Male Approximate date of birth: June 8, 2021
Arrived: April 7, 2022
Release back to the wild:
Out goes one, in comes another. Malaya bobcat was released back to the wild less than 12 hours ago!
Tonight we got a call and picked up this starving young bobcat late this evening. He had collapsed at the front door step of a caring couple in Wildwood FL about an hour and a half from the sanctuary.
His name is Orpheus (Ancient Greek meaning the darkness of night). We are transporting him back to the Rehab Hospital for observation.
He is eating and drinking which is good, but he is also displaying classic symptoms of FLM a neurological disorder afflicting Florida’s wild cats.
Meet Orpheus Bobcat
Jamie and Victor scooped him into a squeeze cage to give him fluids but the nice couple who called us said he ate plate of chicken and drank a bowl of water. We will stabilize him and have our vet see him soon.
Orpheus is ancient Greek meaning darkness of night and in mythology was a musician capable of charming all, including stones. The whole front yard was a rock garden.
He looks to be 8 months old, emaciated and like suffering from FLM. It’s going to be a long rocky path for this poor soul.
April 8, 2022 Update:
Note from Jamie:
Orpheus is named for the ancient Greek prophet who could charm all living things even stone. He charmed his finders into providing shelter, food, and water as well as ultimately his rescue.
Big Cat Rescue’s team members Carole, Jamie and Victor made the 1.5 hour drive in the middle of the night to help Orpheus. Upon their arrival it was pitch dark. Orpheus lay resting on the front porch of his finders’ home. Rescuers quietly approached him by way of the winding path flanked by decorative stones. As he saw his captures get closer he sat up and thought for a moment of trying to flee, but gave way to his weakened state. He was easily netted and transferred to a transport crate and taken back to the sanctuary.
Upon his arrival he readily ate an entire meal and drank water. He was calm and merely observed his surroundings. In the following days he was observed displaying symptoms of FLM, Feline Leukomeyleopothy, a neurological disorder affecting Florida’s wildcats. He is being monitored closely by the vet team and has been started on a course of dewormers, anti-inflammatories, and antibiotics.
For now our plan is to treat his severe internal parasite infestation and after he puts on some weight to sedate him for further evaluation.
Orpheus made it thru the night.He was so weak this morning he could barely pick his head up. He just laid there and purred.This calm demeanor did not last long however.
Jamie’s note to vet:
New bobcat.Very emaciated. Stomach makes a lot of gurgling noises.Goes from being down and sweet to up and attacking blankets.Ate 5 oz this AM and drinking. About 8 months.Started panacur this AM and sent out a fecal.
April 8, 2022
Orpheus eating his first meal this morning. We started with livers which he really liked. Then we tried mush to which he said no thanks. Lastly we approved of beef. In total he ate 5 oz of meat off the stick We left some more in a bowl to see if he eats on his own.
April 11, 2022 Update
Orpheus is doing well. He has been taking his meds and is excited for each meal. We are continuing to monitor him and will schedule a veterinary exam once he has put on a little more weight.
May 4, 2022 Update:
From Jamie: There is nothing like a win!
Victor and Karma helped catch Orpheus this evening for another round of medication and fluids. After which I took the opportunity while he was in the squeeze cage to try to get some food in him. It was a bit of a stand off at first but we came to a silent agreement and Orpheus ate 6 oz of beef and chicken off the stick I hope this is the point at which he turns the corner
May 7, 2022 Update:
Orpheus’ tests results have come back positive for Calicivirus and Cytauxzoonosis.
Cytauxzoon felis is a protozoal organism transmitted to domestic cats by tick bites, and whose natural reservoir host is the bobcat. C. felis infection is limited to the family Felidae which means that C. felis poses no zoonotic (transmission to humans). C. felis is transmitted by the Lone star tick (Amblyomma americanum) that feeds on an infected bobcat then transmits the organism to another bobcat, or to a pet cat. This infection is highly deadly to domestic cats. Wild cats seem to have less severe infections. Most infected cats have been healthy before a very sudden onset of severe disease. The course of clinical disease is often swift with clinical signs of lethargy and inappetence within 5 to 20 days after the tick bite. Cats develop a high fever, but the temperature may become low before death. Other clinical findings can be: dehydration, icterus (jaundice), enlarged liver and spleen, lymphadenopathy, pale mucus membranes, respiratory distress, tachycardia or bradycardia, and tick infestation. Orpheus had a tick on him before rescuers arrived that the finder picked off. Treatment includes Combination therapy with atovaquone and azithromycin for 10 days.
Feline calicivirus is a virus that causes severe upper respiratory infections and oral disease in cats. Orpheus had ulcers on his tongue just like Cahira did when she had the virus. The typical clinical signs of an upper respiratory infection involve the nose and throat such as sneezing, nasal congestion, conjunctivitis (inflammation of the membranes lining the eyelids), and discharge from the nose or eyes. The discharge may be clear or may become yellow/green in color. In addition to these typical symptoms, cats with a calicivirus infection often develop ulcers on the tongue, hard palate, gums, lips, or nose. These cats will usually salivate or drool excessively as the ulcers are very painful. Other non-specific signs of an upper respiratory infection include anorexia, lethargy, fever, enlarged lymph nodes, and squinting. Some strains of calicivirus may cause an infected cat to develop sudden painful lameness in one or more joints; this lameness occurs more frequently in kittens. Orpheus arrived with ataxia and lameness in his rear limbs. The virus may survive for up to one week in a contaminated environment (and possibly longer in a cool, damp location). Susceptible cats can get an infection by direct contact with another infected cat or by environmental exposure to objects that have been contaminated with infectious secretions. People that have touched contaminated objects or an infected cat, can also spread the virus to susceptible cats. Treatment is antivirals and supportive care.
Hopefully Orpheus is past the worst of it. He is eating now which is an improvement. He is not back to playing like he had been, but is being active. He will remain on strict quarantine due to the highly transmitted calicivirus. ￼￼￼￼￼￼Orpheus has been on strict quarantine since his arrival, however as a precaution we are moving Summer back outside to Rehab Enclosure 2 where she will remain quarantined for two weeks before being reintroduced to Autumn.
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.
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