Thursday, June 13

NC Zoo Asks Public to Vote on Names of Sand Cat Triplets

Photo provided by North Carolina Zoo

ASHEBORO N.C. (NC ZOO) – The North Carolina Zoo is asking the public to vote on the “purr-fect” names for the sand cat kitten triplets born on May 11, 2023.  The triplets are two females and one male.

People can vote on this online poll from among names chosen by zookeepers.

Voting is open now and closes Wednesday, July 5, at 4 p.m. (all EDT). The public can also access the poll through the Zoo’s website at There is no charge to select names. The winning names will be announced on Friday, July 7.

Females (top two names given to the female kittens)

  • Cleo (Cleopatra): Iconic Queen of Egypt, Greek name meaning “glory of the father”
  • Amira (“Uh-MEER-uh”): Arabic name meaning “princess”
  • Cyra (“SEER-uh”): Persian name meaning “sun” or “throne”
  • Safiya (“Suh-FEE-yuh): Arabic name meaning “pure” or “friend”
  • Noora: (“NOO-Rah”): Arabic variation/spelling for name meaning “light” or “the divine light”


  • Konshu (“CON-shoe”): ancient Egyptian god of the moon): Also, god of youth and healing
  • Jabari (“Jah-BAH-ree”): Arabic, brave/fearless): Swahili origin meaning “valiant, the brave one, fearless”
  • Horus (“HOR-uhs”): ancient Egyptian god of the sky): Represents qualities such as power and strength
  • Osiris (“Ow-SIGH-ris”): Ancient Egyptian god of the afterlife): Name derived from the word for “The Mighty One”
  • Ra (“Rah”): (ancient Egyptian god of the sun): King of all deities of ancient Egypt

Sand Cats- Small and Mighty

Sand cats are small and mighty hunters who kill venomous snakes in the desert. Though they appear adorable with big ears, eyes, and petite frames, looks can be deceiving. Zookeepers are quick to tell you they are wild, ferocious animals that should never be kept as pets.

Sand cats are native to the deserts of North Africa, the Arabian Peninsula, and Asia. Nocturnal in nature, they quickly adapt to the extreme climate of desert environments with very hot and cold temperatures.

The sand cat is one of the world’s smallest feline species, weighing from four to eight pounds and measuring, on average, 20 inches long. The gestation period is around 60 days. Under human care, a sand cat can live to be 13 years old.

The cats have an exceptionally keen sense of hearing, which they use to detect animals under the sand and use their excellent digging skills to capture their prey quickly.