Appx. DOB: 4/1/2021
Rescue Date: 5/15/2021
Release Date: 4/26/2022
In May 2021, it started raining baby bobcats with six, yes SIX, bobcat kittens arriving within 48 hours of each other! On May 4th we answered a call about a bobcat who had been hit by a car and died while the caller was still on the phone with us. She was 3 hours away, so we alerted the Florida Wildlife Commission about the bobcat so they could test her for FLM (a disease that is wiping out the fragile Florida Panther population and bobcats all over the state). During the necropsy they discovered she had been nursing kittens and the search was on!
Thirteen days later, Wild Florida Rescue got a tip and found Lily, Denali & Ambrose. How the kittens survived thirteen days without their mother is a mystery. Wild Florida Rescue rushed the starving, dehydrated babies to their vet for emergency overnight care. They then called Big Cat Rescue asking if we would continue their intensive care and, if they survived, their rehab for release back to the wild.
But it did not stop there! Baby bobcat Cahiha had been orphaned in another unrelated situation and is a little older than Lily, Denali & Ambrose. Heather, Chystene, and Zeus, of Wild Florida Rescue learned of this lone bobcat kitten and everyone agreed it would be best if she could be raised with or near the other three. They drove across the state to deliver all four to our onsite Bobcat Rehab Hospital where they were checked by the vet and started the long road to recovery. And then, within 48 hours, we received yet another bobcat call about two six-month old mange covered siblings, Pia &; Venkman. Ewww! If you’ve NEVER experienced scabies, count yourself lucky. Just the sight of it and we all start scratching! When your pet contracts mange, you can wash them and treat them internally. But bobcats in the bath? No way! It will take a little longer and we will have to monitor their recovery to be sure there is no relapse. But they have an excellent shot at going free one day soon. Your generous donations continue to fund our important rescue and rehab program for Florida native wild bobcats, so thank you!
June 23, 2021 Rehab bobcat exam today. Cahira was swabbed to test for calicivirus.
She is almost done with her course of medications and the ulcers in her mouth have healed.
Her x rays of her lungs looked good as well.
July 15, 2021 Cahira and Byrdie were introduced in the late afternoon. So far so good.
Cahira is really excited to have a playmate again! Byrdie is also very intrigued by her new roomy. BigCatRescue.org/Byrdie
July 21, 2021 Cahira was noted by Keeper Karma to be squinting and not wanting to come out of her den. The area around the eye is very puffy and the eyelids themselves are nearly swollen shut. She was captured and moved back indoors where she will be monitored and has started a course of medication including antibiotics, anti-inflammatories, antihistamines, and pain medication. We are unsure if she was scratched in the eye by her playmate Byrdie, by her live prey, by a stick or something as she was running thru the enclosure or if she was stung by wasps. While indoors she will get 8 ounces of mush a.m. and p.m. with her meds in the food.
July 29, 2021 UPDATE ON CAHIRA the REHAB BOBCAT
Cahira’s eye looks much better so she was moved back outside and we will continue to monitor. She is separated from Byrdie for today but will have full access tomorrow.
August 1, 2021 Byrdie and Cahira- girl talk in Bobcat Rehab
Cahira doing bobcat things in rehab!
Update from Jamie 2/21/2022
This photo is the epitome of this dynamic duo. Cahira, the cut up clown, and Byrdie the serious bruiting type. Cahira and Byrdie are finally big enough to be collared. We captured both last week to get current weights on them. Byrdie weighed 15 pounds and Cahira 19 pounds! They will soon be on to their next big adventure This duo will be fitted with radio and gps collars to study their behavior and movements post release. They will be the second pair of our rehabilitated cats to be collared and studied by the fish and wildlife service.
Wild bobcats come to Big Cat Rescue for two reasons:
Injuries such as having been hit by cars or disease, illness, birth defects.
Kittens that have been separated from their mothers or orphaned and are too young to survive in the wild.
Upon arrival, the cats receive a full exam and given whatever medical care is needed for their injuries or illness. Blood is drawn and tested for infectious diseases. They are vaccinated, dewormed, and flea treated.
Injured cats are given the time and supportive care they need to heal. They must prove they can hunt and survive before being released. Our six rehab pens are 230 feet long by 20 feet wide giving the cats 4600 square feet of natural space to learn their skills.
When possible kittens are given a domestic surrogate mother. When a surrogate is not available the kittens are bottle fed but weaned from the bottle as soon as possible. They are then raised with as little human contact as possible and given opportunities to learn to hunt.
Rehabbing and releasing bobcats is much more difficult than the rehabilitation of most wildlife. These magnificent little wildcats need every opportunity to fulfill their role in nature and Big Cat Rescue is here to give them that second chance.
While we do bobcat rescue, rehab and release in Florida, we will not relocate bobcats as state law requires that they are released very near where they were captured. They must be released on at least 40 acres and we must get written permission from the owner/manager of the property.
Big Cat Rescue has decades of experience rehabbing and releasing bobcats back to the wild where they belong. We provide huge, naturalistic enclosures where these cats can learn or perfect their hunting skills before being released back to the wild. We have trained staff who are experts at capturing an injured bobcat or hand-rearing orphaned bobcats until a surrogate can be found.
We go to great lengths to keep these wild cats from imprinting on humans and monitor their care via surveillance cameras to make sure they are thriving. When they are healed, or old enough for release (about 18 months of age) we find the best habitat possible for sustaining them and set them free to live out the life that nature intended.
Support The Bobcat Rehab Program
Will YOU Help us Rehab & Release more wild bobcats?
This rehab and release program is made possible by donations from friends like you. Your donation is tax deductible.
Did You Know? Here at Big Cat Rescue, literally 100% of your donations are spent directly FOR THE CATS!!! We are able to adhere to that strict policy because the other sanctuary expenses, administrative expenses, salaries etc come out of tour fees and other sources of income. We are extremely serious about donations being used JUST FOR THE CATS!
Because of adhering to that strict policy regarding donations, and all of the other ways Big Cat Rescue is transparent in our operations, we have earned Charity Navigator‘s highest 4-star rating for “sound fiscal management and commitment to accountability and transparency” EVERY YEAR since we were first evaluated by them in 2010. CharityNavigator.org
Donate towards the rehabilitation and care of a native Florida bobcat at Big Cat Rescue. Donors who contribute $500 and up to support the bobcats will receive a beautiful ceramic tile with a color image of the most recent rehab bobcat and the donor name that will be displayed in the tour waiting area for a year and then permanently installed at the sanctuary.
If you are interested in supporting the rehab bobcats go to https://big-cat-rescue.myshopify.com/collections/bobcat-rehab/products/bobcat-rehabilitation-program
Bobcat Rehab Gear
You can find shirts, tote bags, mugs, necklaces, mousepads and so many more fun items featuring Rehab Bobcats in our online gift shops. Go to reach gift shop linked below and search “Rehab bobcat.” Your PURRchases of Rehab bobcat Gear helps us provide for all the cats at Big Cat Rescue and work toward ending the abuse and exploitation of big cats.
Donating at NO COST to YOU!!
You can donate to the cats at NO COST TO YOU when you select BCR as your charity on Amazon Smile and shop Smile.Amazon.com instead of Amazon.com. It is exactly the same as regular Amazon EXCEPT when you use the Smile URL Amazon donates .5% of your purchase to BCR. It’s added up to over $89,000 for the cats!
Please visit BigCatRescue.org/amazon-smile for how to sign up and let us know you did so we can thank you. 🙂
Update from Jamie:
What a long day but we got so much done! Aside from all the cat moves off and on vacation we captured Cahira and Byrdie to be collared prior to their release.
Byrdie weighed in at approximately 15.5 pounds and Cahira at 18.5! The process of collaring went smoothly.
The data collected after their release will provide crucial information on our native bobcats.
Both will be released after the end of March which is the close of season on these beautiful wildcats. (Hopefully one day we can shut down hunting of them all together).
Byrdie’s collaring went off without a hitch.
Cahira on the other hand was full of surprises. During her exam it was discovered that her adult canine on the upper right side never fully erupted and the root had resorbed. The neighboring upper molar was also defective. In addition she had cracked her lower canine on the same side. All three teeth were extracted. They were very thin and brittle. The rest of her teeth look great and since she is such a good hunter already we do not believe the loss of these teeth will impair her. She will actually feel much better now that they are gone and no longer painful.
Cahira and Byrdie will both go back out to rehab tomorrow but will remain separated for 10 days as Cahira will be on a soft food diet while her mouth heals.
April 26, 2022 Update
Cahira and Byrdie are home!!! It was bittersweet seeing these two go. Cahira went through so much veterinary treatment and ups and downs as a kitten. Today she weighed in at 20.5 pounds and is the most beautiful bobcat ever . Byrdie has transformed from a frail emaciated kitten that literally collapsed in the garden of a couple of elderly bird watchers to the bold and fierce bobcat she is today. She weighed 16.5 pounds. The two were reluctant at first but after some prodding they both left their transports and made a mad dash to the forest edge. The scene was out of a storybook with woodland creatures all around. Cahira and Byrdie have such a wonderful new home and I am excited to get a peek into their next big adventure.
Cahira and Byrdie’s release back to the wild!
Update May 31, 2022
Updates from the Field: Check out what our bobcats are doing in the wild! Pia’s territory is in blue, Byrdie’s is in pink and Cahira’s is in purple. The scale of the map is approximately 20 miles across.Unfortunately Cahira’s collar stopped working the day after release, so we do not have much data on her whereabouts. We are hoping to spot her on one of the many deployed camera traps in the area, but if she moves off of the release site grounds we may not get any further information.Byrdie has been very busy traveling all over the place scouting out an area to call her own. She has overlapped Pia a little bit, perhaps if they run into one another in the wild they will recognize each other.Pia continues to do well. She is more established and has a pretty set home territory now.(The map background has been altered to protect the exact location of Pia.)Learn more about Byrdie‘s and Pia’s rehab and release.