Bobcat Kitten at WildCare

When WildCare Medical Staff got the call from the Marin Humane officer that she was bringing in an orphaned Bobcat kitten, they expected a lanky juvenile, probably hit by a car. True wild kittens don’t usually leave their den and its surrounding area until they’re old enough to keep up with Mom on her hunting forays. Very young Bobcats are hardly ever seen by humans.

But the shoebox-sized carrier in the officer’s hand told a different story. This truly was a very small cat, and she needed the care only WildCare could give!

She had been found on a Marin County hiking trail. Her rescuer had seen her following another hiker, but when he and his dog walked up, the kitten switched her focus and began following him. On her wobbly little legs, the kitten couldn’t walk very fast, and it was very clear that she needed help. Borrowing a sweatshirt from a fellow hiker, he brought her to the Ranger station.

The Rangers saw that she was a healthy kitten, but with no idea where the den site was and a busy hiking trail as the site of rescue, attempting to reunite her with her mother was impossible. There was no way to know how this tiny kitten got separated from her mother. Fortunately, the Rangers knew about WildCare!

Our Wildlife Hospital is here for orphans like this one. With our help, this young cat will grow up to be wild and will eventually be set free. Click here to help us always be ready to care for a wild orphan in need!

Bobcats are powerful cats with razor-sharp claws and sharp teeth. They’re fast, fierce and aggressive, and they don’t take well to being examined in the Wildlife Hospital. As you’ll see in the videos, this spotted kitten was decidedly less menacing, but she still has sharp claws and teeth. Those, and her sensitive hearing and high stress levels meant Medical Staff wore gloves and kept their voices low during her exam.

Clinically healthy, but dehydrated, and with the usual allotment of ticks and fleas, Medical Staff gave the kitten hydrating subcutaneous fluids and a dose of flea and tick treatment. Then they offered her a dish of chopped up mice, which the kitten jumped into immediately.

Watch WildCare Medical Staff examine the Bobcat in the video below.

Bobcats are very difficult to raise in captivity, and, like all wild babies, they should never be raised solo. As cute as this kitten is, it might be tempting to think of her as a pet… maybe a slightly wilder version of a tabby cat.

But THIS kitten is going to grow up to be a Bobcat! An adult Bobcat will weigh between 15 and 19 pounds. That’s not terribly large for a wild cat, but these animals are unbelievably fierce! Watch this video of a WildCare Bobcat patient from a couple of years ago. She’s a young cat, and she probably doesn’t weigh more than 12 pounds, but we dare anyone to watch this cat and think of her as a cuddly pet (stay tuned till the end for the best part of the video!)

Once the Bobcat was stable, WildCare Director of Animal Care Melanie Piazza immediately began calling other wildlife centers in California to see if anyone had other young orphans with which this Bobcat could be placed. Fortunately Sierra Wildlife Rescue had two kittens only a few weeks older than our baby. After a week at WildCare to make sure she was stable enough to travel, this young Bobcat (and a large bag of food for her) traveled north to her new temporary home.

Sierra Wildlife Rescue has been giving us regular updates on her progress, and we are happy to know that she is thriving in the company of her two new siblings. She will remain at their center for at least another two months, and will return to WildCare, healthy, fierce and wild, to be released back into her home territory.

Stay tuned to our emails and “like” us on Facebook for updates on this gorgeous little patient!

Enjoy the videos below, taken on a motion-capture video camera, of the Bobcat kitten in her enclosure.


This entry was posted in Wildlife Patient Stories by Alison Hermance.

16 Responses to “Bobcat Kitten at WildCare”

  1. Joan Lamphier

    Great story and inspiring

    • gary york

      I am in Fairfax close to town and one afternoon heard a terrible ruckus with crows so I knew to go outside and look…
      well sure enough a momma deer had chased a young bobcat up a tree 50 ft from my house! She had a fawn hiding nearby and they all scrambled when I went outside. I watched the fawn and her twin grow up sooooo
      deer 1
      bobcat 0 on this one!
      it was a youngster with longish tail and would not leave the tree up about 15ft with momma showing her teeth
      I have a picture of it all to post somewhere…

  2. Felicia Chavez

    Thank you so much for this touching story. I can’t stop wondering what happened to her mother, and how the heck she ended up on that trail.

    • Alison Hermance

      Hi Felicia,
      We wish we knew too! Bobcats are excellent moms, and it is very unusual to have found this kitten alone. We’re just glad she was rescued!

  3. Tiffany douglass

    Awesome work, Wildcare Med Staff!

  4. Susan

    Wouldn’t it be better to release her with her new siblings ? Won’t she be lost or alienated from her original tribe and maybe in danger ??

    • Alison Hermance

      Good question! Bobcats are solitary animals as adults, so even in the care of her mother this kitten would grow up with siblings, but then leave them to find her own territory. At the age at which she will be released, she would have been moving off on her own anyway.

  5. Jean

    Love the way Wildlife Care programs network and help each other out.

  6. Denise

    I’m so happy you rescued her. I sent a small donation and will try to give more. What you do is so important. I saw the video from a couple of years ago. Wow! She made some unexpected sounds! I notice their ears look the same as all wild cats I’ve seen (lions, cheetahs, leopards) – always black on part of the ear. I wonder if there is an evolutionary reason. Any idea?

    • Alison Hermance

      Thank you Denise! Isn’t that older Bobcat wonderful? We love the growling while eating noises at the end of the video 🙂 The ear markings must have some camouflage benefits! It’s true that many cats have similar markings.

  7. Martin Perlmutter

    I love WildCare! You do such vital work, and you do a lot of it.
    Marin is so lucky to have you. I live in LA now, and would have no idea where to bring an injured bird or a baby creature if I stumbled on it.
    Keep doing what you do.

    • Alison Hermance

      Thank you! There’s a great website that lists local wildlife care centers by location. I’m sure there’s a center near you. They may not be as comprehensive as WildCare (I love that all our programs work together to help wildlife!) but they can definitely help an injured animal in need.

  8. Susan Phillips

    Thank you so much for the work you do. I hope the kitten makes a successful release.

  9. Caitlin

    Thank you for the info about how to find local centers outside of Marin. I too no longer live in Marin but visit often and still donate towards your important work. I feel strongly that it our (humans) responsibility to protect and care for the wildlife that live with us, and suffer from our actions. Love the info about the bobcat!

  10. Steve

    I read about thw cat’s sometimes sitring in their carrier. ‘No way I am going out there.’ Would you not train them that beyond the carrier is a meal? And over time, the meal is farther away and harder to find an then also alive (until caught of course)?

    • Alison Hermance

      Good question! With our wild animal patients there is no training… we don’t interact with the animals to that degree, as it would get them accustomed to humans. All of our patients need to maintain a healthy wariness of humans to remain safe in the wild! The wild cats being released eventually decide that what’s out there is better than the relative safety of the carrier, so they make their exit. It just sometimes takes longer than you’d expect.


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