Rescued Bobcat Kitten 'Too Nice' To Return To The Wild

A Northern California animal rescue group is trying to help an orphaned bobcat kitten with a problem: She's too nice.

The friendly baby bobcat was only a few weeks old and had burned paws and infected eyes when fire crews found her in August while battling a 75,000-acre fire in the Plumas National Forest. They named her Chips, after the wildfire.

Volunteers at the Sierra Wildlife Rescue in Placerville now are trying to toughen the kitten up, with plans to release her back into the wild next spring, The Sacramento Bee ( ) reports.

As part of her training regimen, Chips has had to start chasing down her own mice and rabbits for meals and stop sleeping on a soft bed like the one she'd grown accustomed to while she was receiving medical treatment.

She's also been introduced to two male bobcats, Tuffy and Sierra, that hiss and bare their claws at humans.

"If you have a friendly bobcat in the wild, that's not going to work," said volunteer Jill Tripoli, who squirts the kitten with a water bottle if she tries cuddling up to humans.

The firefighters who found Chips wandering in circles on Aug. 25 noticed right away that she was affectionate. She followed them as they went about their work and nuzzled the boots of a hand crew member every time they stopped.

They tried to locate a female bobcat searching for its baby, but had no luck and ended up taking the kitten to a Lake Tahoe animal shelter. She transferred to Placerville last month.

Forest Service spokesman, John Heil, said the bobcat was lucky to have survived given how intense the flames were in the area she was found.

"How it survived with the fire passing through is miraculous," he said.

Responses to "Bobcat Kitten Deemed 'Too Nice' To Return To The Wild (PHOTOS) "

  1. Anonymous says:

    Agree with the above comment. maybe she's just a friendly soul who needs human company

  2. Anonymous says:

    I not really sure this Bobcat could be returned to the wild. But again I think it is worth a try with a radio collar to track her. She identifies with humans as friends since she was badly injured and needed medical attention. I am on the fence with this one. She does indeed look like a sweetheart and may just become a easy meal ticket for a predator. Sorry guys, I don't think I was much help. She maybe just to tamed to be let out on her own.

  3. Anonymous says:

    I think she should go to a wildlife shelter as a pet, I think you could have negative results by making her dislike humans, so you let her go in the wild and you have a cat that likes the affection which she will NEVER forget, then she will remember being mistreated, plus she has been let loose into the wild which she may never become "wild" again, so you are confusing this animal on both levels with trying to reconditioning her, there has to be someone that has the space, knowledge and want to, to take care of this cat,,,

  4. Anonymous says:

    I have wild bobs that ocationally come to feed with my out door cats. She can be wild and a pet too.

  5. Anonymous says:

    a sanctuary program with a public education and outreach agenda would be an excellent job for her. here in Bonsall, Ca. we have a group called Zoofari and they have a very famous Cheetah who also was to nice and slightly imperfect for breeding but he makes an excellent ambassador for his species and wildlife in general. they have other bobcats ect as well...but squirting her in the face will not make her more wild. :(

  6. Anonymous says:

    It looks like a hybred

  7. Anonymous says:

    I agree she may never totally return to the wild . It would be a shame to even try to make her . Why can't you place her with a family or a program for educating people about the animals of the wild. Sorry this probably isn't what u want to hear but she has already crossed over to the tame side and face squirts with water want change that as a matter of face it's only confusing her. Also it cruel. Let her be what she wants to be.

  8. Anonymous says:

    I have been a wildlife rehabilitator for 21 years. By law, this bobcat cannot be placed with a family, nor should she be. She is still wild by instinct and always will be. She will never be a "pet" especially after she matures. Bobcats imprint easily and are very difficult to revert. As cruel as it may sound, what the facility is doing to try to "wild" her is what's best for her and her future although I have never known face squirting to be successful. If they are unable to "wild" her, the best place for her is in an education program with a permitted facility.

  9. Anonymous says:

    If they are not able to "wild" her, I hope they don't put her out in the wild as she would never survive. I hope they will put her some place safe like maybe a petting zoo or some kind of an education program facility with other animals. Best of luck to the little bobbie.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Once in contact with humans any wild animal never knows the fear of humans! I agree the best place for her is an education program with a permitted facility!

  11. Anonymous says:

    I doubt she'll survive on her own now... she won't avoid humans, and she'll be shot by hunters for her pelt.

    Let her have a "job" as a teaching aid, and a fundraising mascot. Bring her to schools to make the case for ending bobcat hunting and trapping. We need her kind to keep the balance in the natural world.

    In Joshua Tree right now there's controversy over a Marine there who's trapping local bobcats for pelts. Locals can't even share when bobcats have visited their property for water - hunters track them on facebook and so on, and then set traps nearby.


    Meanwhile, it's been pointed out that, without enough predators, rabbits and other rodents can get out of hand, with disastrous results. Maybe kids and the public who meet Chips can learn to appreciate bobcats without trapping or hunting them.

  12. Susan says:

    Poor baby

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