The unnamed sand cat kittens were born to parents Simba and Nala on April 4.

By Averi Baudler
April 23, 2021
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hands holding tiny baby sand cat
Credit: Courtesy of Zoo Boise

Can you feel the love tonight? Well proud parents Nala and Simba—and pretty much everyone else at Idaho's Zoo Boise—sure can as they welcomed a trio of adorable male sand cat kittens into their family on April 4. 

Weighing in at only 9 grams each, all three healthy sand cat babies (currently unnamed) weigh only around half of a pound combined and fit perfectly in the palm of their zookeeper's hand! According to the zoo's Instagram announcement, this is both Nala and Simba's first litter of kittens and the first sand cats ever born at Zoo Boise. Not only are these births exciting news for the zoo, but they are incredibly important to the continued conservation of sand cats worldwide.

As the zoo's announcement explains, there are currently only 51 sand cats that reside in zoos accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, which means Zoo Boise now cares for 10 percent of the total population. Loving parents Nala and Simba were paired together as a part of the Sand Cat Species Survival Plan, which aims to maintain a healthy and genetically diverse population of sand cats in order to increase their numbers.

"This is an incredibly significant birth for the entire conservation community," Zoo Boise Director Gene Peacock says. "The babies are doing well and we look forward to introducing them to the community."

Though the sand cat kittens may look small and cuddly now—and will only get to be between three and seven pounds once fully grown—they'll one day be mighty. The huggable-looking sand cats are actually ferocious, opportunistic hunters and are known to attack and consume venomous snakes, according to the post. 

If you love baby animals (and who doesn't?) you'll be delighted to hear you can go see the baby sand cats for yourself while they're still sweet and tiny. The babes will be located in Zoo Boise's Small Animal Kingdom once mom Nala allows them to leave their den box and start exploring their new exhibit in a few weeks.