Stray housecat adopts orphaned bobcat cubs at Tampa's Big Cat Rescue
By Jessica Vander Velde, Times Staff Writer
Posted: Apr 28, 2010 01:27 PM
TAMPA — Three orphaned bobcats have a chance at life thanks to an adoptive mother.
This month, Big Cat Rescue in Tampa got a call from an Alabama veterinarian seeking help for three bobcats that a hunter dropped off. The vet believed the hunter had shot their mother, and the staff was concerned for the safety of the newborn kittens, whose eyes were still closed.
Big Cat Rescue took in the bobcat babies, but the staff knew they needed a foster mother — some feline that could provide the warmth and care that is critical during the first few weeks.
They also knew that a female cat is more likely to take on new kittens when her own kittens are around. So they contacted the Suncoast Animal League, which, on Monday, sent over Bobbi, a mother cat whose six kittens had just started eating solid food. She was a perfect fit, they thought.
When they first opened Bobbi's carrier, those watching were silent, hoping for the best, said Rick Chaboudy, director of the league.
Bobbi looked around. Then the bobcat kittens made a soft "mew" sound, and Bobbi's motherly instincts kicked in.
When workers pulled the bobcats out of their carrier, it didn't take Bobbi long to start nursing them. It was an emotional moment, Chaboudy said.
Big Cat Rescue plans to release the bobcat kittens into the wild after 18 months, when they'll know how to hunt.
[Last modified: Apr 28, 2010 04:48 PM]
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