There are few things cuter than a batch of newborn kittens. The way they crawl around with their oversized heads and shut-eyes, pawing and mewing helplessly into a world they know nothing about, brings out the softer side in everyone. Ordinary house kittens are precious but their cousins may just have them beat.
A few days ago Willow, a 5 year old cheetah living in the Cincinnati Zoo, gave birth to 5 adorable kittens. The birth was not an easy one however, and actually required medical intervention. More specifically poor Willow had to undergo a Cesarean Section surgery to complete delivery. The kittens were born premature and Mark Campbell, the Director of Animal Health at the Cincinnati Zoo, worries their immune systems may be weakened for a while as “the vast majority of their passive immunity comes from their mom’s milk”, which Willow can’t provide until she recovers.
The young litter consists of 3 boys and 2 girls. It’s worth noting that cheetahs are very much an endangered species. Estimates put their current numbers at somewhere between 9 and 12 thousand. Because of their dire situation, every cheetah kitten born plays an important part in their species recovery.
The zoo itself has released a video to the public explaining the procedure and, more importantly, showing the kittens in their safe, sterile recovery environment.
And before you ask, no you can’t take them home with you .