Dateline – December 7, 2014
As the calendar page turned to December it was time for us to pay Josey the orphaned Bobcat kitten a visit once again. It has been almost three months since we last checked in on Josey, and we were excited to see how she was doing.
Josey has been under the care of the good folks at the Wildlife Center at Crosstimbers Ranch (WCCR) since she was found orphaned way back in April of 2014. Under their dedicated care Josey has continued to grow and to thrive.
As is usually the case when we arrive at the wildlife center, before we can see Josey there are a few formalities that must be attended to first. A grand menagerie of dogs, cats, and horses appear as if from nowhere to welcome you to the center. All appreciate a quick pat or scratch behind the ears, and we wouldn’t have it any other way!
Next, we stopped by the special enclosure holding the rehabbed Bobcats who will be ready for reintroduction into the wild later this spring. Most of these cats are simply waiting for a time when the weather and other factors will be optimal for their eventual release. The warmer weather and abundance of prey in spring make it the best time to give these cats their second chance.
Unlike most of the other residents of the wildlife center, these Bobcats do not enjoy visitors—and that is by design. Cats that will be returned to the wild have limited interactions with the staff so that they retain their natural wariness of humans. Staying clear of people will give these Bobcats their best chance for success once they are on their own again.
The plan is that Josey will be returned to the wild some time this spring as well. Efforts are being made to ensure that she stays as wild as possible in preparation for her eventual release. To this end, Josey remains aloof and uneasy around visitors—which is exactly how we wanted her to be.
Josey tolerated a few pictures as she sat on a perch in her enclosure, but when we got a little too close her demeanor changed noticeably. A growl and a hiss let us know when she’d had enough!
Josey is right around 10 months old now, and she continues to do well. She is healthy and strong, and is right on track for her planned release later next year. We will hate to see her go when the time comes, but man, are we excited about that day! What a wonderful second chance this orphaned Bobcat kitten has been given by the dedicated staff at the WCCR.
For this visit we also had a little something special planned. We were hoping to spend a little time in with the non-releasable juvenile Bobcats in order to try and take a few closeup portraits.
We knew this would be a challenging assignment because young Bobcats REALLY like to play and are never still for long. They also become very interested in anything new introduced into their enclosure, and our backdrop soon became the focus of their attention. Sometimes this worked in our favor, and other times it created a hilarious comedy of errors!
We started our session with Devon and Elliot. You may remember from a previous post that these two kitten came to the center after receiving severe burns when the brush pile they were denning in was set afire. The recovery of these two cats has been nothing short of amazing. Their wounds are completely healed now, they have become healthy, rambunctious, and engaging young Bobcats.
In the next enclosure over we found Crystal, a young female Bobcat. Crystal is one of my favorite cats at the center. She loves attention and is very engaging and affectionate. Crystal has has an expressive face and I really enjoy taking pictures of her. Between play sessions we managed to get a few nice photographs of this wonderful Bobcat as well.
The folks at the Wildlife Center at Crosstimber Ranch hope to eventually place some of these young Bobcats with licensed zoos and other accredited facilities. If you represent an AZA and/or USDA accredited facility and would like to acquire one of these Bobcats please contact the Wildlife Center at Crosstimbers Ranch or the National Bobcat Rescue and Research Center to make arrangements:
- Contact Form: Bobcat Placement
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Finally, I want to close with a gentle reminder. Bobcat kittens are beyond cute and are very endearing, but as is the case with all wild animals, they do not make good pets. Bobcats require a tremendous amount of very specialized care, which should be provided by licensed wildlife rehabilitators only. When Bobcat kittens become older, the challenges involved in their care begin to grow as well. Young adult Bobcats quickly become unmanageable when kept in a domestic environment.
Many of the non-releasable Bobcats at the Wildlife Center at Crosstimbers Ranch were turned over to the center when the cats became too much for their owners to handle. Imprinted on humans, and without the skills they need to survive on their own, these cats will never be releasable back into the wild. They will be forced to live out the rest of their lives restricted to the confines of their enclosures. Please do not try to keep a Bobcat as a pet.
Caring for Bobcats and other wildlife is also a very an expensive proposition. Both of these organizations—The Wildlife Center at Crosstimbers Ranch and National Bobcat Rescue and Research—rely on your generosity for many of their operating needs. Baby season is fast approaching and soon there will be many more small mouths to feed. If you would like to make a tax deductible donation of money or in supplies please follow the links below: