Lesson 2.2: Rescue Protocol

It’s important to understand how and why bobcats come into our care for rehabilitation before learning more about how we care for them. Our sanctuary rescues and rehabilitates adult bobcats, as well as bobcat kittens. We acquire bobcats in need of our rehabilitation program a number of ways, including calls/contact from:

  • individuals or law enforcement who have seen injured/orphaned bobcats (the people may or may not have left the scene)
  • fellow rescue centers who do not have the experience or facilities to rehabilitate large carnivores
  • veterinary clinics that have an injured or orphaned bobcat brought to their facility


Reasons for Rescuing Bobcats

As you may have noticed in the above list, bobcats come to Big Cat Rescue for two main reasons: they are either injured or they are orphaned. Before we proceed to pick up and rescue an injured or orphaned bobcat, we will request those contacting us to send us photos via text or email so we can confirm the identity of the bobcat before arrangements are made.


Injured Bobcats

The first, and most common reason, is due to injury. Injury can describe impacts from cars, disease, and even fires during prescribed burns.

  • Car Accidents
    • Bobcats who are injured are usually struck by cars, and the physical damage includes broken pelvis and leg bones. Head injuries are less common, but can result in brain or eye damage.
  • Disease
    • Other injuries include severe parasite infestations, like mange. Intense infestations like these weaken the animal’s immune system, making them more likely to be preyed upon by coyotes, foxes, and other large wildlife. Disease-related injuries also include things like birth defects, where the population of bobcats were restricted to a small territory, resulting in inbreeding.
  • Prescribed Burns
    • Sections of forest are burned in a controlled method to reduce the potential for more devastating fires that result in mass destruction over a larger area. While this is a necessary practice, animals that are within that territory can be injured and/or displaced during these prescribed burns.

Orphaned Bobcats

Bobcat kittens are rescued when they have been orphaned for various reasons. The mother may have died from being struck by a car, or disease, or they may have been separated when the mother was attempting to relocate the litter.

Rescue Dispatch

In the event of a rescue or pick up, the BCR truck is loaded with supplies. Supplies include:

  • medium sized carrier (the squeeze cage is too cumbersome to move efficiently at a rescue site)
  • 4 nets
  • catch pole
  • welding gloves
  • blankets and towels
  • head lamps
  • water dish and water

Some of these supplies are permanently housed in the truck, but it’s important that the presence of necessary supplies be confirmed before leaving the sanctuary to ensure the rescue is as quick and efficient as possible.

A minimum of one vaccinated Bobcat Rehab Keeper is required to lead the rescue. Unvaccinated staff, volunteers, interns, or members of the public may be utilized to assist in capture, but must not come into direct contact with the bobcat since there is a risk of injury or exposure to rabies.


When a bobcat is rescued, we create a daily tracking chart in Google Docs and document the following in the header:

  • Male or female
  • approximate DOB
  • acquisition date
  • location or address where found
  • contact name, email, and phone of individual reporting or relinquishing the bobcat
  • brief history regarding the bobcat
  • date to request extension to rehabilitation if warranted

Those rules we covered earlier in the FWC Regulations section specify the requirement that we complete daily entries (which can be inspected at any time) on this chart.

Watch the video of Alpha being rescued and examined by our veterinarians.

Click on the Mark Complete button to go to Lesson 2.3: Veterinary Care.


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