Background Switcher (Hidden)

Baby Bobcat!

Friday, June 12, 2015

This summer has been neither easy or lazy, but it sure has been interesting. 
I have noticed a shift in the kind of pleas for help I get over the phone all day long. 
Since the Ohio Division of Natural Resources has listed wildlife rehabilitators by county on its website, I've gotten a different kind of caller. More resourceful, more informed, more invested in the animal or bird they've found. What I used to get was, "I found a ______. When can you come pick it up?"
I'd have to explain that I don't run a bird ambulance, that I'm not paid by the state to do this, but that I'd try to help given these limitations. 

Now I get people who seem willing to take  personal responsibility for their find, who will work with me to find a solution. It's a whole different cut of caller.  I think it's related to the fact that the pool of callers, rather than being just those who've called a veterinarian or wildlife officer or ODNR, is now composed of people who are resourceful enough to look for a rehabilitator themselves, online.

Whatever the reason, I'm getting some interesting calls. 

This one came in the evening, from friends who live about 6 miles from our place. 

"Julie, I know you are more of a bird person, but I wonder if you can help us with a little problem." 

"We have a bobcat kitten here and we don't know what to do with it."

Yow. Holy cow. The cellphone photos started rolling in. I never doubted my friends as to the ID, but seeing it was a whole 'nother thing. They told me that they'd heard it yowling from a drainpipe outside their garage. They figured it was a housecat that had gotten stuck in there, and were making plans to get it out when it suddenly appeared in the yard, not stuck at all, but hiding. It had a bob tail, wild spots and all,  and it was still calling for its mama. Rrrow. Rrrow. Rrrow. A hoarse, low-pitched snarly call, nothing like a housecat's, unless it were very large or very angry.

Knowing that its mother should be nearby and hearing it, they allowed it to wander around the yard, and it spent a day and a night in the woods alone. 

Its mother never came for it. 

The next day, my friends saw it walking on their road, still alone. They knew it was time to intervene.
Whatever happened to its mother--whether she was shot, trapped, hit by a car or killed by dogs, they were sure she couldn't get to her baby. My friends took the bobkit in and offered it soft canned cat food and water. It was clearly on the verge of starving.

Luckily, it had all its teeth and a powerful will to survive. It tucked into the food without hesitation. 

It was so hungry and messy as it ate that they removed the soft towels from its carrier.  Easier to clean. 
Please note tiny tufts on eartips, not to mention the wild facepaint.

That evening, they called me. 

I was galvanized into action. I didn't know much about bobcats, but I knew there was likely to be a protocol for dealing with them. I did a little rooting around online, found an old news item and called a wildlife rehabilitator near Cincinnati who apparently deals with bobcats. I called and left a message and got a quick call back. She informed me that, while she has a permit to keep a bobcat as an education animal, she's not licensed to rehabilitate them. She told me that I'd have to call my county wildlife officer first, and that he'd help me place the animal. 

It was, of course, a Sunday night. But Washington County Wildlife Officer Eric Bear picked up his phone. I was very glad to hear a live voice. The first thing he told me to do was put it back out in the woods near where it was found. I assured him my friends had covered that step admirably. 

Even though the kitten was so small, the responsibility to do right by it felt very big to me. I still couldn't believe I was about to see, and perhaps touch, this phantom of the woods. Just to house it for a little while would be a privilege.

Next: What to do with a baby bobcat?


Oh boy! Can't wait to hear more.

Over the moon, aren't 'cha , Julie??

Posted by Robin Ford June 12, 2015 at 1:55 PM

The folks at Lake Metroparks Penitentiary Glen rehab center successfully nursed two bobcat kittens to adulthood the summer of 2013.

I'm speechless and thrilled! I can't wait to hear what happens next. I know you know how much I lovelovelove bobcats.

I friggin' LOVE IT when you're galvanized! I know it's all gonna be good for lit'spittin'kitkat!

Posted by Gail Spratley June 12, 2015 at 2:58 PM

Think you need a cam for this one. We are all agog.

Sharing! Another Zick adventure!

Oh, my! What a little beauty! I can hardly wait to see how this goes, both for BB and JZ.

Oh, my! What a little beauty! I can hardly wait to see how this goes, both for BB and JZ.

More pics please!

How awesome. Can't wait to hear more on this baby bobcat story. I really do love them I think they're beautiful.

Posted by Susan Werstler June 13, 2015 at 3:44 AM

Oh, my gosh. I can't believe we have to WAIT to read the rest of this! I have become spoiled by Netflix.

We live in a suburb near Dallas/Fort Worth airport. We were astonished to see a full-grown bobcat crash into our French doors one night last winter. It was chasing something that escaped onto our roof. We were able to look at it from just a few feet away (it studied us as well,) and it was gorgeous. It looked healthy and sleek and had what resembled clouded leopard markings on its side.

I don't think it's a coincidence that the wild rabbit families disappeared from our shrubbery over the winter, which allowed my larkspurs to flower this spring for the first time in about five years. I love the larkspurs but I do miss the bunnies.

I had tears running out of my eyes and shivers down my back thinking of you with that precious baby. Go Julie!!

Bobcats are being seen more and more often in our area. I have never had the privilege of seeing one in person. I just get to see photos my friends have taken.

I helped take care of a baby bobcat at the zoo here in Missouri where i live. Beautiful animal. found as a tiny kitten, it had the run of the zoo education offices for a awhile. Used to play with it using peacock feathers found on the zoo grounds.
got more randy as it got older.I describe the behavior of an adult bobcat as Motorized Barbwire. They never really get tamed. Just somewhat tolerant of people.But boy are they gorgeous cats.Admire your close up with the kitty, Julie, when it gets to be an adult, it get hard to handle, hopefully it will be able to go back to the wild.

Hey, I think I might have read somewhere that they thrive on baby Brown Thrashers.
(The devil made me say it.)

I am in love!

helo to all here i want to rehome my 4 month bobcat my new work dont give me much time to take care of him; if you are interest email me;

Posted by Anonymous November 10, 2015 at 4:37 AM
[Back to Top]