At first glance, you might mistake the Arabian sand cat for a common house cat, as they are about the same size. But look more closely and you’ll notice its unusually large pointy ears, its wide face, and the dark bands around its legs. Also called dune cats, these little felines may be much rarer than the household variety, but they are every bit as adorable.
Sand cats get their name from their habitat. They live in deserts in parts of northern Africa and the Middle East. In much of their range, they are considered “Near Threatened,” but in the Western Region of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), numbers are thought to be so low that the species is considered endangered, and the last sighting of one in that region was an unconfirmed report from 2005. Without much data on the cats in that part of the world, it’s difficult to assess their situation and help protect them.