Approx date of birth: 2016
Became a permanent resident: April 6, 2022-deemed unreleaseable by Dr. Boorstein and the FWC
Moved to Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge November 30, 2023
Val (short for Valentine) was rescued today after being shot by a farmer yesterday for killing their chickens. She also has a lame front leg and red eye. She is being brought back to Big Cat Rescue to be seen by Dr. Justin Boorstein and the vet team yet tonight.
Val vet update
Val was seen by Dr. Justin Boorstein and the vet team this evening. An intake exam, blood work and x-rays were done. Val had been shot by a farmer yesterday for eating their chickens.
She weighed 18.8 pounds and has numerous injuries. Thankfully it appears the bullet went straight through her shoulder blade without puncturing her lungs. She most likely was in a crouched position for this to occur. The wound was cleaned and left open to drain. The bigger and more serious find was the broken and deformed front left limb. It appears as though this bobcat may have been hit by a car a while ago and suffered multiple injuries including the complete break of her forearm. The bones became displaced and the muscle healed in a ridged contracted position. In addition she has a split in her tongue, two broken canine teeth, is missing a toe on her other front paw, has a significant issue with her eye most likely caused by trauma, and has what appears to be a fracture of the sacrum. This poor lady has a lot stacked up against her. Our first goal is to give the bullet wound some time to heal. Then we will make a plan to attempt reconstruction of the broken arm. The surgery required to repair the arm will be a long shot as the injury is old and the surrounding muscle has scared and healed. If Dr. Justin is able to disarticulate the musculature and reassemble the bones the limb will most likely be shorter than her other front limb. If during surgery it looks as though a repair will not be possible we will consider amputation.
The blood work will be sent out. She received vaccines, antibiotics, pain medications and fluids and will rest overnight in the recovery hospital. She will be monitored overnight on a private nest camera.
Val will require multiple staged procedures to repair what is broken, but with time it is still the goal to rehab her and send her back to the wild.
Val’s impressive x-rays
X-ray 1 you can see the broken radius and ulna bones in her left leg that are suspected to have been broken for a year or more possibly due to a car strike. You can also see how the foot is contracted from lack of use.
X-ray 2 you can see the chicken she ate in her stomach. She also has a possible old sacral fracture near her tail.
Val’s broken arm has healed in a deformed contracted position. The bones are still displaced and broken.
The bullet went through her shoulder and scapula and came out her other shoulder.
Lots of bruising around the bullet wound.
Dr Justin takes X-rays to determine the extent of the damage to Val’s arm.
Broken upper and lower canines on the right side will require root canals if she is a candidate for release.
A split in the end of Val’s tongue from previous trauma.
Val was moved from the recovery hospital to the rehab hospital today so she would have more room to move around.
Update 2/16/2022 from Jamie
Val Update – Val is doing well so far, she is eating well and taking her medications. She is also resting a lot. She has been moved to the Rehab Hospital where she will recover from her gun shot wound for 1-2 weeks before a plan is made to attempt to surgically repair her broken arm. The arm has been broken for quite some time, so it is not a critical surgery at the moment. We want to give her body time to heal from the most recent trauma before sedating her for a lengthy procedure. In preparation for this surgery Victor and I installed polycarbonate sheeting to the upper portion of the walls in the recovery room to prevent climbing. (These expensive panels were funded by Deb’s Bday fundraiser!) Post bone repair surgery she will be on limited access cage rest to allow her arm to heal.
February 24, 2022
Val is scheduled for an exam at the Humane Society on Monday. We will determine then if reconstruction surgery or amputation is the best option for her leg. She will also continue Gabapentin 100mg twice a day from now through at least two weeks after surgery.
2/28/2022 Val bobcat has surgery
Today Val bobcat had surgery at the Humane Society of Tampa Bay by Dr. Justin Boorstein to evaluate her left front leg. It was determined during the evaluation that there was no way to save the leg and so it was amputated. She will recover in the rehab hospital and will receive medications for pain and to prevent infection. She will feel much better as she heals.
Her next surgery will be to extract her three broken canine teeth. An ophthalmologist evaluated her injured eye at the Humane Society and it was determined she does not have vision in that eye. Should the eye become bothersome to her in the future it will be removed.
You can watch the following 3 videos to see the before and after of the surgery. The actual surgery was not recorded due to the graphic nature.
March 2, 2022
Val was taken to the Humane Society to have her broken arm examined. Unfortunately the damage was too severe to repair. The broken forearm bones were twisted around through the muscle of the forearm which had shortened and constricted during the healing process. The wrist was the biggest issue. It appears as though the wrist had also been broken and had healed in a curled position which would have resulted in her not being able to right her foot had it been possible to repair the forearm. In addition one of the main nerves leading to the paw was completely dead. The decision was made to amputate the limb. This means that she will not be a candidate for release. She will recover in the rehab hospital for two weeks. After which we will make a plan to sedate address her broken canines and possibly her injured eye should it become an issue and bothersome to her. We believe she was most likely struck by a car approximately 6 months prior to being shot. Unexpectedly we found a heart worm during the amputation process. She was treated for heart worms today.
March 23, 2022
Val having a post amputation check up and dental.
March 28, 2022
Val bobcat moves outside to recover
April 6, 2022
Val bobcat has been approved to become a permanent resident of Big Cat Rescue due to the nature of her injuries that make her unable to be released.
May 13, 2022
A rare glimpse of Val bobcat waiting for breakfast. Val was a rehab bobcat that was determined to be unreleasable. It’s important to respect her space while she adjusts to a permanent life at the sanctuary.
Camera trap footage of Val
Since Val is so good at hiding from her keepers, Jamie set up a camera trap to see how she is doing!
Camera trap footage shows she is out and about when she thinks she is alone during the day and is out at night roaming her enclosure.
Val’s favorite spot to watch what goes on around the sanctuary is in her ferns.
December 22, 2022
Val is getting braver around her keepers but is still every bit as fierce!
You can sponsor Val bobcat for as little as $25/year at BigCatRescue.biz. Val will need a lifetime of care due to her past injuries. Your sponsorship will help offset those costs.
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.
Support The Bobcat Rehab Program
Will YOU Help us Rehab & Release more wild bobcats?
This rehab and release program is made possible by donations from friends like you. Your donation is tax deductible.
Did You Know? Here at Big Cat Rescue, literally 100% of your donations are spent directly FOR THE CATS!!! We are able to adhere to that strict policy because the other sanctuary expenses, administrative expenses, salaries etc come out of tour fees and other sources of income. We are extremely serious about donations being used JUST FOR THE CATS!
Because of adhering to that strict policy regarding donations, and all of the other ways Big Cat Rescue is transparent in our operations, we have earned Charity Navigator‘s highest 4-star rating for “sound fiscal management and commitment to accountability and transparency” EVERY YEAR since we were first evaluated by them in 2010. CharityNavigator.org
Donate towards the rehabilitation and care of a native Florida bobcat at Big Cat Rescue. Donors who contribute $500 and up to support the bobcats will receive a beautiful ceramic tile with a color image of the most recent rehab bobcat and the donor name that will be displayed in the tour waiting area for a year and then permanently installed at the sanctuary.
If you are interested in supporting the rehab bobcats go to https://big-cat-rescue.myshopify.com/collections/bobcat-rehab/products/bobcat-rehabilitation-program
Bobcat Rehab Gear
You can find shirts, tote bags, mugs, necklaces, mousepads and so many more fun items featuring Rehab Bobcats in our online gift shops. Go to reach gift shop linked below and search “Rehab bobcat.” Your PURRchases of Rehab bobcat Gear helps us provide for all the cats at Big Cat Rescue and work toward ending the abuse and exploitation of big cats.
Have you Sponsored one of the Bobcats in REHAB yet??
BRAND NEW SPONSORSHIP OPPORTUNITY!!!
You can now sponsor a specific Rehab Bobcat with our Downloadable Sponsorship kits and get the same benefits we offer for our permanent residents!
Your sponsorship helps us to provide these cats with large natural enclosures, a healthy diet, exceptional veterinary care, and toys and enrichment during their time in rehab. Thank you for helping us care for them!