Categories: Bobcat

Woman thought she rescued a kitten by the side of a road but ‘stole’ a bobcat instead

I am going to take a different stance on this story which is about a woman driving along on Sept 20th in Chattanooga, Tennessee, USA when a bobcat kitten darted across the road. She left her vehicle and checked the animal which she had first thought was a rabbit.

Difference between bobcat kitten and tabby domestic kitten. The bobcat is a tabby cat, yes, but there is a stark difference in appearance. The wild nature of the bobcat and the refined, delicate appearance of the domestic kitten are apparent in this comparison.

The kitten did not run from her so she decided to rescue it. Although well-intentioned, this was a big mistake because she believed the kitten was a domestic animal when in fact it was a bobcat kitten. It is quite feasible to assume that at the precise moment she put her into her car and drove off that the kitten’s mother was yards away which is why I have used the word ‘stole’ in the title.

She stole the kitten from his mother and we don’t know how the mother felt and feels but can guess. It was a genuine attempt to help but a mistake in interfering with nature.

“…she is a bobcat 😂 and I took her to a wildlife rescue who has named her Arwen! She is about 5 weeks old and is drinking a lot of formula!”

The kitten does not look like a domestic cat and looks very much like a bobcat to me. There is no doubting it. There is a distinct difference between wild and domestic in appearance. Clearly the woman, Jill Masengale did not know the difference.

Perhaps the confusion, fear or lack of experience which followed pacified this little bobcat as he initially behaved like a domestic kitten in sitting on her lap while she drove home.

She was about to bathe the bobcat and take him into her bed when a friend told her that he was a bobcat. Thank God for that.

She took the cat who was named ‘Arwen’ to a local volunteer wildlife rehabilitation center for wild animals such as Arwen. The center is called: For Fox Sake Wildlife Rescue.

They say that she now behaves like a wild cat should in captivity. Wild kittens are insuitable as human companions.

“Now that the initial shock and confusion have worn off, she’s acting a lot more like we’d expect of a bobcat, with lots of defensive behavior and a healthy mistrust of humans.”

The Facebook post from Jill Masengale says that she is sad that the kitten’s mother had probably spent a considerable time searching for her kitten.

“….she thinks maybe the mom had a litter and lost it and then had this baby. It made me sad to think that she lost a litter and now I took this one from her and she spent all night searching for her baby but I had no idea it was a bobcat. I thought it was a kitten and just wanted to keep it from getting hit by a car or eaten by coyotes.”

Arwen will be released into the wild when they decide the time is right. How successful will it be? Look, I don’t mean to be critical but the existence of For Fox Sake Wildlife Rescue is due to the failure of humans to interact well with wildlife. This is a story of failure really if we are brutally honest.

The mistake aspect of this story needs to be spelled out but the internet is too keen to be entertained by the whole thing. People should realise that across the planet thousands of wild kittens of various wild cat species are stolen from their mothers for the purpose of selling them to ignorant people who want to possess them as pets.

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Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 71-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in many jobs including professional photography. I have a girlfriend, Michelle. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare.

View Comments

  • Stole is accurate. Absconded, kit-napped. I don't think that was the intent here though. Overall, humans do a terrible job stewarding wildlife properly. It's good to bring that to light whenever possible, as with publications like PoC.

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