20 Times Kate Middleton Was Basically Dr. Dolittle

20 Times Kate Middleton Was Basically Dr. Dolittle
Image: Samir Hussein/Pool/WireImage/Getty

kate middleton feeding a baby elephant
Samir Hussein/Pool/WireImage/Getty

Some people love animals. But Kate Middleton? She is on another level. The Duchess of Cambridge goes bananas every time she encounters a furry creature, whether it's while on duty during an official outing, or in her personal life. 

She's been photographed time and again, melting over a particularly cute or active puppy, and reaching out her hands to pet all kinds of critters. And judging from the pictures, the feeling is mutual. 

More than one dog, koala, or even rhinoceros that Kate has encountered has melted right back when she's nuzzled or scratched behind its ears, and others have even snoozed right on her chest. It's probably because she's so enthusiastic around them (and is always flashing her trademark million-watt smile), but whatever the reason, animals take to Kate right away.

Kate's love of animals is to be expected. After all, she grew up in the countryside, and had plenty of pets as a kid, including Tilly, a golden retriever that made a special appearance on Kate and William's first family picture with a baby Prince George, and a pair of hamsters named Salt and Pepper. The couple also have a black English cocker spaniel named Lupo, a gift to Kate from her brother James. She's of course passed the tradition of taking care of animals to her kids, who have a hamster named Marvin. 

When it comes to handling animals, Kate's an absolute natural. After one visit to a farm that hosts week-long visits for city kids, a staffer gushed about how she personally handled pigs while helping kids corral them (sadly, there are no pictures of this moment! Believe us, we tried!). And she once talked about the five chickens she and her kids are raising at their Norfolk home of Anmer Hall, proudly mentioning that she'd "cleaned a few chicken coops in her time." 

That willingness to get grimy -- and her love of animals -- has not only helped Kate bring attention to important animal welfare issues, but basically made her a royal Dr. Dolittle that animals love. Here are 20 times that Kate won over animals, and they loved her for it.

  • I See Ya!

    kate middleton with a koala
    Don Arnold/WireImage/Getty

    Sorry William, looks like Kate made another love connection! She and this impossibly cute koala definitely had a moment of mutual admiration when they met in Sydney. With Australia recovering from the recent devastating bushfires, Kate and William are set to make an upcoming official visit to boost tourism.

  • What's Up, Girl?

    kate middleton meets an alpaca in northern ireland
    Chris Jackon/Getty

    Kate seemed to be having a deep conversation with this reddish brown alpaca during a visit to a farm in Northern Ireland in February. Were they trading secrets on fighting frizz? Is Kate advising it to try her famous Chelsea blowout? Hmm. One subject we're pretty sure Kate avoided: her love of alpaca hats and coats!

  • Wrapped Around Her Fingers

    kate middleton holds a yellow snake
    Chris Jackson/Getty
    On the same visit, Kate also met a yellow snake. While lots of people are terrified of slithering,  hissing, forked-tongue-flicking creatures (we're raising our hands furiously over here!), Kate looked as if she's been handling reptiles all her life. Very Impressive!  
  • Sniff Test: Passed!

    kate middleton petting a rescue dog
    Victoria Jones/Pool/AFP via Getty
    Rescue dogs that are trained to respond to national emergencies like fires and terrorist attacks are usually pretty stoic. But this one? Looks like it already sniffed Kate (she probably smells like flowers and extreme confidence!), and decided she was one of the good guys. Good call, boy!
  • Play Ball!

    kate middleton with a bomb dog in pakistan
    Chris Jackson/Getty
    Speaking of working dogs, Kate met this cutie, trained to sniff out explosives, while on a tour of an army canine center in Pakistan. But work was not on its mind as the two looked like they were having the time of their lives playing with a tennis ball. As the most fit royal by far, Kate takes every opportunity to keep herself and others -- even animals -- active. 
  • Fed Is Best

    kate middleton helping feed a lamb
    Chris Jackson/Getty
    If there's someone who knows all about the importance of being nurturing, it's Kate, who grew up in a super close and loving family and is by all accounts a great mom as well as a great pet owner. While at The Ark Open Farm in Northern Ireland, Kate helped some kids feed a little lamb. Such a sweet scene.
  • Nice To Meet Ya

    kate middleton with pakistani soldiers and dog
    Samir Hussein/WireImage/Getty

    That's one polite pup! At the Pakistani army canine training center, another of the dogs actually got up on his hind legs to say hi, then shook hands with Kate! Now, tell the truth, guys: How many times did ya practice that move in the weeks before Kate arrived? Or was the dog just super psyched about getting some attention from Kate?

  • Can We Say Baa?

    kate middleton shearing a sheep
    Owen Humphreys/WPA Pool/Getty

    Not one to shy away from being hands-on, Kate took a turn shearing a sheep at a farm in 2019, and she looks like she had a ball doing it. Look at how calm the sheep is. The process of shaving the animals down is not painful for them but it looks like Kate had a particularly gentle touch.

  • Nice Outfit. Thanks, Right Back At Ya!

    kate middleton with irish wolfhound
    Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty
    This gentle giant, an Irish wolfhound named Domhnall, is the mascot for the Irish Guard, a regiment within the British Army. In 2019, Kate presented him with a sprig of shamrock -- and a loving caress -- during a St. Patrick's Day Parade. It was a truly unforgettable moment.
  • Fancy a Walk?

    kate middleton petting two dogs
    Andy Commins/WPA Pool/Getty
    Kate and dogs are like cornflakes and milk. They go together! The duchess met these gorgeous dogs at a town market while on an official trip, and she couldn't resist giving the pups' long, luxurious hair a nice rub down. They look happy to get the royal treatment from the duchess!
  • Pals Forever

    kate middleton with her black dog lupo
    Mark Cuthbert/UK Press/Getty

    After her 2011 wedding, Kate's brother gave her a black English cocker spaniel. Lupo, as she named him, kept her company while William was away to the Falkland Islands for six weeks. He's been with her since, whether posing in family pictures or running around the grass at polo matches. He rarely leaves Kate's side.

  • Call of the Wild

    kate middleton feeding a baby rhino in india
    Samir Hussein/Pool/WireImage/Getty

    Listen, rhinoceroses are some of the most ornery animals of the wild. So we wouldn't be lining up to get near one. Kate, on the other hand? Sign her right up. On a trip to a wildlife rehabilitation and conservation park in India, she not only fed a baby rhino, but actually petted it. Seriously, she showed a lot of compassion in doing so. The baby was brought to the park after its horn was sawed off and likely sold on the black market, an illegal practice.

  • Tilly Time

    kate middleton running with dogs tilly and lupo
    Zed Jameson/Flynetpictures.com/SplashNews

    The Middleton family's golden retriever, Tilly, became famous after she made an appearance in Kate and William's first Christmas portrait, featuring a baby Prince George and the couple's dog, Lupo. Kate and Tilly, seen above going for a run with Lupo at the Middletons' home, seem to have a special relationship. In the early days of her marriage, Kate would often bring Tilly home with her to hang out.

  • A Whole Lotta Love

    kate middleton with a giraffe in sydney
    Hugh Peterswald/Getty

    Kate rarely engages in public displays of affection with William, but PDA with an animal? Bring it on, big boy! The duchess had very close encounter with one eager-to-kiss giraffe while visiting Sydney's Taronga Zoo while on tour in 2014. It likely wasn't the first time that Kate saw a giraffe in person. After all, she and William got engaged while on safari.   

  • George, Meet George

    kate middleton, prince william, prince george with a bilby
    Chris Jackson/Getty

    Poor William! He's trying to hang out with this bilby, an adorable marsupial native to Australia, by offering him some water. But Kate knows she's got the better lure: Baby George, who was on his first official trip with his parents, and who inspired the zoo to name the rabbit-like animal after him.

  • In the Palm of Her Hand

    kate middleton and prince william with a tree kangaroo
    Pool/Samir Hussein/WireImage/Getty

    Even Kate is astonished that this beautifully colored tree kangaroo, one of the animals she met while at Sydney's Taronga Zoo, ate from her hand. We're not surprised, although the cute animal looks like he's pretty shy. Kate seems to have the same touch with animals that she does with kids. They seem to love her!

  • Don't Forget About Me!

    kate middleton feeding a baby elephant in india
    Samir Hussein/Pool/WireImage/Getty

    Kate met lots of different animals during her visit to Centre for Wildlife Rehabilitation and Conservation at Kaziranga National Park in India. One of them was a baby elephant that she took the time to feed. Poachers kill elephants for their tusks, and the problem is so bad, that in some areas, baby elephants are being born without tusks, an evolutionary response. Good on Kate for bringing attention to this issue.

  • Face to Face

    kate middleton with a black horse
    Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty

    For years there has been a rumor that Kate is allergic to horses, which is why she's rarely photographed with one. But given that she recently started learning to ride, the rumor is either false, or she got some great meds to help her cope. Either way, let this photo -- taken during an official visit to a farm that hosts city kids for a week in the country -- be proof that not only does Kate come near horses, but she seems to have a genuine connection with the strong and beautiful creatures.

  • The Cat's Meow

    kate middleton petting bob the cat at a movie premiere
    Richard Pohle/WPA Pool/Getty

    Cats are so hard to read -- and hard to impress. This one, Bob the Cat, starred in his own movie, whose premiere Kate attended (in a stunning white dress by Self Portrait, btw!). He seems to be taking her caresses in stride, and is not overly impressed that he's being petted by royalty. Then again, he's a cat at a movie premiere red carpet, so he's probably really appreciative, but also really ready for a nap. Kate's expression says she remains hopeful that he'll love her like other animals do.

  • Snuggle Time

    kate middleton puppy
    Samir Hussein/WireImage/Getty

    It was just supposed to be a meet and greet at an the Royal New Zealand Police College. But this is Kate Middleton we're talking about, so picking up a puppy and future K-9 officer was an absolute must. But the pudgy little cute wasn't content simply to be scratched and caressed. He buried his face in Kate's jacket and dozed off, proving animals are just naturally drawn to her. 

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