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Bobcats are shy and illusive. They are most active at night since that is when their prey is most available. They provide great rodent control but often succumb to rodenticide poisoning from eating dying rats and mice. These beautiful creatures are often seen by ranch owners as the rodent and rabbit populations are abundant.  They live solitary lives except when a mother gives birth . The father plays no part in raising the 2 or more babies. They are territorial and their range varies according to food availability. Bobcats do not typically pose a threat to humans and even a small child just doesn't resemble a tasty bunny. As long as a bobcat has an escape route, it will always choose to avoid human confrontation, however, if cornered, it will not back down and will defend itself aggressively.

Bobcat Garden 202

This cat took off after she was spotted . She was coming into the yard from the gap under the fence to look for rats hiding in the wood pile.

As bobcats age, they may develop cataracts or kidney failure and in the summer, contract sarcoptic mange. This mite burrows into the hair follicle which makes the animal scratch to the point that they bleed. The mite then feeds from the blood serum. Some animals may become so debilitated that you can walk right up to them. They will be covered in scabs with missing fur and appear lethargic and are usually dehydrated and emaciated. This is the time to call a wildlife expert to help you. .With treatment, these animals can recover 100% . Keep children and pets away but keep track of where the animal is if it gets up to move. If a wildlife rehabilitator can't be reached immediately, call your animal control officer or game warden to come and get the cat. Make sure that they have contact with a rehabilitator with bobcat experience that care properly treat the animal.

Female bobcat recovered 
from  a bad case of sarcoptic mange

Many bobcats are hit by vehicles and these injuries often prove to be fatal. Since bobcats are so shy, even after they have been badly hurt from a car hit, they will try to crawl away from sight, often dying a slow painful death. When a bobcat cannot drag itself away to hide, and is brought in for care, it often means that their injuries are so bad that they can't be saved. Highways are extremely dangerous for females as they may have young that will starve to death after she has been hit and doesnt return with a meal. Wildlife passages should be made mandatory to allow all species to cross highways safely so their hunting ground can be increased as well as gaining access to a potential mate.

Male bobcat. Car hit survivor

This large male bobcat suffered serious spinal damage according to the x rays. Because he had feeling and movement in his hind feet, we decided to give him a chance. He was standing in a few days and even though he needed five months to completely recover, he was released with a clean bill of health.

If you find a baby bobcat that you think is orphaned, please get it to a rehabilitator immediately. Put it in a pet carrier or box, away from pets, people, children. and household activity. Keep it covered and do not handle it no matter how cute it is. You may ruin its chances for release the longer you have it in your care. Do not try and bottle feed it while you are waiting for a call back as baby bobcats are eating solids alot sooner than you may think. When we receive an orphaned bobcat into our care, every effort is made to get it with another baby to help avoid habituation . Handling is kept to a minimum and talking and visual contact is avoided whenever possible.

Baby Bob1
Cerval unpright

Having a bobcat(or any purebred exotic cat) as a pet in California is illegal Each year, cats are confiscated  from their owners and have to find new homes at licensed sanctuary's. Cats that are declawed, often suffer with tender feet especially when they gain weight from improper diets and decreased activity. Many of these illegal "pets", have unpredictable personalities. A seemingly friendly cat may want its head or back scratched  one minute and then want to bite or swat your hand the next. This makes these cats difficult to place as no one wants to put their animal keepers at risk of injury. Educational facilities find these animals difficult to work with as they have had no training and are past the point of learning. Both male and female bobcats spray and when they are not de-clawed, their talons are razor sharp. Even if you think that you have a well cared for cat, imagine how you will feel when it is confiscated and you dont know where it's gone. Its not worth the heartache for all involved, just ask those who have been caught. 

Millions of homeless domestic cats are euthanized each year. Keep the bobcats in the wild where they belong and adopt a shelter cat instead. If you are looking for something a little more "wild", check out their feral cat room. You will be sure to find something to take home.

Copyright © 2004 Nicky Thole/Karin Beer-Koller
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. For viewing purposes only. Downloading for commercial use will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.