Status:Male Bobcat - Captive Raised, AZA / USDA Adopted
Age:7 year(s), 11 month(s)
CaRo came to us on 07/13/09 and was brought to us by a private individual who found it in the wild.
It took 12 hours for us to understand and put together CaRo's story, but now it is very clear. CaRo is 5 weeks old. He was found "sunning himself" on a road. The people who found him picked him up and walked him down to the creek that ran along the road. The next day, the same people found him again sunning on the road. By nature, animals seek warmth when they are sick. Specifically, when they develop pnemonia (uppon intake, he was running a very high fever and showed symptoms of late stage pnemonia). We determined that when he was found, he was in day five of the infection, and within hours of arrival at Crosstimbers Ranch, he began developing pulmonary edema.
It was clear, since he was alone, that his mother was either killed or trapped aproximately nine days prior. On their second day of being without mother, CaRo and his litter mate(s) left their den to seek out mother, and food. At some point durring the now three days without mother, the kitten(s) fell into the creek, and got a healthy lung-full of water. CaRo may have been the only one to make it out alive. No other kittens were found.
In bobcats, pnemonia begins developing within 48 hours of exposure; In 72 hours, fever begins to develop. by day 4/5, the animal becomes lethargic, and the need to seek out warmth sets in. By day 5/6, they will begin the "death roll". When the little one can no longer breath while in a normal position due to fluid build up in the lungs, they will begin to lay sideways, or on their backs to make breathing easier. It is at this point that they drown from fluid in their lungs, develop pulmonary edema, or simply cease to breath.
CaRo was at this stage when he arrived at the ranch. He was severely emaciated, dehydrated, and terrified of water. In his despirate search for momma, CaRo wandered through a nest of seed ticks that covered his body. CaRo was two pounds under weight (a huge amount for such a tiny thing), and very anemic from his high parasite load. It was on the sixth day of his torturous ordeal as an orphan that Kathy talked the people who found him into bringing him to her. Lucky for CaRo, Kathy got excelent details!
This is one of those rare and amazing stories where everything just goes perfectly. CaRo was on death's door. One wrong move, and he would not have made it. As soon as CaRo was in Kathy's care, she began hydration, and called us. We got there, and back to the ranch to perform his intake exam within the hour. He was placed on an antibiotic regime immediately, and sub-Q's were administered. His extreme emotional fear of anything liquid was immediately apparent. We knew he would not lap anything that looked like water, no matter how thirsty he was.
The next morning, 12 hours after intake, CaRo entered stage 4 pnemonia. Stage 5 is death. We increased his dose of antibiotics, and cocktailed them to make them stronger. It was touch and go for nearly the next seven hours. At 1:45pm Saturday, I pulled him out of his crate for what I thought was the final time. he had death-rolled three times that morning. The last time, he had no lividity. His legs went limp, his head rolled back, lack of oxygen was making brain damage a very serious reality. We searched in vain for a vet with an oxygen chamber. Note to self: we have GOT to find a small human grade oxygen tank or oxygen condenser!
Finally, he rolled his eyes a couple of times, and lifted his head back up! Sometimes, the will to live in these tiny wild creatures just amazes me! From that point on, CaRo was not allowed to lay down again. To do so meant certain death. From 2:00pm Saturday afternoon until 6:00am Sunday morning when the antibiotics finally began to take effect, CaRo was held upright.
I am happy to announce that CaRo seems to have come through the worst of it. His hydration is back to 80%, and he has begun to eat raw meats, baby food, formula, and fingers! We remain cautiously optimisic, and the jury is still out on wether or not he has suffered any brain damage, but his actions are becoming more normal by the hour and he is already gaining weight.
He is certainly not out of the woods yet, but he has been removed from critical care, and placed into stabilized care. Quick thinking*, correct diagnosis thanks to detailed history, and the ability to put the clues together, as well as a willingness to work with others, and appropriate treatement regime all came together to save this little guy's life. One wrong move here, and he would have been dead. You know it's commin.....wait for it......THAT'S what networks are all about!
Thanks Kathy for your great powers of persuasion in getting him turned over to you, and for your quick thinking, Dodi for your warm lap, Kate for the moral support, Kim for the physical help & support, Kay, Carol, & Kate for taking all my high maintenance babies so that I could focus on this one very sick baby, and to Mike for understanding why sometimes, I have to put a little fur ball first, and for not being selfish about my time.
Life is good :0)
View more photos of him in gallery!
CaRo is currently spending time with our domestic barn cats. He is hilarious with them! he doesn't have a clue how to play, so they are teaching him; though he still remains very timid. They are all about the same age, and his bonding with them saves him from bonding with us.
In the wild, bobcats and domestic cats often live in harmony, just as with dogs and other wildlife (check out this VERY cool picture taken by our friend Chris Jackson at DFW urban wildlife...do you see the bobcat hanging out behind the coyote?). Check out his AWESOME page that helps us all to better understand the CaRos of the world are simply victims of the media.
This shot taken by DFW urban wildlife.
It is a very rare case when bobcats are hungry enough to attack anything larger than a rat. They only truely show agression when they are hungry. This is why for the most part, we do not see them. On rare occasion in urban environments they may have trouble finding food, and may be observed stalking small dogs and cats, though even still it is an extremely rare occasion to see them actually make an agressive move towards them. Most bobcats are genuinely shy and gentle.
CaRo continues his dramatic improvement! He has now gained almost five pounds, and has finally gotten his big boy bounce on! He is still quite timid, and shows signs that he may easily wild up once placed out with the other cats. He will undoubtedly be moved out in the next week as soon as the cold weather moves out.
He will spend several weeks alone in an enclosure where he can meet the other bobcats in a safe environment. With any luck, we will intake other bobcats very soon that will be suitable cage mates for him.
Unfortunately, CaRo did not wild up as we had hoped. None of the bobcats here at NBRR are forced to make a transition that they are not mentally and emotionally prepared for. Bobcats are amazingly emotionally charged, intellegent animals. You cannot force them to mature before they are ready, and some of them never reach that point.
CaRo is a perfect example of that. Due to the extensive amount of handling required to save his life, CaRo became very heavily imprinted on people. Due to the terrible public perception that the bobcat has, for his own safety, a bobcat that imprinted on people does not make a good release candidate. People fear what they do not understand, and in this case, it would cost CaRo his life.
CaRo and his buddy Frankie will go on to become ambasadors for wildlife, and for their amazing species at CuriOdyssey (Formerly the Coyote Point Museum).
In the wild, bobcats can live from 10-15 years. In captivity, that number goes up to 30+ years! That means that CaRo and Frankie will have many many years of the easy life as wildlife ambasadors for their species! Though it may not be the outcome we aime for here at NBRR, CaRo remains one of the best all time sucess stories of NBRR. Good luck CaRo on your new life as wildlife ambasador!
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