Selene is a female bobcat who arrived at the sanctuary in 2020 with her sister Sky. They were only three months old at the time. She is the more outgoing one and sadly definitely imprinted on people.

Imagine you’re hiking outdoors, you see two little balls of fur on the dirt path in front of you. They’re meowing. Loudly. No mother is in sight. You’re worried for them and you don’t want to leave them in harm’s way. You scoop them up and bring them home. You think you’ve saved their lives and are treating them like pets.

Often, no matter how well intentioned, you actually just sentenced them to live in a cage – for life.

In your heart, you want to give them the best chance at life. For weeks, you keep them in your home while searching for the right rehabilitation center or wildlife agency. After a few weeks or more, you finally decide it’s time to bring them in to a rehabber so they can care for them until they can be free.

But, the sad reality is, they’re often destined to life in captivity. Picking up or ‘rescuing’ baby wildlife unnecessarily turns these animals into orphans – when they were never even orphaned at all. Their mother’s often left searching for her young.

Sadly, baby wildlife that imprint on humans are less likely to survive when they’re released back into the wild. This is exactly what happened to these two sisters from Arizona and why they came to The Wildcat Sanctuary to live out their lives.

Life At The Sanctuary

Seeing Selene and her sister Sky as kittens, you can certainly understand the uphill battle we face educating the masses that wild needs to stay wild. It’s a shame Mother Nature makes wild kittens so darn cute and irresistible.

From the moment they arrived, they’ve been our little energizer bobcats. It was hard to get photos of them since they were always dashing around, playing and rough housing with each other. You can tell them apart since Selene has a much browner coat than Sky.

In their early days here, we had to separate them since they were getting a bit too aggressive with each other. But, after they were spayed, we were able to reintroduce them to each other and today they get along great.

It was funny seeing how they woke up from their surgery and began playing with toys immediately. They weren’t phased at all by their spay procedure.

Since these two are such social little cats, we moved them to the very front of the sanctuary where they can watch all the comings and goings throughout the day.  Sort of like “human TV” for them. With bobcats living on one side and servals living on the other, it keeps them busy.

As an adult, Selene continues to be the more dominant one, first to head to caretakers at feeding time and first to enjoy enrichment. But Sky follows her lead quickly.

The funniest thing about these two is, even though they’re wild born bobcats, they’re not big fans of the snow as all our other bobcats are. Yes, they get thick winter coats, but you’ll find them cuddled up in their heated bedrooms a lot during the colder days here.

How You Can Help

Rescuing young wild cats is so expensive, especially since you have 20+ years ahead of care costs. That’s why our sponsorship program is such a huge help! Would you consider being Selene’s sponsor parent?

Or even a one time donation towards his care would help so much. It’s easy to do using the buttons you see at the top of this page.  Thank you!

Thank you SWCC

Thank you to Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center (SWCC) in Phoenix, Arizona for originally taking in these two bobcat sisters. Their goal was to release them back into the wild, but shortly after arriving, they realized they’d imprinted on humans and would not survive in the wild. SWCC rescues native wild animals who have lost their homes to development, or are found injured, orphaned, or abandoned. When possible, the animals in their care are rehabilitated and released — healthy and wild — back where they belong. They successfully release over 70% of the animals that are brought to their center.

When to Rescue Wildlife

When a wild animal is disoriented, injured or suffering, then it is time to intervene. Getting the animal to a certified wildlife rehabilitator or licensed veterinarian can save its life and provide them the best chance of release back into the wild. Trying to nurse the back to health yourself without allowing them to imprint is almost impossible.

When to Leave Wildlife Alone

Spring brings with it the temptation to pet, touch, or “help” furred or feathered babies. In most instances, however, it’s best to leave baby fawns, birds, or other wildlife alone.

First, try to determine whether the animal is hurt or sick. Is the animal shivering, vomiting, or bleeding?

Does the animal have an apparent broken limb or wing? Has it been attacked by a dog or cat? If the answer to any of these is yes, then the animal needs assistance.

The best thing to do is to contact a licensed wildlife rehabilitator immediately. These experts care for injured, ill, and orphaned wild animals with the goal of releasing them back into their natural habitat.

If the answer to the above questions is no, then try to figure out if the animal really is orphaned.

Spring is a busy time for wildlife parents, who typically leave their young alone, sometimes for long periods of time, throughout the day. This does not mean that the parent is not nearby and very conscious of its young. Contrary to popular belief, human scent will not prevent the parents from returning to care for their young. These tips can help you decide whether to take action.

Signs a wild animal needs your help:

– Presented by a cat or dog

– Evidence of bleeding

– An apparent or obvious broken limb

– Featherless or nearly featherless and on the ground

– Shivering

– A dead parent nearby

– Crying and wandering ALL day long