Appx. DOB 7/1/2015
Arrived at Big Cat Rescue on 11/11/2015
Mrs Claws was rescued from Christmas, FL along with a male bobcat named Mr. Claws. Find out more about him at https://bigcatrescue.org/the-claws/ It is always our goal to send wild born cats back to the wild, but Mrs Claws failed rehab. We suspect her early brain injuries, that landed her in the hands of a rehabber in Christmas, FL were just irreversible.
MRS CLAWS UPDATE OCT 2016
Mrs. Claws was rescued when she was a tiny kitten by a rehabber in Christmas, Florida. She had been bitten in the head by an unknown animal. Her wounds were treated and fully healed during her six weeks stay at the facility.
Because Mrs. Claws was so young she would require special care and training to prepare her for a life in the wild. The rehabber knew about our bobcat rehab program and thought Big Cat Rescue would be a great place for Mrs. Claws to continue her rehabilitation. It just so happened that we had made arrangements to take in a more recent rescue from the rehabber, a young male bobcat who had suffered a broken leg. We were happy to take the pair and had hoped to raise and release them together.
Mr. Claws received the lifesaving surgery he needed and Mrs. Claws began her training in hunting and wild behaviors. Both kittens were progressing nicely and seemed very interested in one another from their neighboring enclosures.
Through careful observation the pair were introduced. They got along great for a short while. However their friendship came to an abrupt end over a scuffle involving food resulting in them having to be separated.
Mr. Claws recovered completely during the following months and was later released. Meanwhile Mrs. Claws repeatedly showed signs of mental insufficiency. At first we thought she may have a problem with her vision. She would run into doors that she had watched and heard being shut, she would nip and bite near her food using her sense of smell to pinpoint its location, and she would occasionally stumble over logs on the ground. She was examined twice and ophthalmologist Dr. Miller determined her vision was fine. Leaving us only one conclusion, she may have suffered an injury to her brain from the bite wounds that were inflicted upon her as a kitten.
Throughout her rehabilitation she was continuously tested and challenged in new ways. Her food was hidden, she was given different types of prey that would be harder to catch including birds and squirrels, and her environment was rearranged to evaluate her ability to navigate and adapt to change. She eagerly accepted each challenge sometimes conquering them and other times not. To make things worse she would succeed at something one day and fail at the same challenge the next only to succeed again the following day. Her ability to learn and her reactions were not consistent. There were times when her live prey would walk right past her and she would run in the opposite direction looking for it. There were other times when she was given whole prey and she would lose track of it and frantically look for it even though she was actually standing right on it. These occurrences were not daily, but happened enough times to cause concern. On the days Mrs. Claws caught her live prey she often would grasp it in odd locations. Instead deploying an efficient bite to the neck or head (an instinctual response) she would grab the prey mid body or by the back end leaving her face vulnerable to attacks.
Mrs. Claws also had no fear of people despite having no human interaction and her caregivers wearing camouflage ghillie suites. In one test, one of our male staff (all of her caregivers are female) was sent out to her enclosure to walk around the outside and leave. She did not run away and hide, nor did she hiss or growl. She just watched the person come and go from her perch. Subsequently, a few weeks later, another male volunteer was sent out to her enclosure. She ran right over to him and followed him around the entire perimeter purring all along the way.
Our rehab team has struggled with the inevitable determination of whether or not Mrs. Claws would be able to survive on her own in the wild. She had been taught everything we could teach her. We had hoped that with some extra time she would overcome these deficits, yet sadly she has not.
The final and most concerning scenario to take place was that of a chance encounter with four adult raccoons. Thanks to the diligent watchers of the live streaming explore.org/bigcatrescue webcam in her enclosure, footage of this encounter was captured and sent to our rehab team. Four full grown raccoons approached Mrs. Claws’ enclosure. She immediately ran over to them and rubbed her face and side along the wire. Her tail upright and flicking in a playful manner. She had no fear of these animals that would most certainly kill her in the wild. Instead she enthusiastically approached them and acted as if she wanted them to pet her. This was not a good sign and may be the final determining factor regarding her release.
MRS CLAWS FAILED REHAB
Ms. Claws has not grown like she should and has been too small to take on the kind of prey she needs to survive. We are gave her more time in rehab to put on some size (she’s fat, but tiny) and to hone her skills, but it just wasn’t enough.
For nine months our rehabbers and explore.org fans watched her day and night, LIVE in the Bobcat Rehab area: http://explore.org/live-cams/player/big-cat-rescue-bobcat-rehab-and-release
What we saw led us to try many different tests to see if there was any chance of getting her ready to survive on her own, but she just doesn’t have what it takes.
This video shows a pack of adult raccoons approaching her and instead of running, or positioning for a fight, she thought she could make friends. They would have ripped her to shreds if not for the cage wire separating them.
There are also a number of other tests to see if she would stay away from people or hunt effectively that she failed universally. Her vision was tested and seemed fine, but she consistently ran into walls, tripped over her own feet and fell off shelves. We hate to see a wild cat condemned to life in a cage, but in her case it would have been cruel to send her out on her own to be killed by the first coyote, fox or raccoon she encountered.
The FWC agreed to let her join our permanent wards for the rest of her life.
You can help us rescue, rehab and release bobcats, like Mrs Claws with the purchase of this fun, new tee called, My Bobcat’s in Rehab.
Video of Mrs Claws as a kitten on the bobcat rehab cam. Recorded: 02 02 2016 Credit: Mrs Claws- Her cuteness cannot be matched by anyone. Susann Mesna
See the video at the bottom of the page to understand why they were separated. The webcam footage is black and white and grainy because it was captured after dark using IR cameras.
September 2015 Mrs Claws:
Only a few weeks old, and not barely 3 pounds, she was being shaken to the core. She could barely breathe due to the crushing jaws that had snatched her from her den. Being shaken wildly, she could barely think, much less scream out for her mother, to return and save her. The tiny bobcat was flung into the air, and hitting the ground rolled a few feet, but before she could gather her balance to run, she was snatched up again. She was being carried away by some monster that was having fun playing with her, like she was a toy, but she was bleeding and this “toy” wasn’t going to last long.
With every last bit of strength, and every thing she learned from being raised by one of the most fierce of all felines, she bit and clawed back. She aimed for the eyes and the sensitive nose, since that’s all she could reach from her vantage point of being held in the mouth of this creature. With a yelp her freedom had been secured. She didn’t know if it would be for a moment, or for good. She had to find her mother as soon as possible. She was just too young to be dealing with this terror on her own.
She called and called, but she’d been carried too far away. Her mother couldn’t find her and she was too small and too badly injured to find her way back to the nest. But Carol Hardee, of the Wildlife Rehab Center, found her and began treating her life threatening wounds.
The kitten doubled in size, but was reaching an age when she would need to be transferred to a rehab center that could teach her to hunt. A mother will spend a year and a half, or more, teaching her kittens how to hunt, how to stay away from people and how to survive in a tough world. This kitten was about ready to make that move, to a new stage of training, when Mr. Claws arrived on the scene.
We can’t know for certain what happened to either of these kittens before they arrived here, but one thing we do know for certain is that we will always be here to help wild cats like them, as long as you are by our side.
WE SURE HOPE THEY KISS AND MAKE UP BEFORE VALENTINE’S DAY
Mr. and Mrs. Claws are in our onsite West Boensch Cat Hospital temporarily. Soon we hope to send them to a far larger outdoor space where they can begin to get ready for life in the wild. At this writing we have 6 bobcats in rehab and desperately need to build a larger rehab area to accommodate this growing need.
Mrs Claws on the way to Big Cat Rescue