among visitors.

Oyen the Orange Cat Is Officially Part of This Malaysian Capybara Herd

Are you feeling overwhelmed by the unending barrage of utterly terrible things happening in the world right now? Could you use something light and fluffy to lift your spirits? Don’t worry, we have you covered. Set five minutes aside, take a deep breath to center yourself, and dive in to learn all about Oyen the orange cat, and his adorable family of Capybaras, who live together at Zoo Negara in Ampang, Malaysia.

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Haaa oyen pun dah ada signage sendiri ? Mungkin next Roren kita pulak? Korang belum kenal Roren kan ? #oyen #oyenbarbar #masbro #capybara #zoonegara #zoonegaramalaysia #zoonegaramalaysia2023

♬ girls like me don’t cry (sped up) – thuy

Like all good heroes, Oyen (whose name is an affectionate diminutive of the Malaysian word for orange) has a tragic backstory, at least we think. Truth be told, no one really knows anything about him before he moved in with his Capybara family, though there are a lot of theories about his origins. Fans of the feline suspect that he lost his mother as a kitten, leading him to seek out this atypical arrangement. Oyen didn’t seem to have a human family either, as he lacked a microchip and was never claimed or reported missing. Zookeepers aren’t exactly sure when Oyen first started visiting his rodent pals. When the first Covid lockdown began he was, if not already an unsanctioned full-time roommate, then at least a frequent long-term guest, showing up at most feeding times alongside his affectionate hosts.

Of course, capybaras and cats have very different diets (herbivore vs. carnivore)but Oyen wasn’t going without. The zookeepers quickly added him to the feeding roster (just look at that little face, how could you not?). While we don’t know why Oyen decided to move in with the capybaras, it may be another case of their strange, magnetic appeal that makes all animals in the wild want to befriend them. Capybaras are regularly photographed just chilling with a wide range of creatures, from monkeys to deer to crocodiles. They seem to get along with everyone and anyone, creating a full-blown animal kingdom truce wherever they go because all the other animals are so desperate to hang out with them. Deeply affectionate and social animals, capybaras are known for creating strong bonds with any number of species.

The Zoo Negara Zoo capybaras are no different, swiftly adopting Oyen as one of their own soon after he arrived. And for his part, the poor little alleged orphan happily adapted to life as one of the herd before he even started getting free meals out of it. It seems that, for Oyen at least, capybaras really are just that cool.

Oyen is deeply beloved, not just by his capybara family, but by the general human public too. As he got more and more famous, people even started coming to the zoo just to see him and his capybara hosts. And you have to admit, there’s something delightful about people paying to visit the zoo just so they can see a small orange cat. Recognizing Oyen’s contributions to both his capybara and the broader zoo community, the zoo’s management decided it was time to honor Oyen with a plaque, finally making him an official resident of the enclosure alongside his rodent brethren. Now the sign outside their habitat reads “Capybara & Oyen”, letting all visitors, who haven’t already heard the good, fluffy news, know that Oyen really is supposed to be in there.

You’ve got to love a happy ending. Now take another deep breath and go back out there to create problems on purpose for everyone who deserves it.

(featured image: screenshot/ViralHog)

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Siobhan Ball
Siobhan Ball (she/her) is a contributing writer covering news, queer stuff, politics and Star Wars. A former historian and archivist, she made her first forays into journalism by writing a number of queer history articles c. 2016 and things spiralled from there. When she's not working she's still writing, with several novels and a book on Irish myth on the go, as well as developing her skills as a jeweller.