Update on orphaned bobcat Autumn

You’ll never guess what we found out about orphaned bobcat Autumn during her exam. It was a very busy vet day. Wild-born bobcat Autumn had finally been scheduled for her formal exam and spay. You can imagine our surprise when we did Autumn’s exam and found out she’s a boy, not a girl!

How does such a thing happen? Well, it isn’t as uncommon as you might think.

When we work with game departments and rehabbers, they’re rescuing fractious wildlife who aren’t socialized to people. Often, they do as little handling as possible. They use leather gloves to hold the scared and wiggling animal to do a quick visual exam and sex the animal.

If they’re looking under the tail on a young animal, they may not realize the testicles haven’t descended yet. And without a closer look, it may be difficult to accurately sex the cat.

This happened before with our rescued wild-born cougar Donoma. He arrived with paperwork stating he was female from the game department. His exam revealed otherwise.

Why didn’t you know right away?

Since Autumn arrived with paperwork stating she was female, we had no reason to think otherwise. Usually, we’d find out much sooner during an intake exam.

But, due to the stress Autumn had been through losing her family so tragically, and the cold winter setting in, our vets determined it was best to give her vaccines while she was awake, and then schedule her spay under sedation for the spring. This way, she’d be less stressed and would do much better with a shaved belly in the warmer weather.

So, for the last several months, we all believed Autumn to be a female. We now joke that this may be the reason he hasn’t warmed up to us!

But finding out Autumn is a boy doesn’t change how much we love Autumn, how much you love him, or even how much Belvedere and Francis love him.

We’ve chosen not to change his name, it still fits him.

If you’d like to become a sponsor parent for Autumn, or any of our cats, it’s so critical to the work we do – thank you!

Orphaned bobcat Autumn’s original story

First her sibling was struck by a car. Then, when Mom went to help, she was struck as well. For this little surviving baby bobcat, the world seemed to end. Thankfully, The Wildcat Sanctuary in Minnesota has taken her in to offer a second chance at life. 

The bobcat kitten was first brought to Wildwoods Wildlife Rehabilitation in Duluth. They were able to make sure she wasn’t injured, provided supportive care and began to research their options for her.bobcat-orphan3_lr

Why can’t Autumn be released?

The goal was to successfully “wild up” and release this bobcat kitten.  But, due to her age and Minnesota winter pending, she may have had little chance of survival without a surrogate mother to help teach her.  Laws also do not permit wildlife being moved across country for rehab and release.

After consulting with rehabilitation experts, Wildwoods made the decision to find her a permanent home and give her the best life possible in captivity if she couldn’t be free. They contacted The Wildcat Sanctuary in hopes of placibobcat-orphan1_lrng her where she could live in a natural setting.

“We would’ve loved to have seen this little scared girl grow up wild. But when that wasn’t an option for her, we agreed to provide her a home at The Wildcat Sanctuary. We knew we had to give her the chance to live wild at heart.” Director Tammy Thies said.

Her life at The Wildcat Sanctuary begins

The first step is helping her adjust in captivity, with the hope of forming a surrogate family for her. The Wildcat Sanctuary has reached out offering a home to any other bobcat kittens in need of rescue in order to provide her with surrogate siblings to grow up with.

You can help The Wildcat Sanctuary continue to rescue wild cats in need by donating today!

DONATE button

The Wildcat Sanctuary turned to the public for help in naming this special bobcat kitten and received thousands of name suggestions. It was hard to keep up with all the names and some of the great meanings behind them! 

We took the top suggestions, narrowing them down to most frequent nominated female names, and names no cats have had here at the sanctuary, and gave the top 10 list to the staff and interns to vote on. Since they’ve been working closely with her, they’ve gotten to know her personality and which name would fit best.

Drum roll please………it’s official, she’s now known as AUTUMN – in honor of her debut on the fall equinox!! 


We know little Autumn can already feel the love coming her way from all over the world.  She’ll always be safe, well cared for, and most of all loved – because of you. 

Autumn now has a new blended family at the sanctuary

Autumn now has two new brothers that she’s thoroughly enjoying life with! Watch their first days together here: