On September 4, a male Bobcat kitten was found on the side of the road near his mother, who had likely been hit and killed by a car. The rescuer contacted the Wildlife Center a few days later, and the kitten was transported to the Center for care on September 7.*
Upon admission, Bobcat #16-2059 was bright, alert, and feisty; the bobcat weighed 1.17 kg and had a slightly distended abdomen, which indicated he likely had intestinal parasites.
Overall, the bobcat kitten was deemed a healthy orphan. He was medicated with dewormer and moved to an outdoor enclosure (Bear Pen 3) away from areas with frequent human traffic.
Because the staff has remained "hands-off" with this patient, during the months he's been at the Center the staff has relied primarily on visual assessments to determine how much the bobcat has grown. Bobcat #16-2059 has been eating well, and his meal size has steadily increased as he's grown. Bobcats are obligate carnivores, which means they only eat meat and need meat to survive; vegetation is not a natural or healthy part of a bobcat's diet. While at the Center, he has been offered cans of wet cat food and whole prey items, such as mice or rats.
On December 16, the staff opened up the connections between Bear Pens 2 and 3, giving the bobcat more space. After the new year, the veterinary staff will sedate the bobcat so they can perform a thorough physical exam and get an updated weight, and to allow the rehabilitators full access to the enclosure for cleaning and making adjustments.
The bobcat will remain at the Wildlife Center until the spring, when he can be assessed for release. As is the case with most young wildlife, being raised with others of the same species is optimal; bobcat #16-2059 would ideally be raised with other bobcats to prevent habituation to humans and help him interact properly with others of his species. The Center's rehabilitators reached out to members of the wildlife community, but no one had another bobcat kitten with whom #16-2059 could be raised. The staff will continue to limit contact with the bobcat kitten to prevent his habituation to humans. A bobcat that becomes to comfortable with people could not be released into the wild, so maintaining his natural wariness of humans is important.
*It's important to remember that keeping or caring for wild animals without the correct permits is illegal and unsafe for both the humans and the wildlife involved. Many young animals can habituate or imprint on human caregivers, and limited contact and special care are required to make sure that animals do not become too comfortable near people.
Your special donation will help the Center provide care to this orphaned Bobcat … and all of the patients admitted in 2016. Please help!