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Test-tube kitten shows hope for endangered species

A black-footed cat was born at the Audubon Center for Research of Endangered Species in New Orleans recently, but it was far from a typical litter. The endangered animal was born to a domestic cat, after its embryo was fertilized in a lab dish and implanted into the cat's womb, The Associated Press reports.

The kitten's birth marks an important milestone for the continuation of this species, of which only 10,000 remain in the wild. There are 50 in captivity in the U.S. with organizations looking to help animals like these. Using this technology could mean a revival of the rare species. The black-footed cat is Africa's smallest wildcat, and one of the smallest felines in the world, the news outlet reports.

The Audubon Center took DNA from two black-footed cats and transferred it to the housecat, Amelie, who is now nursing and caring for the wild kitten, Crystal, as if she were her own, WWLTV News reports.

"It's normal for a domestic cat to feel it's her kitten, even if they aren't genetically the same," Dr. Martha Gomez, senior scientist at Audubon's Lower Coast Algiers facility, told the news outlet.
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