Don’t start a game of hide and seek with this pretty kitty because you’ll never win. The Persian Sand Cat, while wildly adorable, is ultra elusive. Until recently there hasn’t been one spotted in the United Arab Emirates for over a decade. And even still, these cuties weren’t even seen in person this time, only by picture.
Image: Creative Commons
Back in 2005 there were thought to be less than 250 in the area, but with no sightings since, a group of researchers from Abu Dabi’s Environment Agency set out to know more about the Sand Cat. They set up motion-activated camera traps and plenty of chicken and shrimp flavored cat food in the Baynouna protected preserves in March 2015 and waited.
And waited some more.
These cats aren’t just good at hiding; they’re almost designed for it. Equipped with a light coat that perfectly matches the surrounding dessert landscape, these stealthy felines also know to crouch down with their eyes closed anytime a light is shined on them.
It may have taken a month, but the researchers finally got the pictures they were after. They ended up with 46 images of three different cats and it turns out they’re total party animals when the sun goes down. A majority of the sightings were between midnight and 6:00am since they’re usually sleep in dens all day and come out to hunt at night.
The photos will do more than act as someone’s adorable desktop background someday though. They’ll help raise awareness about the endangered felines and support their case for conservation and protection. Because who can say no to helping such a cute cat keep their home?
Cue the Sarah McLachlan tunes…
Main Image: Getty