Rube Goldberg Machine

Rube Goldberg “Rat” Machine

One of the bobcat kittens currently in our care received a lot of hands on attention at the facility he was originally rescued by.  Pheonix was found in the ashes of a brush fire and his back and paws were singed.  He required daily treatments and during this impressionable time became accustomed to being around people.  When he arrived here at BCR it was evident that rehabilitating him would be a challenge.  It will help that he has another bobcat kitten to socialize with, however, we were challenged with being able to provide him with food without encouraging his dependency on humans.

We created a Rube Goldberg device to deliver his food without the presence of humans.  Attached to the side of his enclosure is a section of 3″ pipe that sits perpendicular to the ground. At the top of the pipe is a lid that screws off, at the bottom of the pipe is a hatch door which slides out.  Attached to the handle of the hatch door is a rope that runs about 20′ away from the enclosure.  The rope runs through a pulley attached to a post and then down to a bucket.  There a water hose timer can be programed to drip water into the bucket over the course of a half hour.  After a half hour there is enough water in the bucket to make it heavy enough to fall to the ground.  This pulls the rope, which pulls the handle, which opens the hatch releasing the food into the enclosure.  This device allows us to place the food, set the timer for 30 minutes, and leave the scene.  It is our hope that by removing ourselves from the scene this young bobcat will stop viewing humans as a source for food.


When some baby bobcats come to us for rehab and release, they have been handled too much by people. Sometimes this is because of the extensive medical care they may need upon arrival, so the best we can do is start training them to avoid people and to NOT associate people with food as soon as possible. Watch Dr. Justin Boorstein, DVM and Jamie Veronica Boorstein as they create a Rube Goldberg machine.

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