These unique and unusual Ukrainian cats and dogs capture the special relationship between Ukraine's people and their pets in good times and bad.
1) Does Your Cat Barik?
Say “pryvit!” ("Hi!") to Barik, a shaggy-as-a-bear barn cat from the village of Berezhnytsya in Western Ukraine's Ivano-Frankivsk oblast.
Golden-eyed Barik is a gentle giant but we'd advise you not to invade his space and make him angry. You wouldn't like him when he's angry. (images at top and above via Juanedc)
2) Comic Con Canine
Yes indeed, they host Comic Con conventions in Ukraine and everyone – and their dog – is welcome. The photo above was snapped at the inaugural CCU that took place in Kyiv on September 22 and 23 of 2018 – over 20,000 visitors attended the event.
One hopes this pensive pooch will attend the upcoming CCU scheduled for September 3-4 of 2022... weather, pandemic and war permitting. (image via Read Me)
3) Camo Cat
Just another balcony in the Balkans? Just between geraniums, we think not! This calm, cool and collected kitty may resemble a potted plant but word on the street below is that it's the life of the party.
Note those wee paws for, one presumes, station identification. Best to keep that in mind next time you're passing through Ivano-Frankivsk – white balcony cat is watching you! (image via Harmakdon)
4) Ice River Challenge
Kudos to the cameraman for focusing on the cute dog in the foreground instead of the cute girls in the background – he must've had an epiphany or something.
Double-kudos (and hot towels) for all involved: the date of the photo is January 11 and those girls are “making their way back to shore after bathing in the frozen Dnepr river on Epiphany in Dnepropetrovsk.” Ukrainians (and their pets) are hardcore! (image via Peter Haden)
5) Let Them Eat Honey Cake
Not only are sunflowers Ukraine's national flower, the brilliant yellow blooms have also become a symbol of the nation's resistance to foreign invasion. As for the Kyivan kitty above, it just wants to catch a few zzz's in the shadow of a stack of Medovik honey cake boxes.
Or, maybe it's just guarding them from unauthorized usurpers, as one does. Mmm, Medovik honey cake... (image via Sasha India)
6) Sniff Test
Would you pet this pet? The photographer captured this “young boy who is perhaps the bravest of the pack” of strays living in an abandoned house in Kyiv. The cameraman does his best to feed the strays, which “also let me get closer to the dogs since they are very weary of humans.”
He probably meant to say “wary” but given the course of recent events in Ukraine, “weary” works just as well. (image via Ivan Bandura)
7) Pillow Talk Rock
Pets do indeed rock – a sentiment that rings true whether you're in Odessa, Texas or Odessa, Ukraine. The latter is where you'll find the hardcore kitty above, resting its furry noggin on an “extra-firm” pillow.
Good to know that one way or another, Ukrainian cats are getting the rock-steady support they need to get through these troubled times. (image via Yevgeniy Shpika)
8) Husky Pup
Meet “Jumbo the Malamute” and... whoa, that dog's bigger than a house! Wait, hold on, it's just forced perspective – Jumbo may be big but he's not THAT big.
Even so, when chill winter winds whip snow and sleet through Western Carpathian mountain passes you'll want a big fluffy Siberian – scratch that, Ukrainian Husky close by to remind you of better and warmer days to come. (image via Sergii Gulenok)
9) Gremlins Rebooted
Living rough on the streets is no way to go through life, Scruff... yes, “Scruff”, who according to the photographer is one of the Cats of Lubomi (or Liuboml), a small town in northwestern Ukraine. No doubt Scruff would look a lot less umm, scruffy after he gets a warm bath and shampoo but who's brave (or stupid) enough to make the attempt?
Ol' Scruff might not be the kawaii-est of kittehs but we bet he can hang with the big dogs and come out on top. Sheesh, we're getting frightened (and a little freaked out) just looking at him! (image via Andrew)
10) Hot Dog
You say “Ukraine”, we say... Chernobyl! Until very recently, that particular nuclear catastrophe has been Ukraine's claim to fame (or infamy, to be more exact). Animals and abandoned pets don't know anything about that, of course, but countless numbers were affected nonetheless.
Take the feral dog above, snapped while wandering down a road in the radioactive exclusion zone. Actually, DON'T take it – that pup's so hot it could have super powers, and so could its fleas. (image via stahlmandesign)