Toby’s Story

Toby came to Carolina Tiger Rescue in December of 2016 from a facility in Colorado.  This facility was closed due when the owner fell ill.  Carolina Tiger Rescue worked with several other sanctuaries from around the country to find homes for over 100 animals. Toby was one of two bobcats rescued from this facility. Toby was always shyer and reserved than Talon Bobcat. Toby enjoyed his quiet days away from the tour path where he could watch the happenings of the sanctuary from his favorite tall platform.

Toby’s Passing

May 9, 2018

Last Tuesday, keepers noticed a wound on Toby Bobcat’s eye. It appeared to be an abscess on the outside of his left eye. We started him on antibiotics, and he appeared to do well the next couple of days. 

On Saturday, keepers reported that he was looking pretty puny. Dr. Angela Lassiter immobilized him to perform a physical, giving us a closer look at his eye. His eyelids were very swollen. We flushed out the abscess and left a small incision allowing it to drain. We also found that he was running a pretty significant fever. We gave him medication to try to make him feel better, so that we could continue treating him with oral medications. 

On Sunday, Toby continued to feel poorly. Dr. Lassiter immobilized him again. While his eye appeared improved, his blood work was another story. It showed a dramatic decrease in his white blood cells, red blood cells, and platelets. The combination of events and blood work led us to believe that we were dealing with an immune-mediated pancytopenia. Our best treatment option was to begin an immune suppression dose of steroids and to treat the evident GI upset. We brought him inside to the kinkajou enclosures in the vet center. Keepers continued his treatments Monday evening, when Toby was, by then, in critical condition. We knew we were fighting for time. While we were waiting for the treatments to work, we knew that Toby was at risk for a spontaneous bleed (because he lacked platelets) and sepsis from the GI upset. Unfortunately, Toby passed away during Monday night. Due to the nature of his illness, we have sent his body to Rollins Lab in Raleigh for a full necropsy. We are also waiting for blood from N.C. State and Antech, which will hopefully give us a more complete picture of what happened. 

Many of you would not have met Toby. He was a true bobcat in every way, including through his reclusive nature. While we can all appreciate our more gregarious animals, it takes a special bit of patience to get to know our shyer residents. It means giving your time to an animal that may or may not ever reciprocate. It’s easy to spend time with an animal that comes up to greet you, but it’s harder to just sit quietly and be ignored. Toby certainly fell into the latter category. He spent the majority of his time up high in his cat tower. From there, he could keep a close eye on his surroundings. While sitting high on his perch, he could decide if coming down to greet you was worth his time and attention. If you were worthy, he came down, maybe even sharing a few bobcat chirps (or grumbles) with you! If you never got a chance to see him in person, you also missed out on his amazing coat! I have never seen a fluffier bobcat. 

Toby was part of the rescue from Colorado in the fall of 2016, which brought so much life to Carolina Tiger Rescue. He was an amazing representative of bobcats that we had been missing for many years. I personally have a great fondness for bobcats and was thrilled that we could offer Toby a home, even if it was for only a short while. 

 It has been a rough week for the staff. We fought as hard as we could to help get him through this crisis and are saddened that he left us so soon. We were hopeful on Monday night when he sat up after getting his meds and his eye was mending. But sometimes, it’s just not enough. Sometimes, it is time to say goodbye, even if it’s just too soon.