Sand Cat (Felis margarita)
Apologies for the delay in getting this cat up. I was on a business trip this week and wasn’t able to post.
The sand cat is a mysterious, solitary, nocturnal creature that lives in the Sahara, on the Arabian peninsula, and in central Asia. They are quite well adapted to their desert homes, with large outer ears to protect from blowing sand, thick fur to handle cold nighttime temperatures, pale coats for camouflage, and neatest of all, wiry black fur on the bottoms of their feet to let them walk in sand without sinking and protect their feet from heat. This hair, however, also makes them hard to study, as it renders their footprints nearly invisible.
I learned a lovely new word in researching this cat: isabelline, which means sandy grayish-yellow. (There’s a strange, likely apocryphal legend about the origin of this word that relates to one or another Queen or other royal named Isabella refusing to change her underwear to protest something. Another possibility comes from the Arabic word for lion, as isabelline is a lion kind of color.)