Endangered Sand Cats Now Can be Seen at Cincinnati Zoo


cute sand cat kittens wild feline pic

Sand cats are one of the smallest wild cats in the world. They are also an endangered species. Though big wild cats usually are seen at the zoo, the Cincinnati Zoo has been the most recognizable zoo in the US that shows and breeds Sand cats.

Sand cats are very adorable. They are smaller than the domestic cats (an adult Sand cat weighs about 6 pounds on average), but they have several characteristics that make them a terrible choice for a pet. The Sand cat is a very shy wild cat that likes to hide in their cave during the day and comes out to hunt at night. They are nocturnal and prey mostly on rodents, insect and other small critters.

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The Norwegian Forest Cat


cute norwegian forest kitten cat pic

The Norwegian Forest Cat has a beautiful, thick, luxurious, water-proof double layered coat. They are fluffy from tip to toe with tufts of hair around the ears and in between their toes. Their tail is bushy like a huge brush. They use it to wrap around them when they sleep to prevent getting cold from the weather.

It is said that these long haired cats explored the world with the Vikings, working as mousers for the grain stores. Domestic breeding of the Norwegian Forest Cat started in 1930 by farmers in Scandinavia. They were named Skogkatt which means forest cat in Norse.

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The Margay Best Tree Climber Wild Cat


The Margay, a beautiful spotted cat originated from Central and South America, loves to roam in rainforests. They look very similar to their relative, Ocelot. However, they are perhaps the most adept feline tree climbers in the world.

The Margay is a small wild cat that hunts at night [Sand Cat also hunts at night] and lives a solitary life. It can weight from 6 to 20 lbs (2 – 9kg) with a tail that is about the same length of its body. The Margays have many physical traits that make them the perfect tree climbers. Their long legs, lengthy tail and flexible joints give them the advantage to move swiftly and effortlessly in the trees. They almost always stay in the trees because it creates a safe ground for them from all the predators. They can leap from branches to branches with their tail that does wonders in balancing. They can even hang themselves upside down like a primate with just their hind legs. The Margays are the only felines that can turn their ankles 180 degrees outwards, so they can flexibly harness themselves with 2 feet while using their front legs to reach out for food.

(Click the video below to meet a beautiful Margay)

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Pallas Cat


Flickr: Tambako the Jaguar

Pallas’ cats are one of the smallest wild cats (also see Sand Cats), but they are perhaps the most fluffy of all felines . Originating from Central Asia – parts of China and Mongolia where the temperature can go down to negative 40 degrees. Pallas’ cats are equipped with an extremely thick layered coat for them to handle any treacherous weather conditions. These furry creatures may look plump and large in size, they weigh similar to an average house cat. Their stocky figure is mostly due to their thick fur, not fat.

(Play the videos below to meet a few gorgeous Pallas cats)

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Sand Cat a Small Wild Cat


sand cat

Sand Cat

Sand cats (Felis margarita) may look like domesticated cats because of their small size, but they are wild felines that live a solitary life. Sand cats are very small. An adult Sand cat weighs an average of 6 lbs (2.7 kg). They are unlike their wild cousins Lynxes or Bobcats that have their own territories, but Sand cats live in similar areas as some big cats.

Sand cats obtained their name from the natural habitat they reside in. They are accustomed to an arid climate such as deserts. In order to escape the desert heat, Sand cats often take turns to burrow and dig into the sand and create their own little sanctuary. Sand cats feed on mainly insects, rodents, lizards or other small critters found on the desert. There is little water source in where they live, thus they primarily hydrate themselves with fluid from their prey.

Sand cats have a round face and a set of large ears. The ears are wide open and spaced, so they can capture even the quietest foot steps or tip toes made by desert insects, rodents or lizards.

Sand cats are nocturnal animals that are extremely shy. They like to hide into an enclosed area during the day and come out at night to prey. They can live about 13 years in captivity.

Video: What’s a Sand cat?

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The Small Cat Breeds


The domestic cat is a predatory animal. They hunt mice and rats and will kill snakes. There are many breeds of house cats and even “small breeds.” Different breeds can be pinpointed by their appearance, vocalizations, body language, being more or less playful, and eating habits. The small cats are also called lap cats or teacups.

The weight difference in a normal size cat and a small cat is that medium to large house cats weigh from 10 pounds and up. While the biggest small cat weighs 7 pounds. Teacups cats are an even smaller version of the miniatures. The miniatures are around a third to half of the size of the standard cat of a specific breed.

Cornish Rex

The Cornish Rex weighs from 5 to 7 pounds (male) and from 3 to 5 pounds (female). Their ears are high and erect and their eyebrows and whiskers are crinkled. It has a small head and high cheekbones. Their fur is downy and they need a dry environment and survive best indoors. Being outside in cold weather could easily cause hypothermia. Their colors are white, black, tortoiseshell, tabby, dilutes blue, orange, lilac and cream.

Cornish Rexes are also called “greyhound cats” because they are sleek and they run in a gallop. They are social cats, very vocal, and their body looks very curved. The Cornish Rex keeps its kitten like playfulness and is affectionate. It is a smart, problem solving cat. It likes playing with people and animals. They are high energy felines that were bred in Cornwall, England from a male cat that was distinctly different from his litter that was born in a barn in 1950. Breeders recognized the potential to refine and standardize a new bred of cat.

Skookum

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The Manx Cat


There are a few breeds that have short tails or even no tail. One of them is called the Manx.

The Manx originated from the Isle of Man in the 1700s. The natives believe that the Manx came from the Far East long time ago. According to legend, the cats went on a Spanish ship named Armada. When it was near the Isle of Man, the cats escaped from the ship and swam ashore where they found new settlement on the island.

The cause of their tail-less feature has to do with a naturally occurring mutation. In terms of breeding, mating two tail-less cats together can be fatal to the kittens. Most of kittens born with two tail-less parents would not survive due to a list of severe health problems as a result to their spinal cord damage. However, this can be avoided if breeders do not combine two tail-less Manxes together.

There are many legends that go about explaining why Manxes do not have tail. One of them is about Noah’s ark. A Manx was distracted playing outside, and almost forgot to get on the ark. When Noah was closing the door of the ark because the rain started pouring down, the cat realized he was not in the boat yet, so dashing back to the ark. Most of his body made it inside except his tail that was cut off by the door.

The Manx has longer hind legs than front legs. Their ears are generally smaller than other breeds and their heads are round.

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