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Rehab bobcat returns to wild

Growling and snarling... she was ready to go
Rehab bobcat makes its way back into the wild.
Published: May. 9, 2022 at 7:32 PM EDT
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UPPER PENINSULA, Mich. (WLUC) - A bobcat landed in the care of UP Wildlife Rehabilitator Beth Maatta in December after a mistaken pounce on a porcupine. The cat became pricked with quills and was starving. Now – things are looking up.

“She gained weight and once she was good enough to thermoregulate more on her own she got moved into the outdoor enclosure,” said Maatta. “Out there... no food was free. She had to work for it all whether it was hidden or something. We live hunted her so she of course knew how to hunt.”

Maatta planned to hold onto the cat until warmer weather. To make sure it was good to go, Dr. Rebecca Severn from the Copper Country Veterinary Clinic stopped by. She was able to examine and sedate the bobcat for transport.

“Remembering how small she was... she was four pounds that’s quite small for even a domestic cat,” said Dr. Severn. “And, the quills were embedded in her skin. [She’s] much better in weight condition, maybe a little chunky which is probably good to go into the wild as she learns to take care of herself again.”

After the bobcat was relaxed it was loaded for transport to an undisclosed location. To properly release the animal, Maata left the cage for a den. She also left some meat for it to eat at first.

Then, she opened the gate. The bobcat stepped out.

“She’s going to go off... get used to the area and figure out what works best for her,” said Maatta. “She’s going to find the food, the local food sources, she’s going to find where she feels comfortable denning, and she’s free and wild - just like we want them.”

Bobcat rehabs are not common. In fact, Maatta says this is only her first and that she’s very grateful it worked out.

“Yeah, still a little surreal, very happy that she is free and it was successful,” said Maatta.

She would also like to thank everyone involved for their help.

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