The Fund for Animals Wildlife Center rehabilitation specialists recently enjoyed seeing the young bobcats in their care show off their adult feline traits: hissing, growling, and generally acting like wild animals.
"They have to hiss and growl and show us how nasty they can be. If they didn’t act this way, then it wouldn’t be right to release them. Their best chance of survival in the wild is to stay as far away from humans as possible. And we have to teach them that we are not their friends, even though we are," said Ali Crumpacker, The Fund for Animals Wildlife Center’s director.
Although they look like a matched set, these bobcat kittens came from different places.
One baby male bobcat was found in a backyard. The blue-eyed kitten mewed softly at the woman who found him and he stole her heart. She immediately scoped him up, believing him to be just a domestic cat, and took him home. Fortunately, her husband knew exactly what the spotted, stubby tailed baby was and called the Wildlife Center. The bobcat arrived at the facility the next day where he received a complete medical exam.
"Orphaned bobcats should never be raised by humans who haven’t received training in wildlife rehabilitation. They should also never be raised without another bobcat," said Crumpacker. Luckily for this bobcat baby, three more orphaned kittens ended up at the Wildlife Center this summer.
All had similar stories. They were all found alone without signs of a mother cat nearby. The last bobcat to arrive had 167 ticks on her, she was so weak form the loss of blood she could not move her legs.
With each of these new arrivals, the Wildlife Center’s experienced staff started the patients on the path to healing and an eventual return to the wild.
After a short stay in quarantine, the male kittens were introduced. "The first time the two brothers met each other, the original kitten enthusiastically rushed over in joy at having a buddy and was met with a fierce hissing by the newest boy," Crumpacker recalled. "The look of utter shock on his face, like 'you don’t want to be my friend?" was too precious not to laugh at."
However, within 48 hours, the pair were cuddled up together. The two girls were added a few weeks later and now all four are living in a pre-release enclosure where they can spend all day practicing their tree climbing skills and chasing shadows. In preparation for their release later this year, the rehabilitators who have tended to their every needs now love them from a distance.
The Fund for Animals Wildlife Center in California is operated by the Humane Society of the United States and The Fund for Animals. This year, more than 400 wild animals were treated at the center.
GreaterGood.org supports the Fund for Animals through contributions from The Animal Rescue Site’s "Click Here To Give" program.
Photo of young bobcats courtesy of The Fund for Animals Wildlife Center