Though it might be hard for non-pet-owners to understand, it’s undeniable that our cats and dogs are part of our families. We love them like children–or siblings who can almost get away with peeing on the carpet.

And with good reason, too! They comfort us when we’re sad and play with us when we’re happy. And if you’re lucky enough to have two pets, watching them play together can be better than anything Disney has to offer. Just take this video of a dog entertaining a hyper-active kitten for example!

Uploaded to the YouTube account Ponzu Cover, the video below shows off the best way to take care of a hyper-active kitten: Give your energetic dog a cat toy! While we generally think of cats and dogs as mortal enemies, it’s no secret that they can be best friends under the right circumstances. And judging from this video, it looks like Ponzu (the dog) and Wasabi-chan (the kitty) were close companions!

Wait, were close companions? Sadly, yes.

For those of you not familiar with Wasabi-chan, it’s a truly heart-breaking story. On May 2, 2013, a Hokkaido resident found a kitten on the side of the road, badly wounded after being attacked by crows. The man’s wife did much of the work taking care of the kitten and nursed her back to health. They also decided to share the adorable kitty with the world, posting numerous photos on Twitter. As you might expect of cute pictures of cats on Twitter, Wasabi-chan became a bit of a hit–and the kitten’s popularity exploded when photos of it in special “clothing” appeared.

▼You are free to squeal uncontrollably now.


▼Seriously, don’t even pretend to try to hold it in.


Apparently a few people misunderstood why Wasabi-chan was being dressed in these costumes and mistook it for animal abuse. While we always appreciate people taking the comfort of animals into consideration, the concern was misplaced in this instance. It turns out that part of caring for Wasabi-chan involved feeding her with a catheter–which the kitten obviously hated. Heck, we’d hate it too!

In order to ensure smooth feedings, Wasabi-chan’s new owners put her in the costumes to keep her struggling at a minimum. A clever and adorable way to solve a problem!

▼We’re guessing just letting her lick food off a finger isn’t quite as efficient.

All was looking well for the tiny kitten. She was gaining weight, had a caring “mother” and “father,” and had made friends with the family dog Ponzu. Unfortunately, 86 days after being found on the side of the road, Wasabi-chan started vomiting and had to be taken to the vet. The next day, she died, apparently from epilepsy.

As you can imagine, everyone from her new owners to her many Twitter fans were distraught by the loss. Heck, it’s been almost a year since this all happened and we’re distraught just thinking about it again.

▼Here’s a video of Ponzu being “attacked” by dog biscuits to ease your heart.

While it would have been easy for anyone to simply slip into despair at this point, Wasabi-chan’s owners got a sort of second chance. After spending 87 days taking care of the adorable kitten, her “mother” was practically an expert on raising sick and abandoned cats. It’s not exactly something anyone wants to be good at it–but it turns out it’s a valuable skill. Shortly after Wasabi-chan’s passing, the couple was contacted by  someone in the neighborhood–a litter of kittens had been birthed by a stray cat and there was no one to look after them. If the kittens were taken to the pound, they were sure to be “disposed of” that day. Without hesitating, Wasabi-chan’s mother took in the kittens and set about finding foster homes for them.

After housing four of the kittens, Wasabi-chan’s “parents” decided to take in the last one, a tiny striped cat they named Ichimi-chan.

▼So much cute, your chest just might explode.

Though the newest family member was smaller than Wasaib-chan had been, Ichimi-chan has grown quickly. Roughly a year later, the tiny ball of fur from the video above now looks like this!

▼Ichimi is great with pictures–she apparently never blinks!

Though Wasabi-chan’s life was tragically short, she ended up teaching her foster parents a lot about the importance of taking care of strays and never giving up on family–no matter how many legs they have! Hoping to inspire others to take up the cause of caring for abandoned and stray animals, they’ve release three photo books already, two about Wasabi-chan and one about Ichimi-chan. You can purchase one of the books from Amazon in the United States and all three from Amazon in Japan.

You can also see more photos of cats the family has taken in on their Instagram and Twitter pages. Finally, if you’re looking for a pet, we’d like to encourage you to consider rescuing an animal in need.

Sources: YouPouch, Dime, Zaeega, AmazonTwitter
Images: Twitter (1, 2, 3), YouTube