Sand cats YouTube video proves adorable hit

Courtesy of Nasu Animal Kingdom
A thumbnail image from the YouTube video “Sunaneko no Uta”

UTSUNOMIYA — A video of sand cats posted by Nasu Animal Kingdom on YouTube has proved a major hit, drawing about 870,000 views in the first four weeks after its release.

The zoo in the town of Nasu, Tochigi Prefecture, introduces the rare species — known as the “angel on the desert” — in a video and song titled “Sunaneko no Uta” (Sand cat song).

The lyrics introduce the cat’s behavior and ecology, such as in “It’s got a bad temper” and “Don’t expect to tame it,” accompanied by a cheerful tune.

Viewers have left such comments as “You can see all the cats’ expressions, they’re so cute,” and “Their personality doesn’t match their looks,” referring to the animal’s guardedness, which makes it unsuitable as a pet.

The sand cat is about 40-60 centimeters long and lives mainly in the deserts of western Asia. International trade in the animal is restricted due to the threat of extinction.

The two-minute video shows three sand cats, born in February at the zoo, playing, snuggling, sleeping and eating raw meat. The zoo asked Tokyo-based creative director Shogo Tominaga and others to produce the video.

Last year, the zoo released a video of bushy-haired Pallas’s cats that attracted more than 4 million views across all social media sites.

“We’re happy to know that people have learned something about these rare wild animals,” the zoo’s general manager Kazuya Suzuki said.