Don’t be fooled by their big blue eyes and cute freckled fur, these kitties are no house cats.
A San Antonio family recently took two kittens into their home, believing they had been given a pair of abandoned Bengal cats, a rare and desirable domestic breed of cat.
Several bites and a Google search later, the family realized they had actually taken in two bobcats. They handed the pair over to local animal care services, who weren’t best pleased with the situation.
“Yet another instance of inexcusable human behavior has resulted in two baby bobcats being orphaned when they should have remained in the wild,” Wildlife Rescue & Rehabilitation, Inc. posted on Facebook.
The family is now under investigation for possibly violating Texas wildlife laws. The San Antonio Express-News reports that the family’s relative who gave them the kittens had originally found bobcats in his attic, one of which died before it reached the family’s house. However, the family insists their actions were well-intentioned and simply a matter of misunderstanding.
As you’ve no doubt guessed, a bobcat (Lynx rufus) is not a suitable animal to keep as a pet. Typically nocturnal creatures that hunt at night, they instinctively keep away from humans and can act aggressively if threatened.
Don’t be too worried that your new kitten is actually a ferocious wildcat in disguise, though, there are a few telltale signs that identify a bobcat from a domestic cat. For one, they are considerably bigger than your average kitty, with fully-grown individuals growing up to 1.23 meters (4 feet) in length. The dead giveaway is their tail. Unlike the long tail of a domestic cat, bobcats have a stubby bobbed tail – get it? Bobcat, bobbed tail.
This pair hasn't had the easiest first few months, but all is not lost yet. The animal care services are currently caring for them, while keeping physical contact to an absolute minimum so they do not lose their healthy fear of humans. They will remain in their care for up to a year, then hopefully returned to the wild.
“Because the fragile window of opportunity to reunite them with their mother has most likely passed, our goal now is to keep them wild and after a year or so, release them to a protected habitat where humans will never lay eyes on them,” Wildlife Rescue & Rehabilitation, Inc. said.
The moral of the story: wild animals belong in the wild and always take care if you decide to adopt an animal.