Most people with a heart would help if they came across a stray kitten. Either they would take it home to care for it themselves, they would take it to a cat-loving friend, or they would hand the stray kitten over to a local animal shelter to make sure it received the care it needed before finding it a forever home. Jill Hicks is a kind-hearted woman who helped out a stray kitten, but there was a surprise in store for this rescuer. The Dodo explains how Jill Hicks had been about to meet some of her friends for dinner. As she was driving down the highway, she saw a small animal run out in front of her. She immediately slammed on the brakes to avoid hitting the creature, although she wasn’t sure what it was at that point.
She realized that the animal was about to veer in front of oncoming traffic, so she decided to pull over her car to try and help. Hicks, from Chattanooga in Tennessee, says that she had originally thought it was a bunny. She had left her car door open in the hope that it would slow down the traffic, and then she began to make her way slowly over to the animal. Hicks then saw that it was a kitten, and she grabbed it quickly before it ran into the oncoming traffic, before wrapping it in one of her own sweaters that she had in the back of her car. Believing that someone may have abandoned a whole litter of kittens or that the kitten’s mother was possibly nearby, Hicks began to look for more cats but saw nothing.
The kind rescuer then decided that she would take the rescued kitten back to the safety of her own home to make sure that it couldn’t continue to run around in the traffic. She realized that this would make her late for her dinner with friends, but she decided that the safety of the kitten was a bigger priority. Once she had got the cat into her car and began to drive home, Hicks struggled to keep the cat contained. She was climbing all over Hicks’ neck and lap, which was hindering Hicks’ driving. This meant that she had to pull over several times before she finally got the cat settled in the sweater on her lap. On the plus side, it meant that the kitten was quite happy to have human contact, and she didn’t seem all that scared.
On arriving home, Hicks decided to set the kitten up in the garage. This was because she already had an older cat and a big dog. She gave the kitten a litter box, some water, and some cat food. She then gave the cat the sweater with which she had been wrapped in the car to use as a bed. Before leaving for dinner, she took a photograph of herself with the kitten and posted it on Facebook, along with a plea for someone to adopt her. Hicks planned that when returned from dinner, she would secure the other animals so that she could give the stray kitten a bath and then take the kitten to bed with her. However, when she arrived back from her dinner, she was in for a shock.
A neighbor met her outside her home and asked if she had read the comments on her Facebook post. People believed that the kitten wasn’t a stay domestic cat, but the kitten of a wild bobcat. So, the neighbor asked if she could take a look. Bobcats are a wild cat that is native to North America. They usually inhabit wooded areas and they live on birds, rodents, and rabbits. They can even tackle small deers. The numbers of this cat are declining due to being hunted by humans for sport and fur, removal of their natural habitat, and because they are the prey of coyotes and some domestic animals. Attacks on humans are rare as they prefer to avoid human contact. When they do attack, it is often because they are infected with rabies.
Hicks and her neighbor headed straight for the garage to examine the kitten, as she had not properly looked at it when she first rescued the kitten. When the pair examined the cat, they realized that it probably was a bobcat and it was the tail that gave it away. Bobcats earned their name for having a bobbed tail. The kitten clearly had a shorty stumpy tail with a pointed white tip. Another clue was the kitten’s nature. While it had earlier been quite friendly, it was now beginning to hiss and growl. This showed that the kitten had a wilder nature than at first thought. The pair agreed that the signs indicated that it was a wild bobcat kitten that Hicks had brought home with her.
To update those who had commented on her Facebook post, Hicks added another post letting people know that the kitten was a bobcat and not to bother looking for an adoptive home. She explained that she had picked up the kitten at the side of the road believing it was a stray. What Hicks did next is something that most people would think rather strange. She knew that a wild animal like a bobcat would not like a bath or to sleep in a bed with her, but she was also worried about leaving the kitten alone in the garage. Therefore, she made the surprising decision to sleep by the cat on the garage floor. She then checked the bobcat every 30 minutes throughout the night.
The next day, Hicks needed to decide what to do with the bobcat kitten. She couldn’t keep her, release her into the wild, or put her up for adoption in a family home. Instead, she contacted For Fox Sake Wildlife Rescue. After speaking to the rescue’s director, Juniper Rosso, it was agreed that they would take in the seven-week-old bobcat kitten.
The bobcat has been given the name Arwen, and she has settled into her new surroundings well. However, Russo discovered that Arwen was suffering from anemia, so she has been nursing the kitten back to health. She will need a few more months of care before she is released back into the wild.