Wild Instincts is on-call for animal emergencies 24/7/365. This means we’re never quite sure what will happen at any given time. It means that our plans change in an instance sometimes and we are always adapting. Generally, we plan for “what if”. That means almost always if we go somewhere, we take separate vehicles. Always during Baby Season. Not always in the Off-Season.
Such was the case on January 9th, when we decided to take Sharon’s dad out for lunch. For just an hour or so, we decided to take the chance and all piled in his van to go to the restaurant.
As soon as our food was in front of us, the phone rang. While driving on the highway, a woman saw what she thought might be someone’s house cat on the side of the road. She stopped to make sure it wasn’t hurt. It wasn’t a house cat, but a bobcat kitten. And as soon as she stopped and got out to check on it, it ducked under her car!
It didn’t seem like a domestic cat. She got out her cell phone and called us. She didn’t want us to come out if was a domestic cat so she texted us photos.
Yes. It certainly looked like a bobcat kitten.
Oops. We lost gambling on the carpool. We would have to go back and get our van with all the rescue gear. It would take us about 30-45 minutes to get to her location. She said she would wait.
Sharon’s dad, the consummate trucker with diesel in his veins, was a good sport about inhaling his food and getting us back to our van.
And the caller did wait; standing outside of her car on the side of the highway in the cold temperatures because she didn’t want to get back in her car or start it and scare the poor thing away from getting help.
When we pulled up, she was standing near her car, cheeks bright red from the windy cold. True to feline form, the bobcat who had huddled under her car, waiting for us to get there, went into the woods near the road when we arrived. But it was in really rough shape, so it didn’t go far. A catch-pole, a net and Mark & Sharon trudging in the snow in the swamp had it rounded up and in a nice, warm vehicle within 15 minutes.
Bobcats cycle into estrus throughout the year, so bobcat kits can be born at any time of year. She obviously got separated from her mom somehow. She should have weighed close to 8 lbs, but was not even 5 lbs, very thin and very weak.
She is now doing very well and making up for lost time in the dining room! In fact, she is doing so well, she will be moved outside in a few days. Where she’ll stay, growing and maturing until she’s ready to be released in the spring.