A shelter cat saved the l.i.f.e of a baby bobcat who was f.i.g.h.t.i.n.g for her life. The young bobcat’s ordeal began shortly after Christmas, when Atlantic Wildlife Institute received a late-night call reporting that the wildcat had been discovered in a homeowner’s barn in Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada.
Her r.e.s.c.u.e.r.s described the bobcat as “seizuring from being hypoglycemic, and so hyppthermic that her temperature wasn’t even producing a reading on the thermometer.”
The family drove for over an hour to bring the sick cat to Douglas Animal H.o.s.p.i.t.al, where veterinarians immediately “went to work” to try to s.a.v.e the cat, which weighed only 1.5 kg (3.3 lbs).
They began by gradually warming her up with a h.e.a.t disc and protective booties.
“We have no idea what put her in such d.i.r.e need,” Atlantic Wildlife Institute wrote, but they were “e.x.t.r.e.m.e.l.y thankful” for the family and veterinary staff who saved the wee cat’s life.
However, the p.o.o.r bobcat was still in c.r.i.t.i.c.a.l condition a day later, and Douglas Animal H.o.s.p.i.t.al determined she would require a b.l.ood t.r.a.n.s.f.u.s.i.o.n. if she was to s.ur.v.i.ve.
The bobcat “was so dehydrated, c.o.l.d, starved, and a.n.e.m.i.c on admission that her o.r.ga.n.s began to fa.i.l her,” according to Douglas Animal H.o.s.p.i.t.a.l.
That’s when they went to the local animal shelter and were given Smuckers, a shelter cat. Smuckers was chosen as a b.l.o.o.d do.n.o.r.
“Hello, this is Smuckers!” “The hero of the day was loaned to us by the Fredericton SPCA (THANK YOU!!! ),” Douglas Animal H.o.s.p.i.t.a.l wrote on Facebook alongside a photo of Smuckers. “D.o.n.o.r cats are given a physical exam as well as a full b.l.o.o.d panel to ensure their h.e.a.l.th.” They are then cross-matched to ensure that they have the same b.l.o.o.d type as the recipient. They must also be less than 8 years old, weigh more than 4.5kg, and be neutered. Smuckers checked all the boxes!”
They also shared the special card they use to determine each cat’s blo.o.d type, explaining that “it is much saf.e.r to do a b.lo.o.d t.r.a.n.s.f.u.s.i.o.n between two cats of the same b.loo.d type.” Smuckers and the bobcat were both type A! (The b.l.o.o.d agglutin.a.t.i.o.n (clotting) in the “Type A” spot i.n.d.i.c.a.t.e.s that this is their b.loo.d type.)
“Here we are collecting b.l.o.o.d from Smuckers,” they continued, holding up a photograph. “The b.l.o.o.d is collected into a s.y.r.i.n.g.e. containing an anticoagul.a.n.t (which prevents the b.l.o.o.d from clotting) and then administered to the recipient via a special IV set with a filter to catch micro-clots.”
They also revealed that they can s.a.f.e.l.y draw 60ml of b.l.o.o.d from a cat the size of S.m.u.c.k.e.r, but only 30ml from the t.i.n.y bobcat. “We replaced the volume we took with both subcutan.e.o.u.s and IV fluids, and then he had a snack as soon as he woke up, just like us humans,” said the hospital. They also reassured readers that while it appears that a large amount of b.l.o.o.d was drawn, it was actually only two tablespoons!
During the t.r.an.sf.u.s.i.o.n, Courtney, a h.o.s.p.i.t.a.l technician, restrained the bobcat (now named Fiona). “We moved the blanket for this photo, but her. head was covered for the rest of the procedure to he.l.p reduce str.e.s.s.”
“The t.r.a.n.s.f.u.s.i.o.n was given very slowly over four hours, and the bobcat’s vitals were constantly monitored to ensure she didn’t have a reaction to the don.o.r b.lo.o.d,” the vets explained.
In the days that followed, Fiona was closely monitored. “It was touch and go over the New Year’s holiday weekend, but she began to i.m.p.r.o.v.e with around-the-clock care by our wildlife technician Courtney, a.g.g.r.e.s.s.i.v.e fluid the.r.a.p.y, multiple medi.c.a.t.i.o.n.s, and slow tube feedings,” veterinarian staff wrote. She is still being watched.
“The cau.t.i.o.n now is to see if her systems return without i.n.t.er.n.a.l dam.a.g.e, as she is too weak to process solid food or or.a.l fluids at this point,” Atlantic Wild life Institute added.
Fiona’s full r.e.c.o.v.e.r.y is hoped for by both the Atlantic Wildlife Institute and Douglas A.n.i.m.a.l H.o.s.p.i.t.a.l. “This little girl is still not out of the woods, but she is a fi.g.h.t.e.r, and we are crossing our fingers that she continues to improve,” Douglas Animal H.o.s.p.i.t.a.l wrote.
Smuckers, on the other hand, returned to the SPCA and is doing well. In fact, Smuckers is doing even better than expected. His good dee.d was noticed, and the Fredericton SPCA announced that he had been a.do.p.t.e.d!