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Putin Cuddles Cat After Obama Meets Dog, Setting Off Cold War-Style Pet Race

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Last updated on September 4, 2015, at 12:33 p.m. ET

Posted on September 4, 2015, at 12:33 p.m. ET

Russian President Vladimir Putin took time out from his busy schedule diving to the bottom of the sea and meeting Steven Seagal to pet a cat while in the Siberian region of Khakasia on Friday.

RIA Novosti / Reuters

Kremlinologists noted the appearance with the cat — who did not respond to BuzzFeed News' request for comment — was a marked shift in pet policy for Putin, who has previously only appeared with larger felines like tigers and this leopard.

AFP / Getty Images

In fact, Putin owns several dogs, and enjoys frolicking with them in the snow.

AFP / Getty Images

Koni, his beloved black labrador, is even allowed to wander in on official meetings — once famously earning the ire of Angela Merkel, who is scared of dogs.

Reuters
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So what could this shift mean? Why now? What could be behind Putin's sudden embrace of cats? ...But wait. What's this?

Mandel Ngan / AFP / Getty Images

Could it be that Putin's feline fete was inspired by U.S. President Barack Obama, recently returned from his own Putin-esque wilderness adventure in Alaska, petting these Iditarod puppies only a day earlier?

Jonathan Ernst / Reuters

We wholeheartedly believe that to be the case. This is what the new Cold War will be, people. Look upon it and despair.

Mandel Ngan / AFP/Getty Images
Ria Novosti / Reuters
  • Picture of Max Seddon

    Max Seddon is a correspondent for BuzzFeed World based in Berlin. He has reported from Russia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan and across the ex-Soviet Union and Europe. His secure PGP fingerprint is 6642 80FB 4059 E3F7 BEBE 94A5 242A E424 92E0 7B71

    Contact Max Seddon at max.seddon@buzzfeed.com.

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