A curious caracal kitten paid a lucky local in Kommetjie a visit this weekend, when the juvenile mountain cat decided to inspect the contents of the resident’s garage.
According to the Urban Caracal Project, the youngster is likely around eight months old and took cat curiosity to the next level by snooping around in a garage near the Noordhoek Wetlands.
While it is unusual for caracals to investigate the areas of humans, it does happen but typically with younger felines.
The house was just adjacent to the Noordhoek Wetlands so the caracal didn’t have to wander too far from the park to find the garage. While unusual, it likely happens much more often than you’d expect.
Project Coordinator Dr Laurel Serieys has seen urban wild cats explore urban structures before – including big mountain lions, little bobcats, and even another caracal. At public talks, Dr Serieys has a little saying to explain this behavior: “Young cats don’t learn the boundaries of safe habitat until they cross those boundaries.”
Caracal kittens often learn from their curiosity and develop better boundaries after ending up in uncomfortable situations.
“They typically spend less than a year learning what their mom has to teach them, and after that, they have to make mistakes to learn what’s safe and what’s not. Often that requires venturing into the wrong places to learn the difference. But for this reason, young wild cats, especially males, are extremely vulnerable to vehicle collisions as they explore on their own,” says the Urban Caracal Project on their Facebook page.
The Project has noted that caracal sightings have not increased during lockdown but are being more actively shared on social media.
Watch the video of the cute little caracal getting a little too curious, below: