Pair of bobcat kittens rehabbing in Lake County

Bobcat Kitten 2
One of the two bobcat kittens that the staff at Penitentiary Glen Wildlife Center in Kirkland in northeast Ohio are caring for, with hopes that they can be eventually released back into the wild. (Photo courtesy of the Penitentiary Glen Wildlife Center)

The bobcat kitten found in a Carroll County campground in late June and nursed at the Lake Metroparks Penitentiary Glen Wildlife Center in Kirtland has a feline friend.

Another female bobcat kitten preceded the Carroll County cat into the center by several weeks and is also being successfully nurtured there. The two have become fast friends, according to Tammy O’Neil, the animals’ care manager.

Daily shenanigans of the two young bobcats can be viewed live online at lakemetroparks.com/webcams

The earlier kitten was found sleeping on a roadway in Harrison County with no parent in sight. It was about three weeks old at the time. A local vet checked it over before ODNR wildlife staff took over the job of transporting the little bobcat to the experts at Penitentiary Glen.

“Overall, it looked pretty healthy, just thin and weak,” O’Neil said. “She (the kitten) had a pretty voracious appetite right away and didn’t wean off milk as easily as other bobcats we have raised.”

Gradually, the staff worked at tapering the tiny critter off milk and onto solid food. Venison has now become her favorite staple, O’Neil noted.

She is getting stronger by the day and appears curious about everything.

It’s important for the two young bobcats to be together and socialize since that is how they learn and practice the natural behaviors that will help them survive in the wild. They must learn to fight, stalk, and chase, O’Neil said.

Metroparks staff expect to release both bobcats into the wild next May.

They will be careful to release each in the county where it was found in order to prevent any possible spread of disease, O’Neil said.

Bobcats are on the rebound in Ohio and have been sighted in 40 of the state’s 88 counties. They have moved north and west from two populations in the southern and southeast portions of the state, biologists said.

Categories: Ohio – Jane Beathard

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