18 Reasons The Sand Cat Is Your New Favorite Animal

You might have gone through life thinking you’re a dog person… but this adorable creature might just have you reThinking that you’re a sand cat person.

1. Oh hey! This is the sand cat. He didn’t see you there…

ID: 2760858

2. …but he’s really excited to meet you!

ID: 2760877

3. In preparation for your visit, he got all cleaned up.

Charles Barilleaux (CC BY 2.0) / Flickr: bontempscharly

Charles Barilleaux (CC BY http://2.0) / Flickr: bontempscharly

ID: 2767732

4. And made sure to get plenty of rest.

Christophe Lehenaff / Getty Images

ID: 2767760

5. Usually you’d find him sunbathing in the desert (the sand cat’s the only feline that lives in a true desert), but today he’s here with you!

Christophe Lehenaff / Getty Images
ID: 2767581

6. The sand cat’s just like a regular cat… but with bigger ears and a broader head. Kind of like if a cat had its caricature drawn.

Tambako The Jaguar (CC BY-ND 2.0) / Flickr: tambako

ID: 2767666

7. They also have these funky black rings on their fur that kind of make it look like they’re wearing a football jersey.

ID: 2767807

8. Their ears might make them seem tall, but sand cats are less then three feet long and only weigh between four and eight pounds.

ID: 2760873

9. In 2002, the IUCN listed the sand cat population as “Near Threatened.”

Mark Dumont (CC BY http://2.0) / Flickr: wcdumonts
ID: 2768212

10. As a result, the Ramat Gan Safari in Tel Aviv, Israel built a sand cat sanctuary as a part of the European Endangered Species Program.

TOM MCHUGH / Getty Images
ID: 2768307

11. Because of their sparse population, the sand cat has adapted a loud mating call that resembles a small dog barking.

ID: 2768234

12. Even so, sand cat litters only produce an average of three itty-bitty sand cats, making it even harder for their numbers to grow.

Nicki (CC BY-ND 2.0) / Flickr: growlroar

Charles Barilleaux (CC BY http://2.0) / Flickr: bontempscharly

ID: 2768270

13. A small step forward in the right direction, the Ramat Gan sanctuary welcomed its first sand cat litter in 2012! Three. Baby. Sand cats!

ID: 2760879

14. There were concerns that Rotem, the mama cat, wouldn’t be able to care for all three of her miracle babies…

Charles Barilleaux (CC BY http://2.0) / Flickr: bontempscharly
ID: 2768337

15. …but like any mother would, Rotem made sure she had full control off her little ones’ upbringing.

ID: 2760884

16. At only three weeks old, the curious sand kittens emerged from their burrow and started to explore the sanctuary.

ID: 2760874

17. Three weeks was sooner than anyone expected! Since then, Rotem has been telling every visitor who’ll listen that her babies are “gifted.”*

Tanya Durrant (CC BY-ND http://2.0) / Flickr: tanyadurrant

*OK, so that part is obviously made up. But like… she would totally do it if she could.

ID: 2768371

18. Watch Rotem’s first kitten make his debut at the Ramat Gan Safari below!

ID: 2768379

Nice meeting you!

Mark Dumont (CC BY http://2.0) / Flickr: wcdumonts
ID: 2768433

Check out more articles on BuzzFeed.com!

  Your Reaction?