Wild Bobcat Hit by a Car on Christmas Day

An injured bobcat was left on the side of the road for dead on Christmas until a wonderful family stepped in to help her. Noel has two broken legs repaired by our vet in hopes to give her a second chance.

Here is a an overview video covering Dec 25th through January 23rd.  Below this video is a chronological listing of updates on Noel’s progress.

Follow Her Story from her rescue to current day

Noel Arrives

Her name is Noel, a name given by the concerned viewers who watched her arrival at the sanctuary hospital and her medical exam.

On Christmas Day, around 3:00 pm a family saw an injured bobcat by the highway.  They called the police and were told they would take care of it.  However, when the concerned family went back out about 9:00 pm to check, sadly, the poor injured bobcat was still there waiting for help to arrive.

Unwilling to forsake this precious injured cat, the good Samaritans were wise enough to call Christin Burford, who went out and captured the injured bobcat.  The poor cat was too injured to stand or walk but tried to scrabble away before collapsing.

The morning after Christmas was spent with Christin trying to find someone to help this poor injured wild bobcat.  After calling every rehabber she could think of, and being told they did not have space, she called Big Cat Rescue.  Of course, Carole hopped right in the new van you donors just bought and sped out to pick up the cat.

Unable to do a detailed exam on the spot, at first, Carole was told it might be a young male with a broken leg.  It was unclear exactly how severe or extensive the injuries were.  The bobcat did not try to stand while being transferred.

Our on-site cat hospital does not have the $15,000 in pins, plates, and equipment for broken bones, so if surgery would be needed for that it would have to be done the next day at the Humane Society of Tampa Bay where Dr. Justin Boorstein works for his “real” job.

The debate began on weighing the risks of sedating the cat this evening to do x-rays and check the extent of the injuries and do whatever could be done and then possibly having to sedate again the next day for surgery.  Sedating twice is risky, but so is not doing anything and risking the cat dying in the night from an unseen injury.

With the injured cat in tow, Carole raced back toward the sanctuary to meet Dr. Justin at the hospital.  In the meantime, Keepers Kathryn, Afton, Karma, Gale, and the on-site team sprang into action getting ready for the incoming emergency.

By the time Carole, the injured cat, and Dr. Justin arrived everything and everyone was ready.

The injured cat is checked in, weighed, and last minute steps are taken to begin the exam.

It turns out the injured wild bobcat is a young female about 1 year of age and weighing in at 15.8 lbs.  She was sedated and everyone worked hand in hand for the sedation, exam prep, blood draw etc.  There was some worry about whether her back was broken and x-rays were needed to find out.  There was a little glitch in getting the computer for the x-ray running smoothly but Intern, Michael Heap, got it going and x-rays were taken.

Thankfully, her back and pelvis are okay.  However, she has two broken legs involving three bones.  One of the bone breaks is going to be a tricky repair.

While waiting for info there was a moment for online viewers to tease Gale about her flashy socks.  Gale was quick to show them off and bring a little humor to this serious evening.  The funny socks were a Christmas gift to Gale from the “Extreme Explorers.”


Rescue work has good times and bad times and it would be so easy to let the bad times become so overwhelming that you can’t keep going.  I love that this team can try to find joy in their work even when faced with such a serious event.  Keeping things as light as possible helps hide the worry and fear.

Gale, who is a stickler for detail, kept asking for a name to put on the blood work so we turned to online viewers who began making excellent suggestions.   The names of Faith and Hope were suggested many times but since there had already been bobcats through the rehab & release program named Faith and Hope we couldn’t choose those.

Of the various suggestions, across Facebook and  it seemed the two most popular suggestions were Holly and Noel, both in line with the Christmas theme.  We finally settled on Noel, using the most common Christmas spelling.  YAY!  NOW, at last, Gale could finally make a label for the blood work, which made her as happy as her flashy funny socks make her 😉 (LOL, we all know Gale loves crazy socks and we all love to tease her about them!)

Here are a couple clips of Noel’s vet exam upon arrival at the sanctuary.

With her initial exam and x-rays over, an antibiotic administered, fluids and pain meds given, the team stayed with her until the sedation wore off and she was placed on a comfy soft bed for the night.

Also, while waiting, her paw prints were taken.  Keeping with the Christmas theme they are red and green.  People often ask us why we take paw prints.  Here is why

PLEASE, join us in sending lots of warm, get well wishes to this precious precious young wild bobcat.  We envision, and hope for the day, when she is all healed, gone through rehab, and is strong enough to return to the wild, where she belongs.

Can you imagine, for just a minute, put yourself in this little bobcat’s place.  What must it have been like laying injured, in pain, cold, and scared beside a noisy busy highway for hours and hours.  Paralyzing pain and gripping fear, minute after minute, hour after hour, with no one coming to help.  The helplessness and pain must have been unbearable.

We want to extend a HUGE THANK YOU for the kind people who not only cared enough to call the police but cared enough to go back hours later to make sure help arrived.  We want to also SINCERELY THANK Christin who came out on a cold Christmas night to rescue this precious injured bobcat.  Also, we want to extend a heartfelt THANK YOU to all of you who donated tonight to help fund the Wild Bobcat Rehab and Release Program and the hospital expenses so that we can try to save precious wild lives like little Noel.  Without YOUR support, we could not do this life saving work.  You can still donate on our secure system at

We must also remember to THANK each of you who cared enough to Like, Comment, and Share the videos tonight and those of you who will be staying up to help us watch her tonight.


If you’d like to help but cannot donate you can setup a Facebook Fundraiser, at no expense to you, to help raise funds for our Wild Bobcat Rehab & Release Program.  Learn how easy it is to do.  This link has screenshots and step by step instructions on how to setup a Facebook Fundraiser to help us help Noel and future cats like her.

Dr. Justin Explains Noel’s Injuries

This clip is less that 2 minutes.  Dr. Justin is explaining which bones are broken.


Noel’s X-Rays

I think this is two angles of the back leg. I don’t have copies of the fore paw. The back leg was the hardest to repair because it’s so close to the end of the bone.


Update Dec 27, 2017

Noel made it through the night thanks to all of your healing thoughts and prayers.  Today Jamie will take her to the Humane Society of Tampa Bay at the end of Dr. Justin’s work day.  That could be anywhere from 3-5 PM, so it’s going to be a long day for him and his tech team there.  Sedation is very dangerous for wild cats and sedating her two days in a row and keeping her sedated through such extensive surgery could kill her.  We are afraid there is nerve damage in the right forelimb, because she does not respond to pressing the toes on that foot.  Today, I’m sure, Dr. Justin’s mind will be turning over the options to give Noel the best chance at both survival and her long term goal for release back to the wild.

Noel Bobcat Sleeps Peacefully After a Long Night
Screenshot: Noel Bobcat Sleeps Peacefully After a Long Night

Find out more about our bobcat rehab program.

Viewer Snapshots from Dec 26th and 27th

Viewer Susann Mesna: Noel is awake 12/27/2007 (a few seconds video clip)

Viewer Lee Durbin: Our new beautiful Noel is awake…bless her heart, she keeps trying to sit up.

Viewer Susann Mesna

Viewer Elaine Slocum:She’s awake! Good morning Noel. 😘

Viewer Ruth Rahn: Praying for Noel and Dr. J tomorrow is going to be a long day.

Update 12/27/2017 – Surgery Prep at Humane Society of Tampa Bay

We want to thank the team at the Humane Society of Tampa Bay for use of their facility & their staff’s help with Noel’s surgery.  Here is a video of the prep up to the point of the beginning of the surgery.

Noel’s Surgery 1st Leg

Noel’s Surgery 2nd Leg

Update 12/28/17

Noel finally gets to eat Christmas dinner!

When Noel arrived on the 26th she had to be sedated for diagnostics, so we couldn’t feed her, for risk of her choking on vomit during sedation.  The next day she was scheduled for surgery, which meant no food.  Her surgery lasted until about 6 pm, and she didn’t wake up fully until the 28th.  She woke up in a small cage (so she won’t climb, fall and break the repairs in her legs) and with a cone on her head.  This is extremely upsetting to a wild bobcat.  They feel trapped, scared and angry.

Even cats who know and “trust” us, have a hard time figuring out the cone.  It requires some finesse to angle it just right to drink water from a bowl.  It’s even more difficult to wrangle around the process of eating.  We usually can put food on a stick and offer it that way, slowly showing the cat how to graduate from stick to plate, but Noel was having no part of a stick pointed at her.  We were worried she’d flip out and re break her legs if we poked food at her.  We were also worried about how we would get her antibiotics and pain meds into her if she wouldn’t eat.  Usually, with a captive born wild cat, we can squeeze them in the squeeze cage to give injections, but she wasn’t going to sit still for that either.

Imagine all the high fives when Kathryn got her to eat three chicks, including all of her meds!  WARNING! GRAPHIC!

Update 12/29/17

Noel was featured this morning on ABC Action News this morning.

Jamie’s update from December 29th at 4:00 PM

Noel is currently living in the recovery hospital. She will be there for the next 2 months most likely.

She had two broken legs on the same side. Here rear leg was broken and repaired with a rod, plate and screws.

Her front leg was broken in the forearm area and near the elbow. The break near the elbow was very complicated to repair and the repairs are very fragile. She has a rod, plate and screws holding this bone together. The break in her forearm is partially stabilized by the second unbroken bone in her arm. This break was not repaired. She must be kept very calm for the next several weeks so she does not damage the repairs or further damage the unrepaired break.

She has two hospital cages. If she will not shift for cleaning we will not insist nor stress her. Instead we will let her move in her own time. To get her to shift we will give her access to the clean side and cover it. We will then very slowly by leaning over the clean cage pull the covering off the dirty side towards you and then back away slowly so she does not startle.

She is very skiddish and thrashes around when she is spooked. This is very bad for healing. If her legs do not heal she will not be able to go free.

She will get her diet divided into two meals a day. She also has meds AM and PM. She has been taking these well.

Only rehabbers that have been vaccinated can care for her.

We will give her a little while before starting any dewormers.

Caring for broken bobcats is very tricky and tedious.

Thank you everyone for working together to give Noel the best chance at survival.

If you are able to contribute to the Bobcat Rehab and Release program please do so at

Learn more about our wild bobcat Rehab & Release program at

Update 12/30/17

Noel Can Walk!

After major surgery to repair three broken bones Noel sustained in a tangle with a car, she’s learning how to rock herself up onto the pinned bones and walk again.

Update 1/2/2018

Lots of people are asking how Noel Bobcat is doing. This was recorded today. Noel Bobcat’s use of her broken legs is improving every day after surgery. Noel Stands Walks Shifts Jan 2 2018. Find out more about her and why she’s in a small recovery cage at

January 3, 2018

Noel has been great in the Cat Hospital. She is taking her medications and eating well.

Noel has been great in the Cat Hospital. She is taking her medications and eating well.

January 15, 2018

Her cone was supposed to come off tomorrow and we had a great new tool coming to do that, but Noel decided it was coming off TODAY!

February 21, 2018

Wednesday evening Dr. Justin came in to x-ray and examine Noel.  Noel Bobcat broke 2 legs in 3 places when hit by a car on Christmas Day. Today Dr. Justin is going to Xray her and if she’s healed enough, he will pull the pins out so she can go out to rehab for the next stage of her recovery. Coming in for the exam.

Windsong Memorial Cat Hospital Surgery Room

Noel Bobcat broke 2 legs in 3 places when hit by a car on Christmas Day. Today Dr. Justin is going to Xray her and if she's healed enough, he will pull the pins out so she can go out to rehab for the next stage of her recovery.

Posted by Big Cat Rescue on Wednesday, February 21, 2018

X-Rays – Watch as skilled veterinarians x-ray the cats and review their findings.

X-ray Room

Watch as skilled veterinarians x-ray the cats and review their findings. Watch more at

Posted by Big Cat Rescue on Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Procedure to remove the pins in her legs – Noel Bobcat is having the pins pulled from her broken leg repairs, and then 5 days more in the hospital, then she can go out to rehab.

Windsong Memorial Cat Hospital Surgery Room

Noel Bobcat is having the pins pulled from her broken leg repairs, and then 5 days more in the hospital, then she can go out to

Posted by Big Cat Rescue on Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Support Bobcat-Rehab and Release

March 6, 2018

Noel has been outside in the Rehab Enclosure for a few days now.

CamOp Kristine submitted an update from last night about Noel:

Noel was very active last night and ate her rat and chick. She was out almost all night watching things and playing. She even batted her ball around a bit! She also sat on her coolaroo for a while. She didn’t eat the rat right away, she took it to the other side of the enclosure and tried to bury it in the grass, lol. Later, she went back and ate it.

She had a ball, flipping the chick or a small rat in the air for a while, madly playing with it and then she ate it too. So cute.

She’s still trying to dig her way out, under the feeding tube, lol. I though you and the Rehab Team would want to know that she ate and was very active overnight.

Have a wonderful day!

Warm wishes, Kristine Metzner

PS. I attached a few photos. The first one she was sharpening her claws on the log, the second photo she was eating the chick that she was flipping in the air, the third she was playing with the ball and the fourth she was sitting on the coolaroo bathing.

A few viewers of the Bobcat Rehab web cam also got great snapshots last night.

March 7 2018

Some more overnight snapshots from CamOp Kristine Metzner

March 8 2018

SHE DID IT!!!! She killed the rat! 😀 She hasn’t eaten it yet, something scared her and she went to her den, but she didn’t let it run all around her or smell her nose this time!

Noel Rehab Bobcat by Kristine Metzner SHE DID IT!!!! She killed the rat! :-D She hasn't eaten it yet, something scared her and she went to her den, but she didn't let it run all around her or smell her nose this time!
SHE DID IT!!!! She killed the rat! 😀 She hasn’t eaten it yet, something scared her and she went to her den, but she didn’t let it run all around her or smell her nose this time!

Release Date June 28, 2018

The big day has arrived. Noel has completed her recovery and rehab and is being released back into the wild where she belongs.   The rehab team has scouted and hiked various properties and chosen one they believe will be great for her. We will stream her release LIVE on Come join us.

This photo of Noel (without the URL) is available in our gift shop. as a hi-res download, or as a print in a variety of sizes. Your PURR-chase helps us care for, rehab, and release more cats back into the wild.

Learn more at
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