Two young Tsushima “yamaneko” wildcats are shown to the public at Kyoto City Zoo. (Provided by Kyoto City Zoo)

KYOTO--Kyoto City Zoo’s latest attraction is evidently the cat’s whiskers, as visitors are flocking to catch a rare glimpse of two ultra-rare young Tsushima “yamaneko” leopard cats on show for the first time.

The pair of wildcats were born in May, but were protected from public view until they made their debut at the zoo on Oct. 11. Visitors can see them for a limited period until Nov. 12.

The Tsushima yamaneko, an endangered species and designated as a national natural treasure, is hard to breed due to its sensitive nature. The Kyoto zoo’s pair, a male and a female, were the first to be bred successfully outside of Kyushu, Japan’s southernmost main island.

The kitties were born on May 11 measuring 15 centimeters long and have since grown to about 70 cm. They have not been named yet.

The species is endemic to Tsushima island, Nagasaki Prefecture, where only 70 to 100 survive in their natural environment. They are also proving elusive in captivity, often hiding under the cover of leaves, as they have not yet gotten used to people.

Zoos across Japan have been trying to breed them, and so the Kyoto City Zoo duo could move to other facilities to breed in the future.

“I want them to grow up to be cats loved by everyone by the time they leave this zoo,” said their keeper.