Fla. Cat Is Surrogate Mom For Bobcat Kittens

All you cat lovers out there, prepare to have your hearts melted. A Florida cat has graciously become a surrogate mother to three tiny bobcat kittens.

SLIDESHOW: See The Bobcat Kittens

"We got a call from a clinic in Alabama about a hunter that took in three kittens and asked if they could teach him to nurse them so he could give them to his kids as pets,” Big Cat Rescue President Jamie Veronica said.

The clinic took the kittens in, but called Big Cat Rescue.

“They really don't make good pets,” Veronica said.

That's because they're bobcat kittens and, once they got to Tampa, they needed a new mom to help nurse them to health. So they called Rick Chaboudy from the Suncoast Animal League.

“We happened to have a kitty that sounded like it fit the bill,” Chaboudy said.

Bobbi is a stray cat from Palm Harbor. She recently took in two stray kittens into its litter, but bobcat kittens?

“We put the first little bobcat kitten in at first,” Chaboudy said. “As soon as she heard the little bobcat kittens crying that motherly instinct kicked in and she laid on her side and kicked up her legs and rang the dinner bell.”

They're taking a hands-off approach to raising the kittens with minimal human contact, because they're planning to release the bobcats into the wild next spring.

“That's why we got this domestic cat mom to help raise them so they're not bonding to us during the stages of nursing. They'll bond to the domestic cat. The kittens in the litter are domestic, will teach them how to be a cat,” Veronica said.

In the meantime, Bobbi will have her paws full with the baby bobcats until they move on to hard food in a few weeks

"Given the fact that she'll be present with these bobcat kittens for a few more weeks, her presence will be with them for the rest of their lives,” Chaboudy said.

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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