watching bobcats grow
I heard that one of our new longterm bobcats discovered something about his enclosure today though. HANGING BARRELS ARE AWESOME!!!
We currently have three longterm enclosures in a row on one side of the property. Each one of them is designed differently. The first one has ramps up to the cat walks because one of the cats in it has balance issues, and cannot jump accurately. The second, has a fully enclosed ramp up to a fully enclosed sky box because both bobcats in it have moderate balance issues and fall easily. The third has no ramps, except a ladder up to a den. There is also a den created from a barrel hanging about a foot from the catwalk and a satelite chair in the corner.
These items were all employed with enrichment in mind. The bobcat is an extremely intellegent animal. We are talking like dog smart. Like at least as intelegent as your family pooch. Any enrichment we do is ONLY through trained staff that specifically handle the bobcats with very limited contact from any other people who come out to the ranch. All enrichment is aimed at preventing these guys from getting bored, and keeping their minds and bodies active.
The previous two cats in this enclosure tried the barrel once when it was first placed in there, but never really understood or liked it. We have cut one end out, and cut a “window” out of the side of it, and have it free hanging in the enclosure.
Today, Val let me know that the most recent resident now LOVES that barrel! She has been trying to get a picture of him in it all day, but every time he sees her, he comes running out to greet her, and never stays long enough for a photo op!
As adorable as he is, this is a highly unfortunate side-effect of inexperienced (though well meaning) people attempting their hand at rehabilitation. I must always stress that this is NOT the outcome that we wanted for this cat. His job was to wild up, and return to where he belongs. It is a shame that this cat now has to spend his life as a captive “wild” animal. Not safe as(nor should he be) a pet, not wild enough to thrive.
PLEASE do not attempt to rehabilitate or keep a bobcat as a pet. They need very specialized care to return to the wild. If you or someone you know has or knows of a bobcat that needs to be rescued (from a captive situation), or rehabilitated, please let us know. I check my e-mail daily. firstname.lastname@example.org
I should be watching him learn to trust himself and pull away from the humans who raised him. I should be watching him walk away from me when I come near, instead of running full speed to meet me. Though it would tear me up watching him grow away from me, It is bittersweet watching him, and knowing the life he should be living is not the one he and I are experiencing. It shouldn’t be our experience…it should be his, and his alone.