The black-footed cat (Felis nigripes) is the smallest African cat, and is endemic in the south west arid zone of the southern African subregion. It is one of the lesser studied African carnivores, and has been listed as Vulnerable by IUCN since 2002.
The two black-footed cats, both males, at our Spotted Cats Conservation Project were so unfortunate to end up in gin-traps. The workers who found them in their traps brought them to our project with the message to keep them or they will be killed. An easy choice for us of course since we already had plans to include black-footed cats in our conservation project, since these cats are also endangered in their natural habitat. One of the reasons is the exact same fact that they are often trapped and killed, for no reason.
Blacky (above right) was the first to come in. He was pretty wild and agressive when he first got in, obviously not happy with the situation. Often black-footed cats die because of stress, or insufficient feeding, in captivity. If we would release him again in the same area he would no doubt be trapped again, and that time probably be killed, so this was not an option. We started building huge enclosures for them a.s.a.p. to give him more space and at least a safe life, to judge later on what would be the best thing to do.
Very soon after another male black-footed (Footy, above) was brought in, also found in a gin-trap. This boy wasn’t so fortunate as his left leg was badly damaged so it needed be amputated. So we did and luckily all went well. We knew by experience that for cats, and dogs, it was possible to have a good life with just three legs.
Today we have finished their new homes and we are glad to say both black-footed, Blacky and Footy, are doing well. They are obviously happy with the space they have now, eat well and are relaxed and healthy. We hope to be able to find females for them to make their life even more complete, but this won’t be easy.
This trapping and killing of innocent cats should stop!!! Please don’t kill but bring them to us.
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