03/28/2012 09:42 am ET Updated Mar 28, 2012

Black-Footed Cat Born At Brookfield Zoo Plays And Explores (VIDEO, PHOTOS)

Brookfield Zoo welcomed an adorable new addition this week: a 6-week-old male, black-footed cat born on Valentine's Day.

Black-footed cats, the smallest of the African felines, are classified as "vulnerable" on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List of Threatened Species.

The kitten, the first of his species to be born within the Chicago Zoological Society (CZS), has had a rough beginning. Hours after his birth, the kitten's 4-year-old mother, Cleo, failed to exhibit proper maternal care, according to the zoo's announcement, worrying Animal Programs staff, who intervened and have begun handrearing him at the CZS Animal Hospital.

The kitten was placed in an incubator and received round-the-clock care for his first few weeks. He has begun gaining weight, and has started eating solid foods beyond milk formula.

Cleo and her mate Butch, 3, are on a breeding loan to Brookfield Zoo from Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo in Nebraska and John Ball Zoological Gardens in Michigan, respectively

Zoo visitors can see the kitten's parents, Cleo and Butch, 3, at The Fragile Desert exhibit at Brookfield Zoo.

See photos of this cutie in action. All images courtesy of Brookfield Zoo.



Black-Footed Cat Born At Brookfield Zoo