Do you ever wonder what you will find when you come home from the road? I am the founder and owner of AllStays LLC and this is my best homecoming story.
My family was on the road for a regular spring trip last year. We came home to a quiet and seemingly normal home just before Easter. But then a couple days later, during our annual Easter egg hunt, we discovered a uninvited family had moved into a corner under our deck. With all the noise from our party, the mom was scared away, climbed a fence and disappeared in a blink of any eye. Five newborn bobcats remained. We cleared the area and the Easter party ended.
With hopes of the mother returning for the young, we let them be. This corner of the deck backs up to a living room window. I left it cracked open so I could occasionally listen to them. Late into the night, I heard some noise and what sounded like heavy breathing, almost a purring sound. I was hoping that meant the mom had returned.
The next day, torn between avoiding the area and the need to check on the status of everyone, I waited and listened. All was quiet. Were they there? Did they all leave? I needed to check just in case I had to step in if the mother never returned.
I quietly moved to the spot above the deck and peered down between the cracks. There were three babies and no movement other than a couple of flies. My guess was that the mom had returned and taken two of them away, perhaps the strongest pair, and left these behind. Five is a big liter for bobcats.
I could not leave them there to just decompose or to have any nearby children try to follow up on them. Imagine the sadness of a egg hunt and wild animal babies turning into someone saying "they all died!" I called the state wildlife department but could not get an answer. I collected a cardboard box, a towel, gloves and a shovel. I didn't want to be in a small space if the mother returned so I removed a few of the planks on the deck above. I also did not want to handle the babies with my own bare hands for multiple reasons. When I first nudged the shovel beside one of the babies, I heard a cry. There was life! But every little cry and gasp for breath looked like it could be the last.
One barely alive baby bobcat was moved into the box. Then I scooped the second one and another cry came out. Two alive! Then the third. Only the cold silence of death followed behind. Two were barely hanging on and the third was most likely gone, having slipped quickly through all nine lives. But I felt that I could not know for sure or take the time for further checks. The box was big enough for three. I called the non-profit Wildlife Center which was over a hours drive away. They specialized in taking care of and rehabilitating wild animals, while avoiding human imprinting, for return to the wild.
I was off in my truck, with the faint chorus of crying bobcats pushing me the whole way.
I was correct in that two of the three were alive. And they were only a day old, these Easter Bobcats.
Touch and Go. The early time was most critical to keep their digestive tracts going without issues. The male gained 90 grams in the first week and the female gained 50 grams.
They had the will (and the amazing care) to get to 5 weeks old as seen here
And now, one year later, they are ready to be released back into the wild this month..
With another orphan. The two laying down were our guests.
It is always an adventure returning home and wondering if everything is okay. Is your house okay? Your normal pets okay? Water problems? Rodents? Other pests? While most of us do not expect a family of bobcats to move in, you just never know. I am glad this story had a mostly happy ending.
As for the original family, I don't know who is who but I do see both a female and a male around my house every so often. They leave paw prints in the snow and roll around in the bamboo. They also like to get on the roof and look down in skylights, observing us wild humans from above.
The New Mexico Wildlife Center relies on contributions. If this positive ending touches you in any way and you would like to share a small donation, every bit helps.
It isn't necessary but if you wish, you can mention Easter Bobcats, AllStays or Adam Longfellow in the text note. New Mexico Wildlife Center is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. All gifts to New Mexico Wildlife Center are fully tax-deductible.