That’s actually a snow leopard cub, chosen not only for cuteness but also because you can’t see the teeth. What if they were little saberteeth?
We don’t actually know what kind of fur sabercats had, but it’s not impossible that Homotherium, which ranged up into snow country, might have had a similar coat. And as we’re about to see, young sabercats had a lot in common with modern cubs and kittens.
Today’s cats are in a separate subgroup of family Felidae from the sabertoothed cats, whose subfamily Machairodontinae went extinct some 11,000 years ago.
It’s amazing how much we can still learn about those ancient machairodonts, simply because they were related to cats of our own time!
Featured image: Tambako the Jaguar, CC BY-ND 2.0.