Contributed by Mandy Matson
Fuzzy Bobcat is one of the most recent retirees to the Conservators Center in Burlington, North Carolina. Fuzzy is a 16-year-old male we brought in as a new companion to our female bobcat, Reno.
Reno Bobcat’s former companion, Bobby Fargo Bobcat passed away from old age in 2015. We started searching for an appropriate friend for Reno soon after we lost Bobby Fargo because we didn’t want her to be lonely.
A reputable facility contacted us and told us they had a male bobcat for whom they were seeking a retirement home. Fuzzy arrived at the Conservators Center in late 2015 with his primary caretaker, who helped settle Fuzzy into his new home and made us an unusual offer: if Reno did not enjoy having Fuzzy share her territory, she would take him back and find another placement for him!
Well, Reno can be too independent for her own good… and standoffish… and very picky… and sometimes downright rude. So we waited with bated breaths to see if she would accept this new friend. Thankfully, it was immediately clear that Reno and Fuzzy were going to get along.
Fuzzy’s introduction to Reno has brought about changes in her behaviors. Her former companion, Bobby Fargo, retired from a zoo and was very comfortable around people. Reno, however, was a wild bobcat who came to after she was hit by a car in Wendell, NC. The vet who cared for her determined she could not be returned to the wild. Although Reno has had a happy life at the Center, she was always more standoffish with people than Bobby Fargo.
Bobby loved coming to the fence to greet his favorite people, and get scents and treats. While he was alive, she preferred to stay in the background. After he passed away, Reno started coming to the fence to chat and ask for treats, and we now often find her waiting at the fence for us when she sees us coming. Much as we miss Bobby Fargo, the silver lining to this loss has been watching Reno’s blossoming interest in her human friends.
For the first couple of months that Fuzzy lived at the Center he was the shy guy in the background, warily watching everyone from a distance. Over time he has gotten more bold, and has just recently started coming to the fence to greet people with whom he has grown to recognize. Some days he even struts his stuff for our visitors, who marvel at his beauty. Although we appreciate his former owner’s generous offer to rehome him, if necessary, we are delighted we did not have to take her up on it. It gives us great pleasure to see two bobcats sharing a habitat again.
To learn more about the Conservators Center, our animals’ individual stories, and how to reserve a tour, go to www.conservatorscenter.org. Come visit and awaken your wild side!
Ed. Note: Original story published in December 18, 2015 issue of The Grey Area newspaper. Updated story (above) published January 8, 2016 with photos.