A young bobcat that apparently escaped from its owner near Petal, is being nursed back to health at a wildlife rehab center in Woolmarket.
The two year old animal was emaciated and tick infested when it was captured two weeks ago near Petal. Whoever kept the bobcat as a pet, had had the wild cat spayed and de-clawed.
The bobcat nicknamed "Rose" is now in much better shape now, thanks to the ongoing efforts of the Wildlife Care and Rescue Center.
"Rose" the bobcat is heavier and healthier than when she was found two weeks ago. The two year old animal remains skittish around strangers, even though she was apparently someone's illegal pet.
"Not only is it against the law for people to have them as pets, but this is a perfect example of what happens to a pet that cannot be handled anymore. And she's not a trusting animal. Instinct kicks in. She is a wild animal. She is a predator and has the potential even still for hurting people," said Alison Sharpe, who's working to rehabilitate the animal.
But "Rose" will never be returned to the wild. Whoever owned the cat had her de-clawed, making it near impossible for the wild cat to hunt. Rescuers found a collar imbedded in the animal's neck.
"And you can see it had been around her neck for quite some time. Because all her hair is just rubbed on it on the inside. It was very tight around her neck," Sharpe explained, as she held the fur filled collar.
"We had the collar removed off the cat. And it was then through an examination we discovered that she had been spayed and has been declawed on all four feet, which is certainly going to make it so she could never, ever be released back into the wild."
Keeping "Rose" healthy means lots of meat. And that's the immediate need.
"She's eating on an average about six pieces of chicken, a couple of rats and a couple of small mice a day. So, she is really consuming some food," Sharpe explained.
Once she's healthy enough, Rose will be taken to a wild cat sanctuary in Arizona. Sharpe wants others to learn that such animals are not meant to be pets.
"As long as people feel that they can keep wildlife as pets, it will continue to happen," she said.
Again, the immediate need is for food. If you'd like to help out, you can reach the Wildlife Care and Rescue Center at (228) 392-7511.
The group also needs donations to help pay for the animal's transportation to the wild cat sanctuary in Arizona.