7/15/07 - 12/18/17
Will Bobcat Has Been Euthanized
Even when you know it’s the right thing to do, it still hurts
Even though Will got ten more years of doting attention by his keepers, than nature would have given him, it’s still hard to say, “good bye.”
When Will was found in August 2007 he was only a month old, but we knew right away that something was seriously wrong with him. We hoped it was just that he was sick and starved; abandoned by his mother, and that with a little TLC he’d recover into the hissing spitfire that all wild bobcats are. He gained weight and grew a glossy coat to match his beautiful, shiny eyes, but he never developed a bobcat personality.
We thought he was blind because of his docile, non inquisitive nature, so experts in neurology and ophthalmology visited with him over the years. The function of his eyes was fine, but there was just something missing in the translation to his brain. He would walk into walls and just always seemed to be in his own little world.
That worked for him until about a year ago when his health began to decline. Vets tried every imaginable combination of drugs and supplements to keep him strong, but in these last few weeks, we have had to start poking him with needles to keep him hydrated and while he tolerates it, he doesn’t like it. Who would?
If we keep him in the Cat Hospital he will eat enough of the watery gruel we make to keep him hydrated, but when he goes back outside he won’t eat well enough to survive. We have been watching him closely, with CCTV, to make sure he isn’t suffering and what we have found is that we just can’t know how much pain he’s in because he just doesn’t behave like a normal cat.
What we do know is that we’ve exhausted every course of veterinary care for him and he’s never going to get better. If his whole life is comprised of living in a small cage, where his irritable bowel syndrome results in soiled bedding every couple hours, then that’s just not a life worth living. Coming to the decision that it was time to end his suffering was especially hard because he does eat OK, in that environment. The issue is that we just can’t tell what his experience is because he doesn’t show any emotion.
To touch him was to make the final decision for him. He isn’t grooming and he’s just skin and bones, despite his food consumption. You could just feel the lifelessness in him and cutting the fine cord that bridged the difference in this world and the next felt like the right thing to do.
Will has always been “special” and like Mrs. Claws, who also isn’t quite right in the head, it makes us feel that much more protective of them. Letting go is hard and leaves us all feeling like there must have been something more we could have done.
Will Bobcat's Rescue Story
Will was found by a couple in their back yard. Their home was situated on a large farm located in a rural area of Dade City. An adult Bobcat was recently seen within the area and nearby farmers had reportedly been shooting at it to deter it from their property and their livestock. It is unknown if this Bobcat was any relation to Will, but since this young cub was found abandoned it is likely that the adult was his mother and had now been scared away from her cub or worse yet killed.
When Rescuers came for Will, they noticed something out of the ordinary right away. At this age, a young Bobcat should have been all teeth and claws backed up with hissing and growling. Instead he sat still and quiet and went limp when he was picked up. Over the next several weeks he was seen by several specialists including a neurologist and an optometrist. Will would slowly walk around a room and run into walls or objects as if he did not see them.
Although he has improved, Will still suffers from these symptoms and if his surroundings are altered he will still run into things. This handicap prevents him from being considered a candidate for release. He will have a home here at the sanctuary and is being raised with Anasazi. The two are very close in age and will hopefully bond to one another.
Bobcats Face Many Perils
Photos of Will Bobcat
Will as a Kitten
Will being silly while waiting for treats or breakfast
Will not pleased his neighbor got snacks before he did.
A good little bobcat must keep his territory well marked, especially, after keepers come in and clean everything.
Will & Anasazi - A bobtail mustache
Will LOVES his Coolaroo. In the last year Will was spending more time sleeping in his den which worried his care team, but having this new cool hammock / bed brought him out of his den more.
These are random photos of Will Bobcat taken through the years and are in no particular order.
Will Bobcat is in the Hospital
10/26/2017 Update: Will is in the West Boensch Cat Hospital, being treated for irritable bowel disease and kidney disease. Will was never able to be released back to the wild because of his severe neurological issues. He has a very hard time processing his environment. He was very dehydrated when we brought him into the hospital, so he was given sub q fluids, but in watching hours and hours of him on the Nest cams we are noticing that he doesn't drink water. He has two bowls; a regular one, like the one in his outdoor cage, and a water fountain, in case he needs the sound of water, to know what it is. He will frequently go to the bowls but we haven't seen him actually take a drink.
We've been adding fluids to his meals, and he consumes more water that way. His keepers say he doesn't do blood 'cicles. This could explain his kidney issues.
10/28/2017 Update: Will's last hard time was in July and he weighed 17 pounds. His diagnostics and sonogram indicated irritable bowel disease or a lymphoma in his GI tract (cancer). Now he's lost 5 lbs and Dr Wynn thinks it is probably lymphoma. He's been brought inside for fluids, B vitamins, and injections to make him feel better, but it's not looking good for him.
Will doesn't drink from a bowl, so we can put fluids in his food, but due to his neurological issues, he just can't be left to his own devices outside. The question becomes; can we give him a good quality of life indoors or not?
For now, that's what we are doing, but I don't think he's long for this world, but we are not giving up, yet.
10/29/2017 Update: He was doing poorly enough today that Kathryn and I were able to hold him while the vet drew blood. She said his organs are doing OK, so we are going to continue supportive care and see how he does.
10/31/2017 Update: Kathryn, Afton, and Dr. Wynn have been caring for Will. He is on a series of new medications and is getting fluids daily. He is eating better after being brought inside. We are monitoring him closely and taking it one day at a time. He spends most of his day curled up on his fleece bed napping.
11/24/2017 Update: Will Bobcat doesn't consume enough water because he doesn't drink from a bowl. We mix water in his food, but it's not enough, so we have to give him subcutaneous fluids. The problem is: Will likes being outside and he definitely doesn't like being netted. We don't want to torment him, so Keepers: Kathryn and Afton, have managed to hook him up to the IV bag to get his bi weekly fluids.