Two orphaned kittens were found in the West Highlands of Scotland.
Scottish wildcat kittens are an adorably real thing, but their species is close to extinction. The Scottish wildcat, also known as a Highlands tiger, is a subspecies of the European wildcat native to Scotland. There are an estimated 35 Scottish wildcats left, making them amongst the rarest in the world. The Scottish kitty’s are the only wild feline left on the island of Great Britain.
Two orphaned Scottish wildcats were found “dehydrated, weak, and moving towards a road” in the West Highlands of Scotland. Rescue workers think their mother was killed sometime before; the kittens were too young to survive on their own. Rescue workers transported the kittens to a rehabilitation centre until they’re old enough to be released in to the wild.
Often, wildcats spotted are simple house cats with similar markings or hybrids. Once the orphaned kittens’ authenticity was confirmed, Wildcat Haven’s chief scientific advisor Dr Paul O’Donoghue launched a search.
“I almost fell off my chair when I saw the photos,” Dr O’Donoghue said. “The markings looked amazing, far better than any kitten I’d seen in a zoo, but in a very exposed place. It seemed likely they had been abandoned or orphaned and were in grave danger.”
Within 24-hours of being spotted, Wildcat Haven fieldworkers Charlie Chandler and Savannah Brownlow were met by the original witness carrying two weak and dehydrated kittens wrapped in a jacket.
“By next morning after some food and water the timid kittens had transformed entirely and we had two spitting balls of fury in their place,” wildlife filmmaker Steve Piper said. “They were little, mini-wildcats stamping, hissing and growling, displaying all the explosive aggression typical of the species, reputed to be untameable.”
The kittens will be released back into the forest once they can hunt on their own.
“I am overjoyed that we’ve been able to give these two orphaned wildcat kittens a lifeline,” said Dr O’Donoghue. “They’re safe in the largest wildcat enclosure in Europe. Highland Titles have literally put a fence round a forest, there’s even a stream. It’s a near-wild environment for these priceless kittens to grow into adults with our whole team looking out for them as they do so.”
For more wildcats, check out this baby bobcat this guy “rescued”.