In one of the most remote and hard-to-reach places in the world I have ever visited – the Kamchatka Peninsula in Siberia – I was shown photographs of a beautiful cat living at a reserve there who had made a true friendship with a lone fox who came to visit every day. The story — one that evolved in the photos — I found so touching and unique that I wanted to share it with you.
— Joan Larsen
His day job is to keep the mice at bay in houses at an entry post to the magnificent Kronotsky Nature Reserve in the volcanic Kamchatka peninsula – a stone’s throw away from Alaska’s Aleutian Islands.
Locals say Syoma does it well.
After the arduous work, it’s time to play. In Syoma’s case, this is with someone a little bigger than him.
Syoma is a cat with character, and I learned it from the first few seconds of our acquaintance. My attempt to pat the animal ended with him hissing, scratching and biting.
Of course, he tolerated me after that – it was only for show.
Once, as a kitten, young Syoma was almost stolen and carried away in the claws of some white night bird. The truth is that that time nothing bad happened and the cat came back slightly injured, but safe and sound.
Now, a year older, Syoma has made friends with some of the locals, including this fox who regularly appears to play with the cat.
Syoma seriously tries to defend his territory.
The fox in my opinion, is just teasing the cat, making him play and run.
Yet both seem to be having fun, and this does not appear to be an all-out territorial battle.
There is no question of Syoma being intimidated.
The fox flirts and comes closer to the cat, and Syoma with a serious face tries to drive the fox away.
But then they run round and round the post on the edge of the nature reserve each happily pursuing their own goals.
For the cat it’s a good warm-up before going to bed. After such exercises he has a very deep and long sleep.
Our thanks to photographer Sergei Krasnoschekov at the Siberian Times for the beautiful photographs.
Writer Joan Larsen has spent a lifetime searching for the most remote places on Earth. But it is the polar regions of our world that she has been drawn back to again and again. She has done research in these lands of ice, and considers Antarctica to be her “other home.”