I got a pretty frantic call this morning. A woman was at the vets. She had a full grown bobcat in a carrier in the back of her car. The DNR was on it’s way.
She saw the cat get hit on the road and it was unconscious. She stuffed it in her dogs carrier that she happened to have in the back of her car. She rushed it to a vet.
The vet agreed to come out to the car, but by now the cat was fully conscious and mad. It was spitting and growling, but the woman opened the cage anyway. The cat scratched her and drew blood.
The vet called the DNR.
The woman was frantic and angry that the DNR officer said they would have to put the cat down to have it tested for rabies since it drew blood. The woman was furious and wanted me to do something.
There is nothing I can do. Both the DNR and I are bound by laws. The law states that all wild animal wounds require the animal in question to be put down, the head removed and sent to Lansing, where it will be opened and a black light shined on the brain. If it fluoresces, the rabies virus is present. In Northern Michigan, it rarely fluoresces. The DNR knows that. I know that. Still, it is the law.
She said she would just open the door and let the cat out. (A bad idea in town). She said she’d take it back to where she found it, but that might lead to even more trouble and possible charges being brought against her. Not only that, but she would have to go through the rabies anti toxin injections. (Not as painful as they used to be, but very expensive.)
There really wasn’t going to be any way out of this for the cat. Hopefully, it was not a female with kits.
There is a lesson here. Wild animals are just that. They will fight back, no matter how cute or helpless they may seem at the moment. Always, always, always use precautions. Anticipate that the animal will bite or scratch you. In the case of an adult animal, call the DNR or a wildlife rehabber BEFORE you try to move it.
It’s sad, that this animal will have to be euthanized. It’s not the first time that I have had to deal with this. It won’t be the last.
Maybe though, if people use a little more caution, there will be less of it.