Construction workers found Yemaya, the bobcat kitten, at a well-drilling site east of Phoenix in 2010. She was tiny, dehydrated, and all alone. The bobcat kitten was crying, so the well-meaning workmen tried to feed her, but she wouldn’t eat the cat food they offered. At the time, Yemaya needed her mother’s milk, but she was nowhere to be seen.
Fortunately for Yemaya, the workers offered comfort and wanted to save her. During the day, they played with her in their office. However, she turned down everything they offered. In protest, she squalled, wanting to nurse. At this age, she was too young for solid food.
As the day progressed, Yemaya was becoming more dehydrated. Before long, the workers realized they needed expert help. So, they reached out to Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center in Scottsdale. By this time, the bobcat had sadly imprinted on people, which would change the rest of her life.
Yemaya is Nursed Back to Health
When the volunteer from Southwest Wildlife arrived, a man was cuddling the kitten, but she cried for her mother.
In the care of the center, Yemaya received baby formula made just for bobcats. Soon, she began growing and thriving, bonding closely with the rehabilitators. Since she came into contact with people so early, she bonded closely with her caregivers.
Now, Yemaya was nothing like a wild bobcat in behavior, being accustomed to people and dogs.
“She’s one of the most un-bobcat-like bobcats at the sanctuary,” the center wrote. “She doesn’t use her teeth or her claws when playing and is afraid of other bobcats. We knew Yemaya could never be a wild bobcat, so now she has a permanent home at the sanctuary. Could she have been released if people hadn’t handled her? Possibly.”
A Chance to Live the Wild Life
Today, the wildlife center hopes sharing Yemaya’s story will help other bobcats like her, of which they have seen many. After imprinting on humans, they can no longer go back to the wilderness.
“We adore her and are so glad we were there when she needed us, but what if she had been brought to us in time to keep her wild?” the center wrote on Facebook. “She could have lived the wild life she was born for. Please call a wildlife rehabilitator as soon as you find a wild orphan. Give that animal a second chance at their wild life.”
Thus, rather than handling a bobcat kitten, they encourage people to leave them alone or call an expert if the wild cat needs help.
👑 Yemaya, Queen Diva of All That is Feline 👑
Today, Yemaya is seen as the “Divine Miss Yemaya,” the “Bobcat Diva,” and “Queen Diva of all that is feline” at the Southwest Wildlife center. She prefers to live alone, refusing to share the spotlight. As a Bobcat Diva, she will have everything she needs for the rest of her life, thanks to generous donations.
“She has no idea she’s a bobcat. Our beautiful girl thinks bobcats are scary, loves dogs and shows off for tour groups,” the center wrote on Facebook.
Below, the bobcat Diva rests in her hammock. Other times; she loves to swim in her wading pool.
To learn more and help care for rescued animals like Yemaya, visit the Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center website.
See how Yemaya the bobcat loves to swim below in the video from the center.
“How does a Scottsdale bobcat stay cool in summer? A stay-cation at her favorite wildlife resort, of course!”
Yemaya Stars in a National Geographic Special
In 2012, Yemaya became a bobcat celebrity. That year, she appeared in National Geographic’s special “Unlikely Animal Friends.”
Below, you can get a preview from Nat Geo WILD, in which Yemaya plays with an Australian Shepherd puppy.
REMEMBER THOUGH! BIG CATS AREN’T PETS!