On June 4, 2019, Jamie picked up a very thin dehydrated 5 week-old bobcat kitten found orphaned in a development the day before. This kitten was surrendered to Peace River Wildlife Center, the same place we got Ash from. She has been named Pebble. Jamie gave her some food and she started eating.
UPDATE – Pebble Has Arrived
Pebble appears sickly so we will do a SNAP and Panleukepenia tomorrow to rule those out. She is eating.
Rehab Team member Karma transferring Pebble from her crate to her cage in the hospital.
Pebble weighed 1 pound.
Rehab Team members Karma and Brittany
Sad Update June 5, 2019
This is the time of year when mother bobcats are tending to rambunctious kittens, who have had their first taste of meat and are growing rapidly in size and appetite. As a result, she has to spend more time away from them hunting. If she’s had poor luck and hours turn into a day or more, the kittens start looking for her. That’s when we usually get a call about “orphaned” kittens. Unless there is a dead mother nearby, we don’t know for sure they are orphans. That’s when we have to make a tough decision.
Do we suggest to the caller that they leave the kittens alone; or do we intervene? There are a lot of factors involved, such as
• Are the kittens in an otherwise safe environment?
• Can the caller observe from a long distance over time, like a couple days?
• What is the body condition of the kittens?
• Are their calls loud and piercing, or weak?
On June 4th we got two calls to rescue bobcat kittens. The first one was a woman who lived near a wildlife refuge and said that two fat, bouncy bobcat kittens had emerged from the woods near her home. She was willing and able to observe from her windows, to make sure the kittens remained fat and sassy, and will call us if that changes. She’s not near major highways and doesn’t have a loose dog problem in her area.
It felt good to know that we had prevented a “kidnapping” even though it still creates a bit of self doubt, because you just hardly ever had the full picture of what is going on in the environment. We want them all to be safe, and have a good chance at survival. Their moms can do that better than we can.
Our second bobcat call was an easier decision. This was from the Peace River Wildlife Center who had a tiny, malnourished 5 week old kitten dropped off that morning. She was so dehydrated they were giving her subcutaneous fluids. She only weighed a pound, which was about half of what she should have been. Obviously, she was either very sick or had been separated from her mom for a long time.
We drove to Punta Gorda to pick her up right away, and much to our delight, she ate a chick on the ride to the sanctuary. The Rehab Team named her Pebble and everyone was united in their determination to bring her back to full vitality. She was so dehydrated that every time she was given sub q fluids, they soaked into her starved body so fast that there was no visible bubble in the skin.
Pebble’s next 24 hours meant monitoring constantly and frequent calls to Dr. Justin Boorstein, as she began to decline. What had started off in exhilaration that she was eating, began to turn to dread as she refused any more food and began to act neurologic. Her head started to twist back, like a star gazer, and her little pinched face, seemed lost in space.
Every hour she was offered a sip of water from a syringe. First sugar water, in case she was suffering from low blood sugar, and then plain water based upon her changing condition. No amount of veterinary intervention, dedicated intensive care or praying was able to save Pebble and she died around 7:45 pm on June 5. Jamie reported to her Bobcat Rehab Team, “I think we can find comfort in knowing she had a great meal yesterday that she thoroughly enjoyed and her last night was spent on a fluffy pile of blankets surrounded by her stuffies.”
We don’t lose many cats until they have lived twice as long as they typically do elsewhere. Given Pebble’s condition on arrival and our inability to save her, we fear there may have been something more going on with her than just being starved. We will be having a full necropsy done to find out.
We know from past experience that bobcats frequently suffer neurologic disorders from mercury poisoning. That is caused in Florida by mining and cement production. Mercury gets into the waterways and is consumed by fish and other aquatic animals that end up in the bobcat’s diet. The way most bobcats end up at our gate is because of the flood of people into this Florida paradise, who hit them with their cars. It’s sadly ironic, that the cement produced, to build their homes and condos, is also killing our precious Florida wildcats.