Cats and baby ducks are pretty cute on their own --- but this video of a cat trying to nurse ducklings might just exceed the Internet's viral cuteness metric.
According to Raidió Teilifís Éireann (RTÉ), Ireland's public radio company, this unlikely relationship was discovered after Ronan and Emma Lally, of Clara, Co. Offaly, noticed that three of their newly hatched ducklings had gone missing.
Ronan Lally blamed a neighborhood cat, dubbed "The White Cat," according to RTÉ, but the farmers' outrage turned to astonishment when they discovered the cat had stolen the ducks to nurse, not to eat.
In remarkable video posted on YouTube, the ducks can be seen crowding around the clearly protective mother, apparently trying to copy the feeding kittens.
However, Meredith Turner, a media relations specialist at farm animal rescue organization Farm Sanctuary, told The Huffington Post that while the video is adorable, "ducks absolutely cannot suckle."
Interspecies parenting is not an entirely new concept, of course. Examples of these decidedly nontraditional caregiving relationships include everything from a tiger raising piglets to a chimp bottle-feeding a bay hyena.
National Geographic notes that these types of adoptions happen between domestic animals pretty frequently -- although why they occur is more of a mystery.
"Instinctively animals take care of young to help them survive and therefore pass on the family DNA," author Jenny Holland told the site. "So I think there's some hard wiring in there that leads them to offer care to another animal in need. If it isn't a relative, there maybe some wires crossed, but I think the behavior comes from the same place."