Woman rescues bobcat thinking it’s a kitten

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (WDEF) — A woman rescues a kitten in Chattanooga, but it turns out to be not what she thought.

While driving down Graysville Road, Jill Hicks recently saw a kitten darting across it.

“I pulled over on the side of the road, got out, got it. It did run a little bit, but not fast and not far. I crouched down. I picked it up. I put it in the car with me. It climbed all over me,” Hicks said.

Later after consulting with neighbors, she realized what she rescued was actually a bobcat.

“I was going to go home from dinner, give her a bath, put her in the bed with me and when we decided she was a bobcat, I was like I probably better not do all of that.”

Hicks took her to For Fox Sake Wildlife Rescue. She was named Arwen. Rehabilitator Juniper Russo says there are ways to tell the difference between kittens and young bobcats.

“Bobcat kittens always have spots in some form or another, whereas actual spotted markings are really rare in domestic cats and a bobcat kitten will sometimes, but not always have black tufts on the ears, which are also possible in domestic cats, but pretty rare,” Russo said.

She says bobcats can be dangerous.

“As they get older they will become more and more aggressive and a male bobcat especially can be about twice the size of a typical domestic cat and also very unpredictable in its behavior,” Russo said.

Russo hopes to have Arwen until March. She says the bobcat will be released in a protected area close to where she was found.

As for Hicks, she says she wouldn’t have done anything differently.

“Even though I thought she was a kitten, had I known she was a bobcat, in that small and in that high trafficked area, I still would have done the same thing,” Hicks said.


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