The world's smallest and rarest species of cat have been born at an animal sanctuary in Lanreath, Cornwall. The cats only measure 13 inches to 19 inches in body length and are no longer bigger than the mice when they are born.
They are part of the Rusty Spotted Cat Conservation Breeding Programme in the sanctuary. As of now, the staff at the Porfell Wildlife Park do not know the genders of the eight-week-old pair of cats yet.
A pair of the smallest and rarest felines of the world
For the first time, one of the adorable rusty-spotted cats was found snuggling up to its protective mother at Porfell Wildlife Park located near the village of Lanreath. Staff are delighted to have the chance to protect and raising these feline species.
A spokesman from Porfell Wildlife Park said that they had the opportunity to take in a pair of rusty-spotted cats last summer. They put the cats in an enclosure, and they were very excited to have something so rare in the sanctuary.
Approximately, there are only around 50 of this species being kept in captivity across the world, which is why the cat species are considered so rare, MailOnline reported.
The pair that the sanctuary has actually came from the Feral- Wild Animal Project run by Todd Dalton and is part of a breeding program in hopes of increasing their number. The cubs are coming up to eight weeks old now and have been well looked after by the mother cat.
But they are still unsure of the gender of the cubs as the mother cat is so protective and does not let the caretakers too near. The cubs are just recently spotted out of their den and seem to grow more curious each day. Both of them seem to be very healthy and have started to show a little bit of their personalities.
The cubs have become a source of joy to the sanctuary's very small team during the time of uncertainty, and they have managed to put a smile on the staff's faces each morning. However, the pandemic has left the sanctuary facing financial problems and are now appealing for help through their GoFundMe page.
Just 14 inches long and weighs less than an egg
Very little is known about the rusty-spotted cats, aside from they are the smallest wild cat species in the world. They have bodies that are smaller than a domestic cat and are covered by a soft, spotted gray and reddish-brown fur.
These rare feline species are typically found in India, Sri Lanka, and some parts of Nepal. Several rusty-spotted cats have been found living in abandoned houses in Southern India, and some mothers have also been found creating shelters in a tea plantation located in Sri Lanka.
Experts noted that these animals are believed to be nocturnal, and their diet mainly consists of small animals, like rodents and frogs. They typically give birth to a litter of one to three kittens, and their newborns only weigh less than an egg, but they are born without the distinctive spotting.
The markings on their bodies are often mistaken for cubs of the leopard and are hunted for their meat and skin. But the biggest threat to the species is deforestation, like most of the animals.