She looks now like a little bitty tabby-striped kitten now, but the newest resident at a Valley big-cat shelter will soon be about 20 pounds of ferocious wild cat soon.
Ru, a 5- or 6-week-old bobcat cub, is getting her bearings at her new home at Project Survival’s Cat Haven in Dunlap.
Dale Anderson, founder of the Cat Haven, says that she was dropped off at the Cat Haven about two weeks ago by people who had found her but were unable to continue caring for the tiny wild cat. Anderson says once a cub is taken from the wild, it’s best to keep the cat in captivity.
Sometimes groups will try to reintroduce a bobcat to its habitat after it’s been taken from its mother, but the cat may not survive on its own after being raised by people, says Anderson.
His advice is that unless you know for sure that the mother has been killed, leave the cub alone. The mother will likely come back, sometimes even a couple of days later.
Ru didn’t take to being bottle-fed right away, but she is doing better and is beginning to eat more solid foods like chicken and chopped-up mice. Since coming to the Cat Haven, Ru is up from 1 1/4 pounds to about 2 1/4 pounds.
In time she will get her own enclosure and will join Maytag and Whirlpool, Cat Haven’s other bobcats on exhibit. Maytag and Whirlpool are sisters found in an old washing machine after their mother was killed.
The scientific name for bobcat is lynx rufus, so the name was shortened to Ru for the new cub.
Project Survival’s Cat Haven is a 100-acre park and facility in Dunlap whose mission is the preservation of wild cats. It specializes in educating people about the plight of endangered cat species raises funds for the conservation projects in the wild. They are open for tours daily except Tuesdays this time of year.