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. 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.
Black-footed cats, which are classified as vulnerable on The International Union for Conservation of Nature's Red List of Threatened Species, is the smallest of the African felines. Guests visiting Brookfield Zoo can see the kitten's parents, Cleo and Butch, on exhibit in The Fragile Desert. For the immediate future, the kitten will be off exhibit.
Music: "Porch Swing Days - Faster 1" Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)