Two Blind Bobcats Rescued

Not one, but two, blind bobcats have made their way to Big Cat Rescue this Spring.

On December 5th, Rufus, a 2 month old male bobcat kitten, was found on the side of a South Carolina road after he had been hit by a car.  His jaw was broken and he was comatose. He was taken to Carolina Wildlife Care in Columbia South Carolina where he was treated for his injuries.  His jaw was set and wired in place and he was tube fed once he awoke from the coma.  After several weeks of recuperating, it became apparent to his care givers that something else was wrong with the five pound kitten.

His eyes seemed fine, but he would run into things and could not even find his food when it was right in front of him.  Rufus was seen by eye specialists who determined the bobcat kitten had permanent brain damage as a result of the impact on his head.  Although his eyes did work properly, his pupils dilate and contract, his brain does not receive the information his eyes receive and therefore he is essentially blind. This was not good news.

A blind bobcat would not be able to survive in the wild and so Carolina Wildlife Care sought a permanent home for Rufus. Big Cat Rescue answered the call and took in the now 5 month old bobcat.  Rufus has been living in the onsite Cat Hospital since his arrival where he is closely monitored by staff and the veterinarian.  His jaw has healed and he eats well on his own, with a little help finding his dinner plate.  Because Rufus is blind it has been quite challenging for his keepers to care for him.  His sense of smell is not that great, so his keepers have to put his face right next to his plate so he can find his food.

Precautions also have to be taken to make sure that nothing in his room is against the wall. Not only is he is blind he is also a bit slow to process situations, if he were to get stuck between two things that are against the wall he has no idea how to turn around and will just sit there with his nose against the wall until someone turns him around. It has been a few weeks now since Rufus’ arrival and he is getting around much better.  All of the items on the floor in his room are kept in the same place so he can memorize their locations and avoid running into them.  His next challenge is exploring the great out doors.  His keepers take him to an outdoor enclosure for supervised playtime each day.  Eventually he will remain outside full-time, but first he must learn the new area.  While he does this Rescuers are nearby to assist him should he need it.

Tune in on Ustream to watch Rufus in the Cat Hospital.