Tennessee Woman Rescues a Kitten That Turns Out to Be a Bobcat

iculizard/iStock via Getty Images
iculizard/iStock via Getty Images

In Chattanooga, Tennessee, a good Samaritan named Jill Hicks rescued a kitten she saw darting across a road. But when she showed the kitten to her neighbor, she discovered it was no ordinary domestic kitten—it was a bobkitten. So she brought the adorable kitty to the nearby (and punnily named) For Fox Sake Wildlife Rescue, where the young feline was dubbed "Arwen."

“Even though I thought she was a kitten, had I known she was a bobcat, [being] that small and in that high trafficked area, I still would have done the same thing,” Hicks told local news station WATE.

For Fox Sake will care for Arwen until she’s healthy enough to be returned to the wild. On September 25, they posted an adorable photo of the blue-eyed bobkitten. “She’s doing great and has gained two ounces since her arrival here,” they wrote. However, they’re treating her for anemia (you can donate to Arwen's cause and other animals here).

On September 26, For Fox Sake mentioned that they had received a lot of requests about people wanting to adopt Arwen. "There is a 0 percent chance that Arwen, or any other bobkitten, will grow up to be a suitable house pet,” they wrote. “Even when raised by humans, bobcats are unpredictable, territorial wild animals with a powerful prey drive and no desire to please human beings.”

In other words: Sorry, but you won’t be able to adopt a bobkitten. And if for some reason Arwen won’t be able to be re-released into the wild, the rescue said she would go to a zoo or a nature center.

Apparently, this isn’t the first—or the last—time a kitten has been mistaken for a bobcat. Last year in San Antonio, three people mistook two bobcats for a pair of Bengal kittens. When the “kittens” bit them, they contacted animal services, and the kittens eventually ended up at a wildlife rescue.

So how do you tell the difference between a domestic kitten and a bobkitten? Bobcats always have spots and sometimes have black tuffs of fur on their ears. When in doubt, contact a wildlife professional.

[h/t WATE]

Move Over Dogs, Goats, and Peacocks: Llamas Are the Hot New Therapy Animal

jensenwy/iStock via Getty Images
jensenwy/iStock via Getty Images

Possibly because Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, and the rest of the reindeer are pretty busy at this time of year, Kimpton Hotel Monaco in Portland, Oregon, is offering guests the chance to hang out with a few jolly llamas instead.

The Washington Post reports that the friendly, festively dressed llamas belong to Mountain Peaks Therapy Llamas and Alpacas, which usually brings them to hospitals, rehabilitation centers, senior communities, hospice care, special-needs organizations, and even schools. According to the organization’s website, the visits help “alleviate loneliness, lower blood pressure, and reduce stress.”

And, though the clinical benefits to the Kimpton’s guests haven’t been proven, hotel manager Travis Williams confirms that everyone definitely loves spending time with the quirky quadrupeds. Last year, after overwhelmingly positive reactions to the llama visits, the hotel decided to bring them back.

“Once we saw the joy that it brought people, we just kept going,” Williams told The Washington Post.

While it might seem like the use of llamas for therapy is a characteristically Portland-ish idea, it’s not the only place you can find them. The New York Times reports that 20 llamas and alpacas are registered with Pet Partners, a national nonprofit organization for therapy animals, and many others are owned and trained by private family farms across the country.

Jeff and Carol Rutledge, for example, have 13 llamas and alpacas on their property in Stockdale, Texas, outside San Antonio. Three of them are registered therapy animals, having passed a test that includes being touched by strangers and staying unaffected while people argue near them.

During their visits to assisted living facilities, veterans’ homes, and other events in the area, the Rutledges have observed the animals having a profound effect on residents’ behavior. One man, who is nonverbal and recovering from a motorcycle accident, will murmur as he grooms one of the llamas. And the Rutledges’ high-school-aged daughter, Zoe, even did a science experiment for her 4-H club that showed the residents’ blood pressure is lower after visiting with the llamas.

While there’s not a very high chance of seeing therapy llamas in airports just yet, you might be lucky enough to see something a little smaller—like LiLou, San Francisco International Airport’s first therapy pig.

[h/t The Washington Post]

Three Cows Carried Away by Hurricane Dorian Turn Up Five Miles From Their Home

Bob Douglas/iStock via Getty Images
Bob Douglas/iStock via Getty Images

A lot of unusual things turn up on beaches after major storms, from Civil War cannonballs to 19th-century shipwrecks. Hurricane Dorian made an especially surprising delivery to the Outer Banks in North Carolina earlier this year. As Smithsonian reports, three cows thought to be lost for good were found grazing on a shoreline miles away from their home.

The cattle are originally from Cedar Island, a fishing community on the North Carolina coast. Wild horses in this region have adapted to survive the hurricanes that regularly batter the state, but the rapid flooding was too strong for one group of animals when Hurricane Dorian landed in September. The storm surge swept away 17 cattle and 28 horses from the island.

All of the animals missing from Cedar Island were feared to be dead, and the bodies of a few horses were even discovered washed up on shore. But against abysmal odds, at least three of the cows survived. The first was found in Cape Lookout National Seashore in the barrier islands the day after the storm dissipated. Three weeks later, two more cows showed up on the same stretch of grass four to five miles from where they were last seen.

The cattle of Cedar Island can swim, but crossing several miles of stormy water would have been treacherous for any land animal. Despite the traumatic journey, the official Facebook page for Cedar Island's horses reports that the cows "look healthy and well." The next step will be to transport the cows back to their original home, possibly by ferry. If that plan falls through, the trio will become permanent residents of Cape Lookout.

[h/t Smithsonian]

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