Steve is a New Zealand cat who counts his owners flock of sheep among his closest friends.

By Alex Heigl
Updated October 03, 2016 02:06 PM

Steve the cat used to be an indoor cat. Then everything changed.

Steve the cat’s owners, Amanda Whitlock and her partner Ben live at Ngamatapouri, near Waitotara in South Taranaki, New Zealand (I swear I didn’t make any of that up), and like many New Zealanders, they’ve got some sheep running around.

“They stay inside for about three nights or so just to keep warm,” Whitlock told the New Zealand Herald. Steve, at only eight months old, had spent his life as an indoor cat, and took a shine to his new friends.

“He’d just sort of get used to them and spend time with them inside and then the lambs move outside and we started noticing Steve wasn’t inside any more and we’re like ‘where’s Steve?,'” Whitlock said.

“So we’d have a look out the window and he was just out there interacting with them … He’s sort of almost like their leader. He’ll just be walking around the yard and they’ll be following him. Or he’ll be playing in the bushes and they’ll be inquisitive, looking to see what he’s doing and following him through the bushes.”

Whitlock snapped some photos of Steve and his flock and submitted them the Wanganui Chronicle, at which point his story started to spread.

“It’s gone pretty viral on the internet. It made the front page of the Wanganui Chronicle and shared hundreds of times since then and thousands of likes,” Whitlock said.

Never underestimate the power of interspecies friendship, Amanda. Or cats in general.