Black-Footed Cat

Philly Zoo's First Ever Black-footed Cat Kittens are Thriving!

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Philadelphia Zoo's female Black-footed Cat Aza gave birth to a litter of kittens on April 8, 2014: the first Black-footed Cats ever to be born at the Philadelphia Zoo! Their names are Drogon, Rhaegal, and Viserion. Drogon and Viserion are male and Rhaegal is female.

Before making their debut, the kittens underwent a routine wellness check to make sure they’re healthy. In addition to weighing and sexing them, veterinarians completed full physical examinations of each kitten. They also gave the kittens dye marks so the keepers can tell them apart from a distance. Philly Zoo also baby-proofed the kittens' exhibit ahead of the big debut. They lowered the water level in the exhibit and added climbing structures so they could enter and exit their pool with ease, and before entering their exhibit, they practiced with different amounts of water in their indoor bedroom. They also added another feeding dish so Aza could eat separately from her kittens, and they placed the kennel they had been sleeping in inside the exhibit so they would have some familiar scents. A keeper is present to monitor them throughout the day to make sure they're maneuvering through their habitat well, but as you can see in these photos, they are feeling quite at home already.

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Just last week, the kittens received another checkup, which included vaccinations, reapplication of dye marks and weighing. Their weights now range from 631 to 757 grams (from a little more than 22 oz. to a little less than 27). All three babies are in great health.

These small but mighty cats are terrestrial and crepuscular (active at dusk and dawn). They are not great climbers, but are skilled diggers when looking for insects or creating birthing dens. They have been observed to have several hunting styles that include: fast hunting (running through and over vegetation, flushing out prey), slow hunting (slow, stalking movements- which indicates they are low to the ground in an almost serpentine motion), and finally "sit and wait" hunting (motionless vigilance at a rodent burrow waiting for an animal to come out of their den). All of these methods have proven successful for this cat. On the 2011 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, the Black-footed Cat is listed as Vulnerable.

 


Ferocious! Black-footed Kittens at Cleveland Metroparks Zoo

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Reaching only about 3.5 lbs as adults, Black-footed Cats may be the world's smallest felines. When these two little kittens were born April 2 at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo, they weighed-in at just 7 ounces (200 grams). The kittens' sexes have yet to be determined. They were born to mom, Godiva, and father, Wyatt.

Wyatt is considered a genetically valuable animal whose genes and offspring are an important contribution to the Association of Zoos & Aquariums’ Species Survival Plan for Black-footed Cats. There are about 18 accredited institutions in North America with Black- footed Cats and this is the third litter for Cleveland Metroparks.

Peek a Kitten

Blackfooted Kitten up close and personal

Blackfooted Kitten Looking Ferocious

Black-footed Cats are the smallest of the African cats, with adults reaching about 3.5 pounds when fully grown. Their conservation status is listed as “vulnerable” in the wild. Black-footed Cats are found in the grasslands and savannas of Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe and South Africa. The gestation period is from 63 to 68 days, resulting in a litter of 1-3 kittens. Kittens develop quickly, eating solid food at five weeks and capturing prey at six.

Two Blackfooted Cat Kittens at Cleveland Metroparks Zoo 1Photo credits: Cleveland Metroparks Zoo

 


Brookfield Zoo Black-footed Kitten Bonanza!

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The Chicago Zoological Society, which manages Brookfield Zoo, is happy to announce its newest addition, and a first for the zoo: a Black-footed Cat born on February 14.

Although staff are now cautiously optimistic about the kitten’s future, such was not the case in the beginning. Hours after his birth, Animal Programs staff became concerned about the male kitten’s well-being because his 4-year-old mother, Cleo, appeared not to be providing proper maternal care. The kitten was not nursing and his body temperature was alarmingly low. Additionally, he was significantly underweight at birth.

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Photo credits: Jim Schulz/Chicago Zoological Society

 

To ensure that he had a chance for survival, staff quickly decided to intervene and handrear the kitten at the Chicago Zoological Society’s Animal Hospital, where he received round-the-clock care. He was placed in an incubator to increase and maintain his body temperature. Now 6 weeks old and gaining weight, the kitten is being fed a milk formula from a small bottle and is starting to eat solid foods.

The story continues after the jump with more photos...

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Black-footed Cat Kittens!

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Cleveland Metroparks Zoo announces the birth of two Black-footed Cat kittens! The kittens, whose sex have yet to be determined, are healthy and doing well with mom, Godiva. They were born April 17 and currently are on exhibit in the nocturnal animal area of the Zoo’s Primate, Cat and Aquatics building.

The two kittens are the second litter for Godiva, 4, and her male breeding partner, Wyatt, also 4. Godiva’s first litter produced one kitten, a male, who is now part of a breeding pair at the Louisville Zoological Garden.

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Photo credits: Jeanne DeBonis/Cleveland Metroparks Zoo

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Rare Cats Born Through Amazing Science!

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Some adorable newborn kittens at Audubon Center for Research of Endangered Species have no idea just how special they are.  Two African Black-Footed kittens, members of an endangered species rarely seen in captivity, are the first of their kind to be born from a frozen embryo via in-vitro fertilization. This ground-breaking birth is the latest advance in assisted reproduction for endangered species from Audubon Nature Institute in New Orleans.

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Photo credits: Audubon Institute

The youngsters, both males, were born to surrogate mother Bijou on February 13, 2011, but their story goes all the way back to 2003, when sperm was collected from a 6 year old male named Ramses in Omaha, Nebraska. Experts at the Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo Center for Conservation and Research – Reproductive Sciences Department froze the sperm and sent it to Audubon Center for Research of Endangered Species.  It was combined with an egg from Zora, a Black-Footed Cat living at Audubon research center, creating embryos in March, 2005. Those embryos were frozen for almost six years before being thawed and transferred to Bijou on December 7, 2010. Sixty-nine days later, the two kittens became the first of their species to be born as a result of in-vitro fertilization utilizing frozen/thawed sperm and a frozen/thawed embryo.

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