Bobcat #19-2408

Admission Date: 
July 30, 2019
Location of Rescue: 
Floyd County, VA
Cause of Admission / Condition: 
Separated from parents
Patient Status: 
Current Patient

On July 30, the Wildlife Center admitted a female Bobcat kitten from Floyd County, Virginia. The rescuer found the young bobcat inside a chicken coop and no adult bobcat was observed nearby.

Upon arrival to the hospital, the bobcat was bright, feisty, and growling. An initial examination revealed that the kitten was thin and dehydrated with ticks around her ears and eyes. Blood work, radiographs, and the rest of her physical exam were unremarkable. The veterinary team gave the bobcat fluids and sprayed her with a topical treatment for fleas and ticks.

Based on the finding during the initial exam, it’s likely that the bobcat was orphaned, though it’s also possible that the kitten’s mother was nearby and was unable to retrieve the kitten from the coop or didn’t want to approach while humans were near.

It can be difficult to rear bobcat kittens in captivity; they are a secretive species by nature, but are considered high-risk for becoming habituated to humans when they are young. Bobcat #19-2408 has displayed very appropriate behaviors toward her human caregivers, including avoidance, growling, and even attempts to bite or scratch if approached. All of these behaviors make caring for this predator species particularly challenging, but are also good signs that the kitten is not at risk of becoming too comfortable around humans.

The rehabilitation team is caring for the young bobcat, who is currently housed in a secure outdoor enclosure [Bear Pen 3]. The bobcat has a healthy appetite and receives daily enrichment to keep her stimulated.

Early in the rehabilitation process, the team will introduce live prey to her diet; learning to hunt is a critical skill for bobcats, and teaching this skill to juvenile bobcats in captivity can be challenging. The team will continue to monitor her diet and behavior as she grows. The kitten will need care from humans until she would naturally disperse from her mother in the in the spring.

 

Your donation will help provide care for this young Bobcat -- and 3,000 other patients that the Center will treat in 2019. Thank you!

Updates

September 9, 2019

After the Black Bear cubs recently moved from the Large Mammal Isolation enclosure to the Black Bear Complex, the rehabilitation staff decided to weigh Bobcat #19-2408 on September 6 to see if she was large enough to move to the Large Mammal enclosure. The bobcat weighed 1.89 kg – which was less than the rehabilitation staff was expecting. The Bobcat has been eating well, so the rehabilitation staff increased the kitten’s food, and also collected a fecal sample. The technician team found that the young Bobcat has several types of parasites – which could account for the slower weight gain.

The Bobcat started a 10-day course of an oral anti-parasitic, which will be placed in her food. The rehabilitation staff will attempt to weigh the Bobcat again in two weeks after treatment has ended.

August 27, 2019

Bobcat kitten #19-2408 has been doing well in the Center's Bear Pen enclosure; the wildlife rehabilitation staff check on the kitten each day when they drop off food, though the staff note that they don't always readily see the young elusive cat. This is an excellent sign; raising a lone bobcat kitten isn't ideal, but fortunately, this young animal doesn't want anything to do with humans. 

After the Black Bear cubs move from the Large Mammal enclosure to the Black Bear Complex, the staff will consider moving the Bobcat from the Bear Pens to the Large Mammal enclosure. This area will give the kitten more room, and will also allow her to experience more sights, smells, and sounds of the forest. Wildlife rehabilitator Kelsey notes that, in years past, a young bobcat has been moved to this space when it was at least 3.0 kg; the staff will want to make sure the kitten is large enough that escape from the enclosure won't be an option. Stay tuned for more updates as the kitten grows, and watch for her this fall on Critter Cam!