Baby bobcat rescuer did everything right

By Joanna Fitzgerald | Director of the von Arx Wildlife Hospital

A baby bobcat and a Seminole bat were among the 110 animals admitted to the von Arx Wildlife Hospital at the Conservancy of Southwest Florida last week.

The bobcat was heard crying under a house in Golden Gate Estates. The resident at the home left the baby overnight hoping the mother bobcat would hear her baby’s cries and retrieve her baby.

When the mom did not return, the woman called us the following morning for guidance. Hospital staff knew we were dealing with an orphan situation since the mom hadn’t returned overnight. Thankfully, the woman was able to get the baby to the hospital for immediate attention.

The baby bobcat was estimated to be approximately four weeks old and showed signs of stress and exhaustion. The bobcat tested positive for internal parasites and, aside from a scab on her hip and tail, was in good condition.

Hospital staff provided electrolytes and placed the bobcat in a quiet area of the hospital to rest. The baby was monitored throughout the day; a milk replacement formula specifically made for bobcats was mixed with electrolytes. The bobcat immediately began to drink the dilute milk formula. Over the course of several feedings the amount of formula was increased until the bobcat was getting full milk. Staff also offered mice and a quality cat kibble to the baby’s diet.

The bobcat will be transferred to another wildlife rehabilitator who has space specifically designed to rear a baby bobcat so it will not get habituated to people.

The woman who reported the orphaned bobcat did everything we could have hoped. She monitored the situation but also allowed the mother bobcat the opportunity to retrieve her baby. When the mother did not return, the bobcat’s rescuer immediately sought help from professionals.

The cause of the baby being orphaned is unknown. Most certainly the bobcat was incredibly fortunate to have been found.

Please, if you suspect an animal is injured or orphaned call the von Arx Wildlife Hospital staff for assistance. Staff will evaluate the situation and determine the appropriate course of action while keeping the well-being of the animal our top priority.

Recent Releases

  • 2 great horned owls
  • 10 Virginia opossums
  • 3 northern mockingbirds
  • 1 diamondback terrapin
  • 1 marsh rabbit
  • 6 eastern cottontails
  • 2 blue jays
  • 1 Swainson’s thrush
  • 1 belted kingfisher
  • 1 gopher tortoise
  • 1 rose-breasted grosbeak
  • 1 American crow
  • 1 osprey
  • 2 northern cardinals
  • 2 eastern screech owls
  • 3 mourning doves
  • 1 common grackle
  • 1 worm-eating warbler
  • 1 hispid cotton rat
  • 1 mottled duck

Opportunities to Help

Please visit the Conservancy website at www.conservancy.org to view all of the amazing volunteer opportunities at the Conservancy of Southwest Florida. Your volunteer time, as well as memberships and donations, are vital in helping us continue our work to protect Southwest Florida’s water, land, wildlife and future.

Joanna Fitzgerald is director of the von Arx Wildlife Hospital at the Conservancy of Southwest Florida. Call 239–262–2273 or see conservancy.org.