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It poked its tiny head and looked out from the den.
August 14, 2012 2:42 PM   Subscribe

Zoo workers at the Ramat Gan Safari Park in Tel Aviv said they were surprised by the number of kittens born.

The sand cat (felis margarita) has been listed as Near Threatened by IUCN due to concern over potential low population size and decline...[and] lives in arid areas that are too hot and dry even for the African Wildcat: the Sahara, the Arabian Desert, and the deserts of Iran and Pakistan.

Also, they are cute. (This link is curiously dated August 2011, though the news items just appeared today.)

Slideshow (4 images)
posted by obscurator (49 comments total) 30 users marked this as a favorite

 
As an animal lover, I've always appreciated that folks like cute animals on the Internet but it's never been my thing. But now I finally get it. It's like the secret organ that makes people on the Internet like cute animals has been vestigial all this time but has decided to kick in and be useful or something.

What I mean is:

OH MY GOD -- I'M DYING OF CUTE.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 2:49 PM on August 14, 2012 [22 favorites]


Re the zooborns link - the video in the "surprised by the number of kittens born" link says that the mother cat had her first kitten (or litter?) last year. Maybe the zooborn link refers to 2011's litter of rare kittehs?

Also, eeeeeeeeeee teh kewt.
posted by Sara C. at 2:56 PM on August 14, 2012


Aw, they're a little foxlike with their broad, flat heads and big ears.
posted by heyho at 2:57 PM on August 14, 2012


OMG -- foxes and kitties got up to some mischief, didn't they?
posted by maudlin at 2:58 PM on August 14, 2012 [2 favorites]




They are the missing link between foxes and housecats, aren't they?
posted by Sara C. at 3:02 PM on August 14, 2012


I like the cut from the Very Serious "International Business Times" logo floating in space above a massive, ponderously rotating globe to an adorable kitten head meowing.
posted by Egg Shen at 3:07 PM on August 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


The August 2011 link is to her first litter (of one). This is her second litter (of four). They are all squeedorable.
posted by Joey Michaels at 3:07 PM on August 14, 2012 [1 favorite]




I never thought before that R2D2 could have gotten up to something with cheetah ancestors, but I think that video just made that plain.
posted by maudlin at 3:13 PM on August 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


I also now understand how people end up trying to domesticate animals that they shouldn't -- because I want a litter myself, and I know that's a bad idea.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 3:15 PM on August 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


My heart just grew three sizes, and now I am suffering severe side effects from the acute cardiomelagy.
posted by Sticherbeast at 3:17 PM on August 14, 2012 [12 favorites]


Sounds like the ZooBorns link is Rotem's first kittten, last year, and that they surprising four just born is her second litter.
posted by maryr at 3:20 PM on August 14, 2012


If you have a few more moments, enjoy Pallas’ cat, Black-footed cat, Iriomote cat, Fishing cat, Jaguarondi, Andean cat, Serval, Caracal, and African golden cat.
posted by Occula at 3:20 PM on August 14, 2012 [8 favorites]


That Big Cat Rescue link is great. 6.6 pounds! That's barely bigger than my underweight fairy-like Siamese, and quite a bit smaller than my still-pretty-teeny tabby.
posted by restless_nomad at 3:24 PM on August 14, 2012


Hooray for sand cats! May they soon populate the dunes of Israel once more.
posted by Kevin Street at 3:26 PM on August 14, 2012 [3 favorites]


Sorry, try this if the jaguarondi link doesn't work.
posted by Occula at 3:27 PM on August 14, 2012


I want ALL THE KITTENS.
posted by rtha at 3:30 PM on August 14, 2012 [14 favorites]


Once again, Tibetan Sand Fox does not know what you are all so excited about.
posted by The Bellman at 3:33 PM on August 14, 2012 [11 favorites]


The idea that the desert could be full of such kitty cuteness is almost too much to bear.
posted by Isadorady at 3:34 PM on August 14, 2012


So many cute wild animals. I've spent hours looking at Sand Cat porn on youtube. I want a black footed cat so bad it makes my uterus hurt. The females weigh less than four pounds full grown! The African Wildcats (ancestors of our domesticated cats, and it shows) are adorable too, which is why it blows my mind that douchebags hunt them for sport.
posted by mullingitover at 3:43 PM on August 14, 2012 [5 favorites]


baby sand cats are the cutest baby cats.

I swear there have been hundreds of pictures of various baby sandies (as I call them) posted over the last 2 years to /r/aww but I never get tired of them.
posted by Ad hominem at 3:46 PM on August 14, 2012


I have to say, from the depths of my despair-blackened heart:

OMG, they have squished little heads! With great big ears!
posted by GenjiandProust at 4:08 PM on August 14, 2012 [6 favorites]


Went to Israel in February. In Israel cats (the regular kind) are the equivalent to our (USians) pigeons. They. Are. Everywhere. We saw them in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and even at the top of Masada. There is no escaping them.
posted by You Guys Like 2 Party? at 4:24 PM on August 14, 2012


Why, hello Baby Cheetah. Would you like some chicken?
posted by Joey Michaels at 4:29 PM on August 14, 2012


Can we have a proper kittens tag as well for those of us ignorant of current day internet culture and who might want to sneak looks at these baby furry things with big eyes?
posted by infini at 4:41 PM on August 14, 2012


An acquaintance of mine insisted on referring to them as "keetoms." I believe eventually someone killed her in self-defense.
posted by restless_nomad at 4:43 PM on August 14, 2012


An acquaintance of mine insisted on referring to them as "keetoms." I believe eventually someone killed her in self-defense.

I used to work in a store next to a pet store. In the window was a huge plexiglass kitten tank. As the weeks would go by, the number of kittens would dwindle. Then, one of the workers would notice that the pet store had topped up the tank, and would come into the store and say loudly "kittums!" Then all the employees and customers would have to pile out onto the sidewalk and look at the kittums. We all survived, somehow.
posted by GenjiandProust at 4:47 PM on August 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


They have stripes like they're trying to be little tigers! Grrrrmeow.
posted by Mojojojo at 4:56 PM on August 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


"Years of rumored extinction" is pretty misleading. Still, adorable.
posted by Uppity Pigeon #2 at 5:04 PM on August 14, 2012


They really are adorable! And I am not going to have any more animals that I own.
posted by Katjusa Roquette at 5:06 PM on August 14, 2012


Wait, THAT's how sand kittens are born?

*dumps out bucket of sand dollars and milk*
posted by orme at 5:11 PM on August 14, 2012 [6 favorites]


Sand kittens?


Dune would have been much cuter.
posted by Kronos_to_Earth at 5:20 PM on August 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


I dunno, Shai-Hairball just doesn't have the same ring to it.
posted by Malor at 5:29 PM on August 14, 2012 [4 favorites]


I dunno, Shai-Hairball just doesn't have the same ring to it.

Paul: What do you call the adorable sand kittens with the oversized ears?
Stilgar: We call that one Meowd'Dib.
Paul: Could I be known as Paul Meowd'Dib?
Stilgar: You are now Paul Meowd'Dib!
posted by juv3nal at 5:40 PM on August 14, 2012 [30 favorites]


I like the stripes on their legs! Mum looks like she's wearing sand cat gym socks in the zooborns link. Very cute, congrats Rotem and Tel Aviv safari park!
posted by jamesonandwater at 5:42 PM on August 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


ROTEM IS A GOOD SAND MAMA
posted by laconic skeuomorph at 5:45 PM on August 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


"Meowd'Dib... my name... is a purring word."
posted by Joey Michaels at 6:16 PM on August 14, 2012 [11 favorites]


Keetums emitting cutons - the International Unit particle of cuteness.
posted by Dreidl at 7:22 PM on August 14, 2012 [5 favorites]


Absolutely adorable, both mom & kits. I'll bet she could kill me if we crossed paths. In the desert. Yep, pretty sure of it. Death by adorable, with kittens taking notes.
posted by wallabear at 8:01 PM on August 14, 2012 [3 favorites]


The little ones' ears bear a striking resemblance to a certain Vorta's I know...
posted by These Birds of a Feather at 9:52 PM on August 14, 2012


FAQ
How does the sand cat survive the desert?


The head is conspicuously broad, and the ears are so widely spaced that they can be flattened horizontally, or even pointed down to aid in hunting.

Long hairs grow between its toes. These create a cushion of fur over the foot pads, helping to insulate them while moving over hot sand. The claws on the hind feet are small and blunt; combined with the fur over the foot pads, this helps to make the animal's tracks obscure and difficult to follow.

The mucosa of their eyelids is a striking black. Accompanying the large ears, the auditory bullae are also unusually large, giving the cat an enhanced sense of hearing, probably helping it to pick up vibrations in the sand.

VERY COOL
posted by TangerineGurl at 9:55 PM on August 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


Oh, the stripes! The widdle bitty stripes!

(Just poked my cat to make her roll over so I could snorgle her belly stripes. She did not oblige. Back to watching sand kittens.)
posted by lollusc at 4:52 AM on August 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


They really are adorable! And I am not going to have any more animals that I own.

Technically, don't you always have exactly as many animals as you own? So you could add several of these kittens to your menagerie without violating your precept.

Keetums emitting cutons - the International Unit particle of cuteness.

These are, of course, the well-know cations, which make up the structure of the plussycat.
posted by GenjiandProust at 6:30 AM on August 15, 2012


Ok, so the litter of one in 2011 was clearly not sufficient, thus Rotem's 'surprising' litter of four this year. The fact that I couldn't parse multiple litters proves:
- I'm not actually a pet owner and
- Kittens should not be used to teach mathematical and fourth-dimensional concepts.
posted by obscurator at 6:44 AM on August 15, 2012


LOOK AT ITS TUFTED EARS
posted by T.D. Strange at 6:49 AM on August 15, 2012


My standard is the millicat.
posted by maryr at 7:52 AM on August 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


Oh my the cute!
posted by gingerbeer at 12:36 PM on August 15, 2012


SQUEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE *gasp* EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE
posted by deborah at 8:12 PM on August 15, 2012


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