Ginger cat in M'sia zoo still chilling with capybaras after 2 years, gets its own 'Oyen' sign

The cat was allowed to stay after it was likely abandoned during the pandemic.

Belmont Lay | Kelsy Koh | June 27, 2023, 03:28 AM

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Capybaras in Malaysia’s Zoo Negara have become a huge hit online and offline: Thanks to them being really chill and welcoming, as well as being frequented by a domestic ginger cat the last couple of years.

@mothershipsg Cat, py, bara #tiktoksg #sgnews ♬ Capybara

Cat and rodents hang out

What's even funnier about their relationship? Capybaras are rodents.

But they can be huge.

Related to mice and rats, capybaras can grow to around 1.2m in length and weigh up to 65kg.

The cat, in comparison, is much smaller in stature at about 4kg to 6kg on average.

@znmzoonegara 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

How they came to be friends

The orange short-haired tabby, which has since been named Oyen, is frequently spotted hanging out with its friends in the the Kuala Lumpur zoo, which has been publicising the cat's antics.

Zoo employees believe Oyen was likely abandoned near Zoo Negara, Malaysia’s Bernama news agency previously reported.

Cats were dumped near its premises during the pandemic as pet owners struggled to keep up with expenses.

The zoo at that time was shut to visitors.

Oyen has been living with the capybaras for two years or so now, according to zoo officials who spoke to Bernama.

“When we first discovered him, we saw he was very friendly with the capybaras. He would eat with them,” Mohd Taufik Yazidbustami, the senior zookeeper at Zoo Negara, said.

He told Bernama that the cat ate the bread that was fed to the capybaras.

The cat was allowed to stay, with the zookeepers keeping a constant eye out for diseases.

Became an internet star

People noticed the cat when the zoo reopened in September 2021.

They took photos and videos of him and shared them online -- such as when Oyen was hiding in the shelter with the capybaras due to the rain.

@nabilnash_ Mana2 ada si oyen ni 😂 #yzxbca #trending #zoonegara #oyen #capybara #fypシ #takkroni ♬ Funny Song - Cavendish Music

The cat was frequently seen rubbing its head on the capybaras, sleeping, and cuddling with them.

@znmzoonegara Oyen + Capybara = Capyboyen 🤔 Apa yang sesuai? #oyen #cat #capybara #tikus #baby #zoonegara #fyp #zoonegaramalaysia ♬ Baby Face - Official Sound Studio

The cat has become so popular that the zoo added his name to the capybara sign in front of the enclosure.

@boofizzzz Bila je tak buat hal, dari mana datang tak tau #zoonegara ♬ i am fckin crazy - tan

"Oyen" is a play on the word "Oren", or orange in Malay, used to refer to ginger cats in Malaysia.

It is used as a term of endearment.

Oyens have a reputation for being chaotic or mischievous, so much so that one of the leading pet insurers in Malaysia has taken its name from the breed.

Top photos via Zoo Negara Malaysia