Two weeks ago, Jill Hicks witnessed something that made her heart stop as she was going to meet friends for dinner: a little animal scampering along the road, about to swerve into traffic. She hit the brakes hard.
Because of how fluffy the hair was at first, Hicks, a resident of Chattanooga, Tennessee, initially believed it to be a baby rabbit. “As I drew nearer, I saw that it was a little cat. To encourage slower traffic, I stopped, opened my car door, and left it open. I then moved closer the kitty.
Hicks was able to grab the kitten before she ran into oncoming traffic.
“I wrapped her up in a sweater that I had in the car with me, and held her close to me,” Hicks said. “I was thinking it was a kitten somebody had tossed out, so I thought there may be more. So I was calling for other cats, saying, ‘Kitty, kitty, kitty,’ thinking more kittens would come to me. But I never saw a mom or more babies.”
Hicks decided to drive the kitten back to her house, even if it meant being late or missing her dinner entirely.
She crawled all over me, wrapped her arms over my neck, and slid into the passenger seat after I put her in the car, according to Hicks. “I had to stop a few times to get her set up, but I managed to get her on my lap, covered in the sweater, and calmed down. I was also giving her affection and patting her.
It didn’t seem like a smart idea to bring the kitten inside the house because Hicks already has a large dog and an elderly cat. So Hicks created a cozy area for the kitten in the garage, furnishing it with a litter box, bowls of cat food, and water. Additionally, she created a bed for the kitty by tucking
Hicks posted a picture of the rescued kitten on Facebook along with a plea for someone to adopt her. Then she left for her dinner. When Hicks returned a couple hours later, she planned on taking the kitten into her house (after securing her pets in another room), giving her a bath and taking her into bed with her. But instead, Hicks got a big shock.
“My neighbor from across the street came running over,” Hicks said. “She said, ‘Jill, do you still have that kitten?’ And I said, ‘Yeah, I do.’ She said, ‘Can I see it? I think it might be a bobcat. Have you read all the posts on Facebook from the picture you posted?’”
Hicks went to check on the cat, who was sheltering in the cardboard box, along with her neighbor. Hicks took up the kitten and made an effort to identify the little creature.
Hicks remarked, “Her tail was what gave it away. “When I initially saw her, I was aware of her short tail, but I didn’t properly inspect her until I returned home after supper.
Although some cats have short, stubby tails, this one had a little white patch and was slightly pointed at the end. She had also begun to snarl a little bit and hiss a little bit. I said, “Yeah, I think this may be a bobcat.”
Hicks posted something more on Facebook about her startling finding. The message stated, “Ok, forget about adopting this ‘kitty’ I discovered on the side of the road. It appears that I saved a newborn bobcat. The post became popular.
Hicks didn’t want to leave the little bobcat kitten in the garage alone, but she also understood that a wild animal wouldn’t like taking a bath or sharing a bed with a person. She spent the night with her in the garage.
“About every 30 minutes, I would turn the light on and look to make sure she was good,” Hicks said. “I did get her to drink a lot of water. She never ate anything that night, but she did eat some tuna fish the next morning.”
The next day, Hicks got in touch with Juniper Russo, director of For Fox Sake Wildlife Rescue. Russo took in the baby bobcat, who’s estimated to be about 7 weeks old.
Russo has been assisting the bobcat, now known as Arwen, in recovering her strength and health since it was discovered that she was quite anemic.
According to Russo, “Arwen developed anemia immediately after she arrived, possibly as a result of a number of events, including the abrupt separation from her mother.” She required a few days of intense care, but she is currently recovering nicely. She will probably require care till the spring of next year. She will be released into a remote region when the time is right.
“It’s always best for baby wild animals to stay with their natural mothers whenever possible,” Russo added. “Even with the very best care, a baby animal’s best chance of survival is always with its mother. But in Arwen’s case, reuniting with her mother wasn’t an option because she was found near a very busy road and her den site was unknown.”
In the past few days, Arwen has become more aggressive, which is a sign that she’s feeling better. In fact, the team at For Fox Sake nicknamed Arwen “Little Miss Murdermittens.”
The rescue said on Facebook, “She’s brave and brazen and has no interest in people, which is exactly what we expect to see.”
Since the rescue aims to limit human interaction with its animals, Hicks won’t be able to visit Arwen again. However, Hicks hasn’t stopped thinking about the bobcat kitten she found on the side of the road.
“She stole a little piece of my heart that day, and she’ll have it forever,” Hicks said.