Hamdan Shibli, an Israeli teenager, was on his way to work when he spotted something out of the ordinary. On the side of the road were three extremely tiny, very scared kittens. He checked to see if their mother was anywhere nearby and moved them away from the road after he notices she wasn’t anywhere to be found. Not long after he moved them, Hamdan posted a picture of the kittens online. That’s when he found out that these weren’t ordinary kittens at all…they were something much more special.
18-year-old Hamdan Shibli was known for his kind-hearted nature. His drive from work started out like any other until he happened upon these little creatures. It turned into something that would change his near future.
Shibli was driving home from work when he noticed a trio of kittens roaming in the middle of the street. The kind-hearted teen didn’t want them to become roadkill, so he pulled over to help them off the road into some nearby brush. He noticed something a bit different about these kittens.
Not Your Typical Kitty
At first look, these kittens looked like typical stray cats. He realized that he had never seen kittens like these before. These cats had fuzzy hair with an almost tiger-like pattern. At first glance, you would think that’s completely normal for a new-born kitten, but don’t let this image decieve you here. They are actually old enough at this point to have grown out of their kitten fur.
His Good Deed For the Day
Shibli took a picture of them playing on the side of the road in the brush and then drove home. He posted the picture online, hoping that someone would recognize the cats. The responses he got were not what he was expecting.
Many friends commented that the kittens looked very unhealthy. The young man began to grow extremely worried. He was concerned that he did the wrong thing by moving them into the bushes and leaving them.
As days passed by, Shibli’s worry grew. He couldn’t get those kittens out of his head. Maybe they were wild and their mother had abandoned them or neglected them. Eventually he decided to go back to the same spot to see if they ere still there.
They were still there and unharmed! He was so relieved. Unfortunately their condition had not improved. This time he decided he wasn’t going to leave them. He picked them up and took them home with him.
In Worse Shape Than He Thought
When he took them home, he realized the kittens were even more sickly than he had originally found them. They were very malnourished and one of them shook constantly. He was also surprised to find that these little guys were riddled with fleas and ticks. Those parasites turned out to be the least of their problems.
One Didn’t Make It
The one kitten that had been shaking and in worse shape than all the others didn’t make it past two days. Shibli was heartbroken that one of his little kittens didn’t make it. He was now more determined to ensure that the other two survived to adulthood.
Off To The Vet
Shibli knew he needed to take the kittens to an animal expert. He was capable to care for healthy cats, but these ones needed advanced help. He placed them in a basket and was off to the nearest veterinarian.
Just in the Nick of Time
The vet told Shibli that these kittens were barely five weeks old! If he had not brought them in, they may have not made it like their brother. The vet explained that it would be a long journey for the little kittens but they were determined to nurse them back to health.
A Daily Struggle
The weak kittens battled for their lives. Shibli returned to the vet often to check in on them. He was extremely happy that they were slowly but surely looking healthier and healthier.
It wouldn’t be too much longer before they were strong enough to return to the wild at the rate that they were growing. As happy as Shibli was for them, he couldn’t have been less prepared for what the vets informed him what exactly these cats were.
A Very Rare Breed
Shibli knew when he first saw them that they were not your typical house cats. Even his friends on Facebook warned him that they did not look like every day cats. It was the vet who told him what exactly he had stumbled across.
Shibli was shocked when the vet told him that the little kittens he had found on the side of the road were actually jungle cats. They are a very rare breed in nature! Many people mistake them as a lynx, because of their coloring. They actually prefer to reside in swampy or even grassland areas instead of jungles.
Jungle cats have unfortunately fallen onto the endangered species list. Many farmers shoot these cats on sight in an effort to prevent them from hunting their livestock. It is now illegal to do so but that doesn’t stop people.
Keeping Them As Pets
These adorable creatures have a generally friendly nature and are smaller-than-average size. For these reasons, many people have taken to keeping these felines as house pets. Unfortunately due to their popularity, people have been removing them at such large amounts from the wild and it has taken its toll on their population. The number of these felines remaining are startling.
Too Few Left
Only a staggering 602 jungle cats remain left on the planet. The most unfortunate thing about people making these felines pets is that many people release them once they realize that they’re higher maintenance than a feral cat.
Abandoned Too Young
In the wild, jungle cat babies live with their mother until they reach at least eight weeks. They feed off of their mother’s milk before consuming solid foods at six weeks. Since these kittens were only five weeks, there was no way to know how long they had been motherless before they were found. It was unsure whether they would be able to get back to full health without crucial nutrients from their mother.
Fortunately the vets were able to create a formula that replicated their mother’s milk as closely as possible. Without the nutrients from this milk, the jungle cat kittens would have almost no chance of survival.
Road To Recovery
One week after being rescued, the kittens were looking strong and healthy! Now at six weeks of age, they were able to be fed soft foods and finally got to a healthy weight. They were the celebrities of the animal rescue center. Everyone was curious to see how they would turn out.
Handed Off To The Zoo
Once the kittens were nursed back to full health, they were delivered to the Jerusalem Biblical Zoo. Once there they were placed in a large enclosure. The kittens were fed live rats in an effort to get them to hunt as they would if they were in the wild.
Keeping An Eye Out
The zoo wanted to limit the cats’ interaction with humans as much as possible. They set up cameras in their enclosure so that the handlers could keep an eye on them. Once they reached peak maturity and have learned to survive on their own without human intervention, they would be released back into the wild.
An Important Reminder
These jungle cats were incredibly lucky to have been found by Shibli. The fact they they were brought to the vet in time to be nursed back to health to have been found and nursed back to full health was pure luck. The story of these jungle cats is an important reminder that humans should not remove animals from their natural habitat for pleasure. We need to stick with domesticated pets that are bred for us to love and enjoy and let wild animals remain in their habitats.
Unlike many other species of wild cat, the jungle cat is not nocturnal. The jungle cat stalks and ambushes its prey on the ground, primarily eating small rodents such as rats, mice and gerbils. The jungle cat may sometimes jump to catch birds, such as pheasants, ducks and sparrows. This species is also known to occasionally scavenge the scraps of lion kills.
The young are born blind, not opening their eyes until they reach 10 to 13 days old. The kittens suckle milk from the female for a further 90 days, and become completely weaned at around 102 days old. The young jungle cats become fully independent at eight to nine months old. The average life span for the jungle cat in the wild is 14 years old, and around 9 years old in captivity.
Although the jungle cat has an extremely large range, it has a rather sparse and patchy distribution. The jungle cat is most abundant in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. It occurs in Africa, where it is found only in Egypt, and across southwest Asia, Central Asia and Southeast Asia, where its range extends as far as southern China
Although this species is almost always associated with water and dense vegetation, the jungle cat may be found in a wide variety of other habitats types, including deserts, where it occurs along riverbeds and near oases, and in grassland, woodland and dry deciduous forests.
The jungle cat is threatened by habitat loss and human persecution. Though the jungle cat has adapted well to irrigated and cultivated farmland and artificial wetlands, conversion of the jungle cat’s natural habitat has reduced prey numbers. This has led to the highly adaptable jungle cat feeding on livestock in the absence of its natural prey, thereby bringing it into conflict with landowners . As a result, the jungle cat is often targeted by traps, snares and poisons put down by farmers, which see it as a pest and a risk to their livelihoods.
This species is considered to be in decline in many areas, particularly in southeast and southwest Asia. The jungle cat is also protected from hunting in certain states in India, and in 2009 it was placed on Afghanistan’s Protected Species List, which protects this species from being hunted and traded.
Young jungle cats are patterned with stripes and spotted markings from birth, which remain until they are sexually mature. The adult jungle cat may sometimes retain some of these markings, usually as spots or dark stripes on the forelimbs and hind limbs.
The jungle cat is a large, slender wild cat, with long legs and long, close-set, rounded ears which have characteristic small black tufts of hair on the tips. It has a long, slim face with a white muzzle and distinctive white markings above and below the eyes, as well as dark spots in front of the eyes, near the nose
Scent marking, such as urine spraying and rubbing scent against objects, is used by the male jungle cat to determine its territory. The male’s home range typically overlaps the range of several females, although the jungle cat is generally a solitary animal, only socialising with other individuals during the breeding season
They are thought to be polyestrous throughout the year. Mating occurs in February and March in Central Asia but May is thought to be the mating season in India. One to six kittens are usually born in den sites. They weigh 130 – 140 grams at birth and their eyes open at 10 – 12 days. They are weaned at three months, stalk and kill prey by five to six months. Captive individuals have lived to 15 years old.