Shanti (left) with mother Helen and sister Asha (far right) at the Woodland Park Zoo.

Image: Ryan Hawk

This is a gratuitous excuse to put a photo of cute cats on the website—but it is a Friday afternoon, which is prime time for people to slack off at work by looking at cute cats. I aim to please. Woodland Park Zoo announced today that its two three-month-old snow leopard cubs will "make their first public appearance" this Saturday, noon to 3, in the Australasia part of the zoo.

These cubs are already used to the attention: After their birth in May, they made news when they had to undergo surgery for eye and eyelid defects, a condition known as coloboma, the zoo noted in a release. The two cubs, both females (Shanti and Asha), are on the road to recovery though both are blind in the right eye; unfortunately their brother, the third cub in the litter, had to be euthanized in June due to multiple severe heart defects that were causing early heart failure. If anyone remembers the story of Knut, generally considered the cutest polar bear cub ever born, we know how sad it is to hear when the good die young. RIP Knut.

Per the press release, "daily viewing hours for the public will continue from noon to 3pm, and will incrementally increase as the cubs become more comfortable in their new surroundings. The zoo’s animal management staff has made changes to the snow leopard exhibit to make it visually-impaired-cub friendly. Staff trimmed branches at the cubs' eye level and laid hay to soften rocky surfaces throughout the exhibit." For more cute cat photos, visit http://bit.ly/snowleocubs.
 
Woodland Park Zoo
Daily 9:30–6, 5500 Phinney Ave N, $12–$18

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