When A Teen Found These Kittens By The Side Of A Road, He Didn’t Realize They Weren’t What They Seem

What would you do if you found a litter of kittens at the roadside? If you left them, they could be exposed and defenseless. On the other hand, if you moved them and their mother returned, she’d have lost her babies. That was exactly the dilemma this young man was facing.

And it’s a fair bet that when Hamdan Shibli, an 18-year-old man from Israel, set out for work one day, he didn’t expect to find what he did. After all, although he was taking his regular route along a dirt path, this time he saw something unusual. Something on the roadside, in fact, was moving.

When he went to have a closer look, then, to his surprise Shibli saw three little kittens on the road. It was an unusual place to find them, and the young man didn’t want them getting hurt by predators. So for their own safety, he decided to move them off the path.

ADVERTISEMENT

Shibli carefully placed the kittens in a nearby bush where they could safely wait for their mom to return. For fun, he took some pictures of the little fluff balls as well. But when he later posted the photos online, the response he got was shocking.

In fact, what internet users told Shibli was so surprising that he went back to where he had left the kittens. And, when he got there, there was still no sign of mommy cat, and something was looking very wrong with the babies. They were too young to care for themselves, and they were suffering for it.

ADVERTISEMENT

Not only did the kitties have ticks, in fact, but they were also looking very weak and ill. If Shibli didn’t do something, then, they would most likely die. So he duly put the kittens in a basket and delivered them to a vet for medical attention.

ADVERTISEMENT

But these were not any ordinary tabbies, and so they would need extra-special care. Indeed, when Shibli posted their pictures on the internet, users told him that the kittens were actually a unique species. Moreover, he had actually found the babies of a type of wild feline called a jungle cat.

ADVERTISEMENT

That name is deceptive, though, as these cats aren’t commonly found in jungles but, rather, more typically in wetlands and swamps, where they can stalk prey through reeds and grasses. They are native to central and south-eastern areas of the Asian continent and are also known as swamp or reed cats.

ADVERTISEMENT

Like many cats, jungle kittens are born with stripes for camouflage. This helps them stay hidden in their environment while they’re young. They then lose the stripes as they get older, and their coats turn a gray, red-brown or a sandy color.

ADVERTISEMENT

Furthermore, jungle cats are mainly carnivorous in nature and spend their daytimes hunting prey. They are opportunistic predators and favor fish, frogs, birds, rodents, insects and reptiles. But they will occasionally also take on larger prey such as young gazelles. In the winter, though, they will often eat fruit to survive.

ADVERTISEMENT

And though it is forbidden to shoot jungle cats in many countries, the laws aren’t often enforced. Farmers see them as a danger to their livestock. And while pelts are banned, illegal trade still continues. But their biggest threat is human reclamation of their wetland habitat.

ADVERTISEMENT

Indeed, although the IUCN Red List has marked their conservation status as “least concern,” their numbers in the wild are likely decreasing. In Thailand, for example, these felines are classed as critically endangered.

ADVERTISEMENT

Tragically, in fact, there would be one less jungle cat in the world even in spite of Shibli’s help. The kittens he had found were very weak, and one of them passed away soon after he tried to get it help. Thankfully, the other two were strong survivors.

ADVERTISEMENT

Once under the care of a wildlife hospital, though, the surviving kittens – a pair of brothers – were treated like little princes. It was discovered, moreover, that they were only five weeks old at most. And the vets did everything they could to get the two little ones fighting fit.

ADVERTISEMENT

For example, since the felines were lacking the nutrition they would have received from their mom, the veterinarians provided an alternative. Sucking from syringes, the kittens lapped up a milk formula that would provide them with the vitamins and minerals they would need.

ADVERTISEMENT

And the kittens would need to be fed several times a day for some time; only once they were at their ideal weight and were stronger would their diet really change. In the meantime, their meals were being supplemented with other soft foods, too.

ADVERTISEMENT

But it wasn’t long before the kitties were on solid foods. In fact, if there were ever any worries about the fuzzy brothers’ appetites, those were quickly dispelled. The cats loved their food – a good indication that they would be ready for reintroduction to the wild.

ADVERTISEMENT

After some time, then, the kittens’ prognosis looked very optimistic, and with each day the little jungle cats got stronger. Still, they would stay in veterinary care until they were completely healthy. The veterinarians wanted to make sure that the cats wouldn’t use up any more of their nine lives anytime soon.

ADVERTISEMENT

Thanks to Shibli taking the time to return and rescue these little felines, then, the two kitten survivors are doing well. We can only hope that they heal quickly so they can be reintroduced to the wild as soon as possible, as they certainly deserve a fair shot at life.

ADVERTISEMENT

Indeed, if Shibli hadn’t found and rescued the kittens, the two brothers wouldn’t have likely survived much longer. But thanks to social media alertness, Shibli’s response and the veterinarians, there will hopefully be two more jungle cats in the wild soon. That sounds just purrfect to us.

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT