A Tennessee woman rescued a stray animal from the street Monday — however, it wasn’t the cuddly kitten she thought it was.
Jill Hicks was driving down a high-traffic road in Chattanooga, when she saw what she thought was a kitten run across the street, WDEF News 12 reported.
“I pulled over on the side of the road, got out, got it. It did run a little bit, but not fast and not far. I crouched down. I picked it up. I put it in the car with me. It climbed all over me,” Hicks told the outlet.
After bringing the animal home and showing the feline to her neighbors, Hicks realized the animal she was about to keep in her bed was actually a bobcat.
“I was going to go home from dinner, give her a bath, put her in the bed with me and when we decided she was a bobcat, I was like I probably better not do all of that,” Hicks said.
Instead, Hicks brought the bobcat, later named Arwen, to For Fox Sake Wildlife Rescue, where rehabilitator Juniper Russo explained bobcats can definitely be dangerous.
“As they get older they will become more and more aggressive, and a male bobcat especially can be about twice the size of a typical domestic cat and also very unpredictable in its behavior,” Russo told the WDEF News 12.
She explained that while it’s difficult to tell the difference between a young bobcat and a kitten, there are specific characteristics to look out for.
Bobcat kittens typical have “spots in some form or another” as well as “black tufts on the ears,” Russo explained. However, these characteristics can possibly be found in domestic cats as well.
Hicks said she still would have rescued Arwen off the street if she had known the little animal was a potentially dangerous bobcat.
“Even though I thought she was a kitten, had I known she was a bobcat, in that small and in that high-trafficked area, I still would have done the same thing,” she said.
Russo hopes that Arwen, after a few months of care, will be ready to return the wild in March.