Nikko – In Memory


Nikko is a male bobcat who arrived at The Wildcat Sanctuary in 2004. He was just two years old at the time.  He’d been privately owned by someone in Iowa.

As we’ve heard time and time again, life circumstances changed. When the owner and her boyfriend broke-up, he threatened to turn her in for illegally owning a bobcat.  She was worried Nikko may be seized and put down.  So she surrendered him to us.

Life at the Sanctuary


Nikko’s never gotten along with the other bobcats at the sanctuary.  But we soon realized he seemed to like African servals instead. That’s why Nikko has lived with a serval named Rio for quite some time and thinks it’s just grand. Even after many years of living together, their personalities just seem to click.

Early in 2006, we almost lost Nikko. We noticed he was chasing his tail frantically and had body tremors. Our veterinarian did an entire physical, blood work-up and x-rays and still could not determine what was causing the neurological symptoms.

We made an appointment at the University of Minnesota and they performed a CAT scan and spinal tap on Nikko. All tests came back normal. All we could do was watch Nikko, day-to-day and ensure he had a great quality of life.

Just when we almost gave up hope, his symptoms subsided, and he began to heal himself. He’s back to his normal self, except for a small tail twitch. The vets now assume it was a lesion somewhere on the spinal cord from a fall, or other minor accident that must have healed itself, but we’ll never know for sure.

Nikko and Rio have become slower geriatric cats and more sensitive to heat. They like to stay in the shade or inside their indoor bedroom area cuddled up together. We’ve even added air conditioning for their area since they’re prone to overheating, too.

It’s so great when we can make a match like this, making it possible for these cats to live out their days with companionship, even if it is of a different species!

How You Can Help

Rescuing young wild cats is so expensive, especially when they come with medical issues. That’s why our sponsorship program is such a huge help! Would you consider being Nikko’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 for your compassionate support!


In Memory

One of life’s greatest gifts is the opportunity to grow old. And when that happens for one of our rescued residents, it’s also a gift to all of us who love and care for cats like bobcat Nikko.

Nikko was a former pet who was surrendered to our sanctuary when he was just 2 years old.

He’s one of the lucky few who got to spend most of his life safe at sanctuary.  But even so, he had some challenges along the way.

Nikko was the perfect combination of sweet and spicy. In his heart, he was a bobcat and loved to assert that side at times.  But he also loved to rub, purr and snuggle up to sleep with his friend Rio the serval.

Nikko began showing neurological symptoms soon after he arrived at the sanctuary. His tail and toes would tremor, and he would chase and chew at them both.

He had several diagnostics performed including an MRI and spinal tap at the University of MN.  But nothing could be found. Other bobcats saw this as weakness and would take advantage of him, so he initially lived on his own.

But after his symptoms subsided, we introduced him to servals.  One in particular, Rio, who was known to be very assertive and too much for others of his own kind.  Nikko and Rio bonded right away and spent 20 wonderful years together.

As Nikko aged, he developed severe osteoarthritis that was made worse having been 4-paw declawed by his previous owners.  For years, oral pain management worked well, and Nikko was still stalking in the grass, climbing to the top of his platform and chasing Rio around his yard.

Nikko’s softer side continued to shine through as he aged.  He loved to rub in cat nip, purr loudly at the fence when visited and overall, just became slower and calmer.

Nikko was part of our comfort care program for several years.  His pain medication increased to three times a day. Staff built him raised tables for his meals, so he didn’t have to crouch down. He was given soft bedding and hammocks to comfort his aging joints.

In the last few months, there were mornings when Nikko was lethargic and didn’t want to come up for meds. But then by noon, he would be his perky self.

We knew his time was coming when these spells came more frequently.  And the last days of his life, it was every day.  We knew his time was fast approaching and decided to help him pass peacefully.

He spent his last night curled up with Rio, but our staff kept a close watch. Rio seemed to know it was time as well.  He was calm as we helped Nikko pass on.  And at 19, Rio is wiser as well.

Nikko, the most we can ask for is so many wonderful years with you. So many years you knew love, companionship, freedom in a wooded habitat and sweet dreams every night.

Sleep well and remember, Rio is always with you in your dreams.