“They have a reputation for being a very fierce cat, pound for pound,” said Bob Cisneros, the zoo’s associate director of animal care, in an interview with The Salt Lake Tribune.
From the Huffington Post:
Utah’s Hogle Zoo welcomed Gaia, an eight-month-old black-footed cat, last month as it introduced a furry friend that it described as “small in size but large in her feisty personality.”
The Smithsonian Magazine notes that Standing just 8 to 10 inches tall, the African black-footed cat resembles a petite version of your average neighborhood tabby. But though the speckled feline is unequivocally adorable, a vicious, adept killer lies beneath its charming exterior.
Felis nigripes, as the black-footed feline is formally named, is, in fact, Africa’s smallest cat. To give you some perspective on that statistic, the black-footed cat, which averages 2.4 t0 4.2 pounds, weighs roughly 200 times less than your typical lion. Still, don’t be fooled by its demure stature—the species is also the deadliest of all the world’s felines, capturing more prey in a single night than a leopard does in six months.
Gaia, who weighs less than three pounds, comes from a species of successful hunters. Black-footed cats have a hunting success rate of over 60%, Cisneros said. The cats also have accelerated metabolisms so they’re “constantly hunting”, said Luke Hunter, Chief Conservation Officer at the wildcat conservation organization Panthera, in a 2018 interview with Live Science. They can kill up to 14 rodents or small birds in a single night and are “three times as successful” at killing compared to lions, he said.