Three wild cats were held in tight cages — and now, they’re getting a second chance at life in North Carolina.
The trio of female leopard cats has a new home after leaving a tough situation in Texas, according to Carolina Tiger Rescue in Pittsboro.
“These Asian leopard cats were kept in small wire cages with little room,” the rescue wrote Oct. 3 in a Facebook post. “We don’t know much else about their lives before their rescue.”
But now, the leopard cats — which don’t have names yet — are getting accustomed to their new home at Carolina Tiger Rescue’s quarantine center. Photos that the center shared online show the adorable creatures with spotted coats that look similar to leopard print.
The facility has never cared for leopard cats but has handled similar species. The wildlife center isn’t sure if or when the public will be able to see the trio on tours and urges people to monitor social media for updates, spokesperson Louise Orr told McClatchy News in a phone interview.
“They’re a little skittish and it will take some adjusting for them to get comfortable with their new surroundings,” officials wrote. “But we are so thrilled that they are finally in a safe and peaceful forever home.”
Leopard cats are nocturnal predators that grow to be about 2 feet long. They are native to parts of Asia but are sometimes “bred with domestic cats to produce bengals, a hybrid species that is popular in the pet trade,” according to the rescue and Encyclopaedia Britannica.
Small wild cats that are bred as pets sometimes end up at animal sanctuaries, and the demand for care can overwhelm facilities, Orr said.
“It’s really important that we spread the word that wild cats don’t make good pets,” she told McClatchy News. “They shouldn’t be bred to produce hybrids. You know, these animals deserve to be in the wild and not kept in somebody’s house.”
Pittsboro is roughly 35 miles west of downtown Raleigh.