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Friday, February 19, 2010

Weekly Dose of Cute: Serval Kitten


See? Cartoon cute.

It may be easy to put a kitten up as the weekly dose of cute, but look at him - he may be the cutest kitten ever. Cuter, perhaps, than even that little ocelot kitten, which, until now, has earned the title of cutest kitten ever. I mean, look at him! His eyes are cartoon adorable. I didn't know cat eyes could actually look like Puss N Boots! How could I resist showcasing this unbelievable exhibition of pure cuteness?

Anyhow, this six-week-old cutest kitten competitor was born at Australia's Adelaide Zoo (there are actually three of them!). Servals (Leptailurus serval) are medium-sized cats originally from Africa. They are opportunistic feeders that will eat whatever they can catch, which is quite a bit since they are agile, fast and smart predators. DNA analysis suggests that they descended from the same ancestor as lions, and perhaps gave rise to cheetahs. Because they're smaller than their cousins, that have made their way not only into the zoo industry but also the pet industry. To get around regulations about owing a wild animal, exotic breeders have interbred servals with with domesticated cats to produce a mixed breed called a Savannah, which looks like a serval but tends to be smaller. In most states, the offspring of a domestic animal and a wild animal is considered a domestic animal, so Savannahs aren't illegal to own, though they are quite expensive and are much more difficult to take care of than a regular house cat.

(H/T Zooborns, again.)