Many kindhearted people who come across stray kittens want to help them in some way. While some people will take them some food, others will either take them to the vet or rescue shelter. Others may even decide to take the kittens home to care for them themselves. However, when they do so, some have a different experience from what they were expecting. That is exactly what happened to Florencia Lobo and her brother. One day, the siblings were walking together close to Santa Rosa de Leales in Tucuman Province, Argentina. During their walk, the pair came across a dead adult cat with two small kittens that were still alive, says Cheezburger. They decided that the kittens, a male and a female, would have the best chance of survival if they took them home to care for them.
As cat lovers, their intention was to get both of the tiny kittens back to health as soon as possible and then to keep them as pets. Tragically, the female kitten died as she was too small and weak to survive without her mother. The male was the stronger of the two kittens, and he seemed in good health. Lobo decided to call the little kitten Tito, and he settled in well to his new home. He would often snuggle up to Lobo for a cuddle, and seemed to enjoy human contact. After two months, Lobo decided it was time to take Tito to see the vet for a check-up. She expected this to involve a routine examination and did not anticipate any issues. While the vet was able to confirm that the kitten was in good health, he also had some surprising news for Lobo. In the vet’s opinion, Tito was not an ordinary cat, although he was unable to confirm his species.
Lobo told Reuters that she was shocked to learn that it was possible that Tito was not a domestic cat. As far as she had her brother had been aware, the dead cat at the side of the road had been a domestic cat, and so were the two kittens they rescued. It had never occurred to either of them that there was even a remote possibility that they were anything other than domestic cats. As the vet did not know Tito’s species, he recommended that Lobo got in touch with a local nature reserve to see if they could give her any more information. Lobo contacted the Horco Molle nature reserve and discovered that they could help her to identify the species of the cat. It was then that she learned that she had rescued a baby Puma Jaguarundi.
A Puma Jaguarundi is a small wild cat that has short legs, an elongated body, and short, round ears. The coat is uniform in color, and the colors include black, grey morph, red morph, and foxy red. This species is native to South America and southern North America, including Arizona. This species is now considered an endangered species as numbers are declining due to the loss of natural habitat. A decision was made that it was not right for Tito to continue living in a domestic environment, so he was moved to the Horco Molle nature reserve. For now, he is being cared for by staff at the nature reserve. However, the plan is to release him back into his natural habitat as soon as he is ready to make the transition.
While it may seem surprising and unusual that someone could find a wild cat on the side of the road and take it home believing that it was an abandoned domestic cat, this happens more often than you would think, and Lobo is certainly not alone in doing this. Just like Lobo, a woman called Jill Hicks also accidentally rescued a wild cat. According to The Dodo, Hicks was driving to dinner with friends when she saw a kitten weaving in and out of the traffic along the highway. Concerned that a car would hit the kitten, she pulled over her car and set out to rescue the little bundle of fluff. She used a sweater she had in her car to wrap around the kitten and took it to the safety of her car. The kitten seemed friendly and was enjoying cuddling up on her knee, so she decided to take it home to care for it overnight.
She already had animals in her home, so she decided to make the kitten a bed in her garage and left it some food and water. She took a picture that she posted on Facebook before leaving the house for a second time to meet her friends for dinner. Her plan was to return home later in the evening, give the cat a bath, and then let it sleep beside her in bed so that she could make sure it was warm and safe. However, on returning home, her neighbor was waiting for her. They had seen her Facebook post and noticed that the kitten looked rather like a young bobcat. They asked Hicks if they could take a look at the kitten to see if their suspicions were correct. The cat’s short tail and the fact that she was hissing confirmed that the kitten was a young bobcat. She updated her social media post to let everyone know that she was no longer looking for a home for the kitten because it was a bobcat.
Even though Hicks no knew that it was a wild animal, she didn’t want to leave it alone overnight, so she slept on the floor of her garage. The following day, she took the bobcat to a local wildlife rescue. They examined the bobcat and discovered that she was anemic and needed treatment. She was then cared for by the wildlife rescue staff until she was well enough for release into a protected wilderness area in the spring.