WildCare's Wildlife Hospital treats nearly 4,000 ill, injured and orphaned wild animal patients from over 200 species every year. This is one patient's story.
This Bobcat was hit by a car on Atherton Avenue in Novato, California. When he was found, the cat was stunned, but he started to wake up while his rescuers waited, with the cat loosely contained in a cardboard box, for the Marin Humane Society officer to arrive and transport the injured animal to WildCare.
When the officer arrived at the scene of the accident, the cat had awakened enough to escape the box and scoot toward a nearby oak tree. It took a catch-pole, heavy gloves and some significant bravery on the part of the officer to contain the injured cat and corral him into a transport kennel!
When the MHS truck arrived at WildCare, the cat's low growling was audible. After some discussion, it was determined that a cat of this size and level of consciousness couldn't be easily or safely shifted out of the truck and into another kennel to be carried into the Wildlife Hospital. WildCare's Director of Animal Care, Melanie Piazza decided to give the cat a sedative injection to make handling him easier and reduce his stress.
Fortunately the injection worked quickly, and the large animal was brought into the examination room. In the video above, you can see Melanie gently removing the sleeping Bobcat from the carrier, and you can really get a sense of how large and healthy this cat was!
Although he weighed in at only 17 pounds, the cat's long legs and huge head showed him to be the biggest cat we'd ever treated in the Wildlife Hospital!
Melanie examined the cat, commenting on the beautiful condition of his coat, paws and teeth. This was a healthy male Bobcat in his prime. There was blood on the fur of his chest, which led her to a gash on his upper lip, possibly caused by one of his own teeth. Radiographs (x-rays) and a full exam revealed no other injuries, however, so the sleeping cat was given hydrating fluids, his wound was cleaned, he was given anti-inflammatory and pain medications, and he was placed in a warm enclosure for the night.
The next day showed a very different cat from the peaceful sleeper of the night before. In the video below you can see Medical Staff urging the irate Bobcat into the small kennel inside his enclosure for transport to the release location. He needed to be fully awake and alert to return to the wild, so sedating him wasn't an option this time! As the Bobcat grudgingly backed into the kennel, Medical Staff lifted the lid of the cage, and reached in with gauntleted hands to lock the door.
Releasing a Bobcat back to the wild is always an exciting event. Cats being cats, no matter their size or wildness, there is usually a considerable delay between opening the kennel door to freedom and the cat's actual departure from the carrier. In the video below, taken after a long period of waiting quietly for the cat to decide to exit on his own, you can see WildCare Medical Staff member, Lucy Stevenot gently shaking the carrier to urge the cat out. You'll also see his brief moment of indecision, possibly wondering if he could take one last satisfying swipe at the humans that had kept him enclosed before he bounds off to freedom. The video plays twice, the second time in slow-motion, so you can appreciate the heart-stopping moment Lucy experienced!
We wish this handsome fellow the best of luck in the wild!
WildCare is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization supported almost entirely by private donations and individual memberships. Visit us online at wildcarebayarea.org.