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African Wild Cat Kittens….

By Kings Camp Team on September 4, 2010

On 27 June 2010 Masai & Sirocc were born…

…now they are are 9 weeks old. We got them at just over 4 weeks old from a neighbouring reserve that was looking for homes for them. They are so loveable and have been very entertaining keeping our guests and the staff busy for hours on end. We will keep you posted on their progress.

MasaiSirocc
Little MasaiSirocc and Masai playing

Just a little bit of info on the African Wild Cat:African Wild Cats (Felis Lybica) are nocturnal animals but occasionally we are lucky enough to see them late afternoon or early morning. They are usually a light sandy brown or light grey colour with black or grey stripes and they tend to have a reddish colour on the back or their ears. The sounds they make are almost identical to that of a house cat, purring when they are content, mewing when they want physical contact (or food), and hissing and spitting when they are in conflict.

The average male (Tom) cat weighs around 3.8 – 6.4 KGs and reach a length of about 90cm, whilst the average female (Molly, or Queen when pregnant or nursing) cat weighs around 2.6 – 5.5 KGs and also reach a length of about 90cm. Gestation lasts about 8 weeks and they usually give birth to a litter of 2-5 kittens. The kittens are born blind and rely totally on the mother for care and protection

They tend to be solitary animals and are usually only together when mating or when a Queen is still nursing her kittens. Kittens generally stay with their mother in the wild for between 4 – 6 months, and reach sexual maturity at about 12 months.

Their natural diet consists of small rodents like rats and mice, some insects, frogs, lizards and sometimes snakes. They have also been known to hunt larger prey such as Rock Hyrax (dassies), scrub hare, and the babies of smaller antelope like the steenbok.

It is believed that the Ancient Egyptians started to domesticate the African Wild Cats as far back as 4000 BC to help control the rodents in their granaries. Cats were considered sacred and it was a capitol offence to harm them. At Beni Hasan, an archeological site in Egypt, more than 300 000 mummified cats were found.

REFERENCES:
MornΓ© Hamlyn – Field Guide
Beat About The Bush Mammals by Trevor Carnaby
Wild Ways by Peter Apps
http://wysinger.homestead.com/cats.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/African_Wildcat

13 thoughts on “African Wild Cat Kittens….

  1. Oh Melissa, they are toooo cute! wish I could be there!

    Thanks for sharing.

    Kindest regards,

    Moira.

    ps…my house-cat weighs 9kg…so one of these on my lap would be a treat!

  2. Well gee whiz! How come we did not see them when we were at KC last weeek? The grey one looks like my elder cat (19yrs old) when she was young. Still reviewing pictures to post. So cute!!!!!

    Joy

  3. Moira – Will let you know how much they weigh on their next visit to the Vet.

    Brendon – Thanks for your comment.

    Laura – You will have to visit us here to cuddle them, much too cold in Canada for them to visit you…

    Joy – Masai was with me in Joburg when you were here for your visit, not sure how you missed Sirocc? as he was in the office here with Tristan.

    Drew – Their mother is fine, she still lives at one of the lodges in Kapama.

  4. they are darling. thanks for sharing. Say "hi" to Toni, Sherrie and Judy from Houston (friends of Camp Run-a-Muck). They should be with Morné today or tomorrow.

    Anne

    Camp Director

  5. Melissa, Oh for Pete’s sake, I must have been in another world (mentally). I saw Siroccoe in the office, picked him up and cluddled him. Needless to say, Tristan took very good care of him. For some reason I was thinking, "domestic feral cats"…And I thought, how in the world could a domestic feline go feral in a game perserve and survive! (We have a species of cat in California that is also called a wild cat…larger than a domestic cat, with tufted ears, usuallly gray tabby markings and larger than our house kitties.) Anyway, Siroccoe is adorable. πŸ™‚

    Joy

  6. Hi Melissa,

    We were lucky enough to be there when you first got them, still can’t get over the fact that we got tocuddle an African Wildcat kitten! So glad you’ve put them on the blog, we are looking forward to following their development until we return next year.

    Melissa. Morné, Warren and Lisha – enjoy your trip to good old blighty in November!

    Love to everybody

    Lynda & Phil

    Love to everybody

  7. Hi Melissa,

    That is so cool that you are caring for them! I have always wanted to photograph African wildcats in the wild, but have only seen them at night (too dark). Are they cross-bred with domesticated cats or the real thing?

    Cheers,

    Todd

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