Born 1995 Rescued 11/13/98 Died 10/19/17
Banshee was a pet, but when his owner had business out of the country she asked if she could board him here at Big Cat Rescue. She came and stayed two days with him to make sure that he was comfortable and left him with all his favorite toys. She cried and cried at the thought of leaving him and assured us she would be back in a couple months.
In September of 1999 she wrote and said that a Bobcat was no longer a feasible pet for her at this time and that she would be leaving Banshee with us until her situation changed. We went ahead and built him his own 900 square foot Cat-A-Tat and for the first time in his life he was able to climb trees, hide in the bushes and stalk bugs and prey.
Banshee's owner visited him twice after leaving him here, and both times Banshee pined for her for days. His little heart would break every time she left him again, and for a week or more he'd refuse to eat. She quit visiting back in the 90s and Banshee finally settled into the routines of the sanctuary.
Bobcats, like most exotic cats, only bond to the person who bottle raises them, but when they become adults they pee all over everything (male or female, neutered or not) and that's when their owners decide they don't have room in their lives for this "pet." They always have some other excuse, but let's face it; having a pet pee all over you, and everything you own, as a way of saying, "this person is mine," just doesn't appeal to anyone.
You would think, with a name like Banshee, that he would have been a terrifying bobcat, but it was like someone naming their poodle Fang. Banshee was timid and no matter how many times you've visited Big Cat Rescue, I dare say, you never saw Banshee. He loved the dens because he could watch what was going on around him without being seen. When he got an upgrade to a cage that had one of the huge, 8 x 12 foot concrete dens, that was set into a hill, Banshee thought he'd been moved to the Presidential Suite.
Now he had a lot of room, under the cover of darkness, where he could dance around naked, if he wanted to, and no one could see him. And the Coolaroo Hammock! Oh my! That was a new luxury for these old bones.
It made caring for him even harder, but as his health declined, his keepers never gave up on him. They coaxed, and coaxed and coaxed to be sure he ate enough each day. But then the dreaded day came...no matter how much coaxing, he'd peer back at them from his den, but he wouldn't step out to eat. Pushing the food to him wasn't enticing him either. By the third day we knew something was wrong and Dr. Justin came out to see him.
We were praying that it would be a simple tooth extraction, or two, and Banshee would be back to himself again, but that was wishful thinking. Banshee was 22 years old. Twice as long as bobcats usually live and his blood work, X-rays and ultrasound showed that his little broken heart was failing. We turned off the live webcams and gathered around his sleeping body to ease him into his next great adventure. After surviving heartbreak after heartbreak, and being strong enough to live so long, we hope his next life starts off with all of the inner strength and confidence he learned this time around.
More photos of Banshee Bobcat
Feel free to post your tributes to Banshee in the comments below.