Today (10/30/09) at 4:00 Dr. Deborah L. Sullivan of the Suncoast Veterinary Care Center called Big Cat Rescue reporting that a good Samaritan had retrieved a bobcat who had been hit on SR 54 and tied the cat in the back of his truck and drove him to the first Veterinary Clinic he saw. Upon arrival the bobcat leaped from the truck but was stunned enough from the impact that Dr. Sullivan and Dr. Shreeve were able to hand inject him with a sedative as he was conscious enough to strike out.
He had been hit by one car and then ran into two other cars. The vets rushed him into X-ray to see if there were any broken limbs or spinal injuries. Blood seemed to be flowing from his mouth, which would indicate severe internal injuries, but it turned out to be from a gaping wound under his chin. Satisfied that he was probably just suffering from shock and a concussion Dr. Sullivan set out to find a rehabber who would actually enable this cat to go back to the wild rather than trying to make a pet or a prop out of him.
The bobcat was a beautiful 23 lb. male and appeared to be about a year and a half old to two years old judging by his size, his magnificent teeth and his otherwise virtually untattered appearance. He was probably just now being pushed out of his mother's territory and thus crossing six lanes of traffic to do it. Big Cat Rescue Rehabber and President, Jamie Veronica and CEO Carole Baskin mused as to if he could be Hope's long lost brother. It was only two miles away that Hope was found as a tiny kitten dropped alongside a road about a year and a half ago. Jamie had suspected then that a mother bobcat had been moving her brood and had somehow dropped Hope and that is why she searched so long for her to try and reunite the two, but never heard her call to the baby and finally gave up.
The bobcat was still sleeping peacefully from the sedation so Big Cat Rescuers decided to swing by their own Vet's office to have blood work done. It looked like this male would be fine to set free after a few days of recuperation, but he would need to be tested for FIV (the feline version of aids) before doing so to insure the safety of the resident population of bobcats. While there, Dr. Addler stitched up a couple of his wounds and X-rayed his head. It is amazing that a cat could take such a hard blow from a moving car and not just be crushed inside that sleek, furred skin. The X-rays showed no fractures and his blood test came back negative for FIV so all was looking good for him.
It was 7 PM on the eve of the night tour at Big Cat Rescue so there were plenty of hands on deck to help unload him into the cat hospital and get him set up in the squeeze cage before he woke up. This will enable his caregivers to give injectable antibiotics, if he doesn't eat food with pills in it, and give him fluids if he can't or won't drink on his own. Jamie Veronica checked in on the bobcat at 9 PM and he was sleeping upon arrival, but then sat up when he heard her. She moved her hand quietly from side to side and he was able to follow it with eyes that glowed golden even more hauntingly than the jack-o-lanterns in the parking lot. He seems to respond to sound as well.
The plan is that on Saturday the Volunteer team will make ready the rehab cage, where Hope used to live, so that he can have a few days to gather his wits about him and recover from the impact and the trauma. He will them be set free to find his path in life. You can help support rescues like this and provide the medical care needed in such emergencies here: https://bigcatrescue.org/donate.htm
Videos about Hope the Bobcat's rehab and release here: https://bigcatrescue.org/video/00280.htm
For the cats,
Carole Baskin, CEO of Big Cat Rescue
an Educational Sanctuary home
to more than 100 big cats
12802 Easy Street Tampa, FL 33625
813.493.4564 fax 885.4457
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