Rare Black-Footed Cat Gets Hand-Reared in Chicago

Courtesy The Chicago Zoological Society

updated 03/28/2012 AT 6:00 PM ET

originally published 03/29/2012 AT 9:00 AM ET

Guess what’s blown into the Windy City?

Chicago has welcomed a new black-footed cat, the first ever born at the city’s Brookfield Zoo. The darling kitten, fittingly born on Valentine’s Day, had a shaky start at birth. On top of being significantly underweight, the kitten was not nursing and his body temperature was low.

Staff quickly stepped in to hand-raise the cat, and he has been getting better with each passing week. “Even though it was an uphill battle at first, the kitten is now doing extremely well,” veterinarian Michael Adkesson said in a release. “We feel comfortable that he is well on his way to living a full and healthy life.”

Black-footed cats are the smallest African feline species, and are only half the size of a regular house cat. They have yellow-brown coats with black spots and stripes – and yes, they have black feet.

Courtesy The Chicago Zoological Society

Courtesy The Chicago Zoological Society

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