Everyone’s familiar with farm animals, from childhood we’ve been taught about the stock that occupies the barnyard through songs like “Old MacDonald Had A Farm.” The more common animals to frequent a farm’s pens, include:
However, one Russian farmer discovered some furry little animals in his barn that were unlike anything he’d ever seen before.
At first, the farmer assumed that these were just abandoned kittens, but he soon realized that these were much more rare than that.
While he was inspecting his property, a Russian farmer found four abandoned kittens in his barn. The kitty quartet had clearly just been born as they had yet to even open their eyes.
Unfortunately, the four fluffy kittens were in a dire situation as there was no sign that their mother was going to return to them. Luckily, this farmer found them at the right time and knew that he was their only chance at survival.
The farmer quickly became aware that these weren’t your average kittens. While they had a lot of the same characteristics and clearly belonged in the cat family, they were visibly different from what he’d ever seen before.
In search of answers, the farmer called the Daursky Nature Reserve, who were quickly able to identify these off-kilter kittens as a rare species of wild cat.
The Daursky Nature Reserve determined that the farmer had come across Pallas’s cats, also called the manul, which are native to the grasslands and mountains of Central Asia.
These Pallas’s cats are around the size of a domestic cat, but are distinct due to their stockier build, shorter legs, and thicker fur to survive harsher climates.
Unfortunately, these cats’ thick fur has made them victim to hunting and they have been classified as “Near Threatened” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature since 2002.
The farmer decided to take the kittens in, but nursing them proved to be somewhat of a problem. Luckily, two domestic cats took to the rare wild cats and nursed them as if they were their own.
The nursing from the domestic cats saved their lives and the wild cats were able to grow and restore their health.
While the Pallas’s cats thrived at the Daursky Nature Reserve and the staff was quick to fall in love with the adorable creatures, they knew they would eventually have to be sent back into the wild.
The Pallas’s cats were adorned with radio collars to track their progress and weight before being sent off to their first winter alone in the wild.
Unfortunately, the wild cats had to be brought back to the reserve for the remainder of the season because they had lost a dangerous amount of weight.
The Daursky Nature Reserve decided to restore the Pallas’s cats’ health once more before sending them back in the wild in the spring.
The Pallas’s cats were able to adjust much easier in the new season and became quickly acclimated to their new and natural surroundings.
The cats are now settled back in their habitat and have learned to flourish in the wild all thanks to a farmer, a team of staff members at the Daursky Nature Reserve, and loving cats who helped raise them as their own.
While Pallas’s cats are solitary animals, these siblings will always be connected by their nontraditional upbringing.