News Columns & Blogs

Cute and cuddly doesn’t count with this little kitty

The majority of critters at Wildlife Inc. will steal your heart.

The baby raccoons.

The tiny screech owls.

The young song birds.

“People always ‘oooh’ and ‘aaah,’” said Gail Straight, the longtime rehab center co-owner.

The newest resident does not elicit such warm and fuzzy feelings.

The growl emanating from his covered portable kennel says don’t even think of making nice with this kitty.

He is a 12-pound, year-old bobcat rescued May 21 after being struck by a car on Mocassin Wallow Road in Parrish. He suffered a broken left front leg, a lacerated left ear and road rash on his hind end.

Thanks to prompt medical attention, the bobcat, with pins temporarily in the leg, is recovering on schedule, eating right — 25 to 30 frozen rats and cockerels daily — and regaining weight.

You’d think he’d show some gratitude?

“Oh, no,” Straight said Monday. “We give him his space. Definitely.

“He’s a lot more aggressive than he was when he first came in. We took him back to the vet last week and even he noticed he’s a lot more spunky.”

To put it mildly.

He puts the wild in Wildlife Inc.

Beth Weir, a volunteer trained for such rescues, spent al- most an hour trying to corral the bobcat that Friday evening after an urgent phone call from a family who stayed by the injured bobcat.

When she showed up, he somehow skedaddled into the marsh.

“I knew with those injuries he wouldn’t go far,” Weir said. “So after about a half hour, I backtracked slowly, then saw these two gorgeous eyes peering at me. I was able to net him, scoop him up and get him in the carrier.

“Was he happy? No. Was he growling? Quite a bit. They’re hurt, feel vulnerable and think we’re going to finish them off.”

The bobcat is handled with kid gloves.

Before cleaning his wounds twice weekly, Straight sends the critter to lalaland. “We put a tube with anesthesia into his covered cage until he’s sleepy enough and then we pull him out,” she said. “I put a mask on him, change the bandages, clean up his road rash and flush everything we need to.”

The bobcat will probably spend another six weeks at the rehab center.

Cute and cuddly doesn’t count in his natural habitat.

“We’re not trying to make a pet out of him. We’re hoping he heals well and we can release him,” Straight said. “We don’t want him to be nice.”

  Comments