Angie’s owner brought her and two cougars to Easy Street in January of 1998 saying that his county had changed their ordinances on keeping wildlife and asked if we would look after them while he moved and built new cages.
After being here nearly two years, we went ahead and built her a new cat-a-tat and as you can see from the photo she is enjoying her new found freedom.
Hunters keep trying to over rule what the vast majority of you want. Hunters want to kill bobcats. Most people want them to live in peace in the forest.
After you asked Gov. Quinn to veto the hunt, he looked at the data himself and saw that the State’s bobcat populations must continue to be protected for everyone’s interest. Despite his efforts to protect nature, in January 2015, bobcat hunting and trapping bills were introduced again.
Bobcat photo by Stan Mysliwiec
Bobcats are elusive and their populations are difficult to monitor with good research methods, making them particularly susceptible to over exploitation. If DNR has only unreliable population monitoring data, and wildlife professionals have not had a chance to develop a plan to manage for healthy populations, the State should not condone hunting.
Bobcats are killed for their pelts, which bring $90 a piece in the international market to China and other overseas countries. CITES reports that more than 57,000 bobcats die and exported this way each year. This is a cruel way to kill off our natural treasures to fill an un necessary demand for fur trimmed garments abroad.
The consensus among some wildlife biologists is that the Illinois bobcat population (estimated at a mere 3,000 animals concentrated in the southern 17 counties) can only withstand a hunt of 100-200. Some argue, this will even be too much to allow for growth and dispersion into other suitable habitat in the State.
Don’t let blood thirsty killers dictate prudent recovery of this ecologically important and beautiful species. Tell your lawmakers to oppose the bobcat hunting bills HB 352 and SB 106.
Phoenix and Captiva arrived at Big Cat Rescue on 6/25/2015 and Rain and Dancer arrived on 7/16/2015.
Phoenix and Captiva have been transitioned out to our huge rehab enclosure where they are learning to find shelter from the rain, where the best places are to stay cool during the day and are foraging on dead rats and chicks, using a Rube Goldberg Machine.
Rain and Dancer, named after losing our precious Raindance Bobcat at the age of 22, just got their SNAP test, first set of shots, de-fleaing, de-worming and are currently being kept in our West Boensch Cat Hospital onsite until they are big enough to go outside.
Rain and Dancer were found in the middle of a very busy, four lane highway in Lake Placid. The woman who rescued them took them to her vet. The tech on duty went out with the woman to see if they could locate the mother to no avail. The woman who found the kittens was so in love with them that she asked if she could keep them as pets. The tech told her that wasn’t possible and immediately began looking for a licensed wildlife rehabber who might be able to prepare these youngsters for life in the wild.
It’s fortunate for these kittens that she found Big Cat Rescue. There are a number of wildlife rehabbers in Florida, but none of the facilities offer the huge, natural enclosures, completely away from people with CCTV monitoring and proven methods for teaching the bobcats how to hunt and survive in the real world. Even though our facilities for rehab and release are the best in the state (and probably the world) we want to expand them so the cats have more room to build strong muscles and hunting skills.
We have the land, but just the first phase of construction will cost $80,000. If you would like to help click here or check out the way to give on Facebook just below the video.
Big Cat Rescue signed up with GoodWorld so that when we need the help of our social supporters we can just ask them to go to the comments section, in Facebook and write #donate and the dollar amount they want to give.
The first time they do it they will need to register with GoodWorld, but after that they can donate any time they want by just posting #donate $20, for example and their donation will be automatic, without the need for filling out more forms.
Once a supporter is registered with GoodWorld, they can use the #donate on any Facebook or Twitter site that is a member cause.
One of the bobcat kittens currently in our care received a lot of hands on attention at the facility he was originally rescued by. Pheonix was found in the ashes of a brush fire and his back and paws were singed. He required daily treatments and during this impressionable time became accustomed to being around people. When he arrived here at BCR it was evident that rehabilitating him would be a challenge. It will help that he has another bobcat kitten to socialize with, however, we were challenged with being able to provide him with food without encouraging his dependency on humans.
We created a Rube Goldberg device to deliver his food without the presence of humans. Attached to the side of his enclosure is a section of 3″ pipe that sits perpendicular to the ground. At the top of the pipe is a lid that screws off, at the bottom of the pipe is a hatch door which slides out. Attached to the handle of the hatch door is a rope that runs about 20′ away from the enclosure. The rope runs through a pulley attached to a post and then down to a bucket. There a water hose timer can be programed to drip water into the bucket over the course of a half hour. After a half hour there is enough water in the bucket to make it heavy enough to fall to the ground. This pulls the rope, which pulls the handle, which opens the hatch releasing the food into the enclosure. This device allows us to place the food, set the timer for 30 minutes, and leave the scene. It is our hope that by removing ourselves from the scene this young bobcat will stop viewing humans as a source for food.
When some baby bobcats come to us for rehab and release, they have been handled too much by people. Sometimes this is because of the extensive medical care they may need upon arrival, so the best we can do is start training them to avoid people and to NOT associate people with food as soon as possible. Watch Dr. Justin Boorstein, DVM and Jamie Veronica Boorstein as they create a Rube Goldberg machine.
Died July 5, 2015
Raindance came to Big Cat Rescue from a fur farm in Minnesota. We had ordered six Bobcat kittens by phone, but were told that we must pick them up in person. We traveled to Minnesota, and when we arrived, we saw a sign out front that said “Fur Farm”. We thought that the sign probably only applied to the mink and foxes being raised there (although that is bad enough).
We asked what they do with the Bobcats, Canadian, and Siberian Lynx kittens that aren’t sold to pet homes, and we were told that they would be “harvested” at one year for their fur. We asked how many more kittens were there and found out that the 50 left would be slaughtered the next year.
We came home with 56 kittens that Spring and life has never been the same. They were all under four weeks of age and many had to be fed every two hours. We employed family, friends, and anyone who could hold a bottle to keep them all fed and clean. Raindance was one of those kittens. We later rescued the adults.
Fast forward 20 years:
Raindance has suffered from collapsed ankles when she got into her twenties, but has otherwise been very healthy for most of her life.
At the age of 22 she stopped eating so we did diagnostics that showed her to be in kidney failure and we found some bad teeth. We extracted the bad teeth, but getting her to eat is proving difficult. It is always a difficult situation because we give the cats medication to manage their pain after surgery, but those medications often cause cats to not want to eat. We give appetite stimulants, if we can, but those are pills and you have to get the cat to eat in order to get the pill in them.
We break their meals up into smaller feedings and feed off a stick, which all cats seem to prefer for some odd reason. In Raindance’s case we know her kidneys are going and that can make her not feel like eating. We don’t want to give up on her too quickly though because we don’t know if it is the teeth, the pain meds or the kidneys that are keeping her from eating.
July 5, 2015 It is with a heavy heart that I must report that Raindance has left us to join her mate who died in 1994. Thank you ALL for giving her the best 22 years any captive bobcat could have.
When she stopped eating last week we did diagnostics and found some bad teeth and very bad kidneys. We hoped that by removing the bad teeth, as we did for Little Feather who had the same issues, that we might be able to turn it around for Raindance. We had to use appetite stimulants to get her to eat after the dental, but yesterday she couldn’t keep the food down and today she refused any food or even the ‘cicles she loves so much. Cats are so stoic, it’s always hard to tell, but she appeared to be in pain and feeling nauseous from her failing kidneys. You could see it in her eyes and her countenance that she was done with this life.
I went to her web page to gather information for her tribute which will be posted July 12 (please don’t post on social sites until then) and noticed that neither there, nor on this site, was any mention of how she got her name. I thought you might like to know.
Here is my diary entry from Feb. 14, 1994:
Valentine’s Day and I’m being loved to death by a Bobcat. Raindance has a coat like water spotted silk and a personality to match. Only her mate, Bob Martin, was sweeter. He died a few weeks ago from Hepatic Lipidosis and Raindance still holds on by a hope and a prayer. I loved Bob Martin and mourn his passing.
Bob Martin came by his name as an inside joke. (my late husband, Don, had lied to me when we met and told me his name was Bob Martin) Danny Lewis (Don Lewis’ son) wanted a pair of kittens to raise, so I selected him two kittens from the fur farm rescue.
Five months later Danny was separated from his wife Janice and brought the bobcats back to us. We couldn’t believe these were the same two cats. They didn’t have names so we named the female Raindance and the male Bob Martin.
The problem was that they were SO obese that when they started getting a decent diet here, they lost weight too quickly. The fat clogged their arteries so badly that Bob Martin died and Raindance just barely survived.
Raindance got her name because she loved to splash around in the rain. She would run and pounce into any muddy puddle she could. By the time she was done, you couldn’t even tell who she was, other than her bright, happy eyes gleaming behind a mud soaked coat. The other cats would run from her when she was in muddy-up-and-pounce mode. She quickly became a huge favorite at the sanctuary and it may have been largely due to the fact that she had to be groomed so much, given her proclivity for dancing in the rain. We stopped handling cats circa 2003 because we felt it sent a very bad message and would make people want them as pets. They are only lovable like this for the first year or two, and then they become who they were meant to be; top level predators.
Despite being hands off with her for the past dozen years, Raindance was still probably our biggest volunteer recruiter. I can’t tell you how many times someone told me the reason they were volunteering here is that they came on a tour and Raindance spoke to them. She’s never been a talker, like Reise, but she spoke with her heart. Yesterday I was in awe of a black and gold butterfly, that was bigger than my hand, and seemed to be everywhere on property. Perhaps her kin, calling her home. We will all miss this exceptional bobcat, but her spirit will forever be in our hearts and in the ether of our mission.
Most of our bobcats were rescues from fur farms. The deal Our Co-Founder made with the three fur farms we discovered in the U.S. was that he would pay top dollar for every cat and kitten they had as long as the fur farmer would agree to never buy and breed cats again for slaughter. It came at a time that the public outcry was against the fur industry. Many of these animals were purchased at auctions where the uncaring owners were dumping the cats with no concern about their welfare. There is much controversy over whether we did the right thing by paying the ransom for these cats. We still accept many unwanted cats each year, but do not pay for them and typically require that their owner surrender their license, in an attempt to keep people from just trading in their cats each year for a newer, cuter model. We have to turn away more than 100 cats each year due to a lack of space and funds and the lack of regulation of the exotic pet trade. Read more about our Evolution of Thought HERE
Befitting her name, Breezy’s cat-a-tat is naturally located on the lakeshore where she enjoys our tropical breezes. This little bobcat, though hand-raised, only bonded with her foster mother and is still timid around strangers.
She has a very lush enclosure with many hiding places to make her feel safe and comfortable. Occasionally, she sleeps up in her oak tree, comes out to enjoy enrichment items put in her cat-a-tat, or watches the ducks, peacocks, and swans as they wander by. When she does, it is the perfect opportunity for everyone to get a good view of this beautiful bobcat.
Most of our bobcats were rescued from fur farms where they were being raised to slaughter for their fur. Some were being sold at auction where taxidermists would buy them and club them to death in the parking lot, but a few were born here in the early days when we were ignorant of the truth and were being told by the breeders and dealers that these cats should be bred for “conservation.” Once we learned that there are NO captive breeding programs that actually contribute to conservation in the wild we began neutering and spaying our cats in the mid 1990’s. Knowing what we do about the intelligence and magnificence of these creatures we do not believe that exotic cats should be bred for lives in cages. Read more about our Evolution of Thought HERE