EUREKA SPRINGS, Ark. – Two bobcats who were being kept as pets when their owner was displaced by Arkansas River flooding have been rescued from Franklin County.
The two males named Prince and Tony are now under the care of Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge (TCWR). The organization says it partnered with the International Fund for Animal Welfare (ifaw) to conduct the Tuesday rescue.
TCWR says the felines, both less than a year old, were taken from a woman who explained police officers had rescued them just in time from a flooded home where their cages were submerged in water up to their bellies.
Under direction of the flood victim, police officers transferred Prince and Tony to higher ground and placed them in the care of the woman who then contacted TCWR late Monday night. Being unfamiliar with bobcat care, she began contacting other animal welfare organizations the next day in hopes of finding a trained facility to take them and was directed to Turpentine Creek, says a TCWR news release issued Wednesday.
After getting the call and finding a route not impacted by flooding, Turpentine Creek team members set off on the rescue mission mid-afternoon Tuesday. Due to high waters, they were redirected several times before picking up the bobcats and returning to the facility around 11 p.m. Tuesday.
Prince and Tony were reportedly taken from the wild in October 2018. TCWR’s immediate concerns for the pair are nutritional deficiency from being fed only cat food by their previous owner, as well as evident muscle atrophy in their back legs. According to the woman who contacted TCWR, the previous owner had housed the brothers in “two little dog crates” and would occasionally allow them to spend time in a small dog run.
As TCWR’s staff veterinarian, Dr. Kellyn Sweeley, conducts full wellness exams for each of them, they will be quarantined in the onsite Jackson Memorial Veterinary Hospital to ensure they have no diseases that will transfer to the sanctuary’s other animal residents. Currently, Prince and Tony have to be separated from each other due to aggression, but it is believed that neutering them may solve that issue and allow them to be released into a habitat together.
TCWR President, Tanya Smith, expressed gratitude for the outpouring of support and well-wishes the team received as they conducted the rescue, “Thank you to everyone who kept us in your thoughts yesterday during our travels and a special thank you to ifaw for your partnership during this rescue. We are happy to report that Prince and Tony, as well as the rest of us, made it home safe and sound late last night. We hope you will continue to support our newest animal residents by making a donation towards the lifetime care we will be providing them.”
Donations can be made online (click here), over the phone by calling 479-253-5992, or by mail to 239 Turpentine Creek Lane, Eureka Springs, Arkansas, 72632.
Smith encourages the public to follow Prince and Tony’s progress on Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge’s Facebook platform and Instagram page (@turpentinecreek).