While animal shelters are often crazy and wild places, Sara Penhallegon was still shocked when she found one unregistered animal in the building. Most animals don’t cause much of a stir, but when Sara was face to face with a wild cougar, she couldn’t believe her eyes.
Sara worked at the Center Valley Animal Shelter Rescue in Quilcene, Washington.
Center Valley is a no-kill shelter that does its best to care for and rehabilitate all the creatures that come through their doors. Sara was a tenured worker that had been at the shelter for years and had seen it all. Working at a shelter for so long, you get to a point where nothing surprises you all that much anymore!
Even though Sara had been working there for years, she was still surprised, looking down at the wild cat.
The shelter has much more than just dogs and cats in their walls! They have all sorts of creatures that they treat, not to mention a new addition! The wild part is that the cougar that she was facing wasn’t even on her list. It had somehow found its way into the shelter without a human to check it in!
When she examined the situation closer, she realized what had happened.
The young cat had crawled into the shelter’s outdoor cages and curled up on a pile of hay inside. She was looking for safety and shelter and had found it. Unfortunately, when Sara looked closer at the big-cat, she realized the situation was dire.
Sara said the big cat had “made itself at home,” but upon closer inspection, she realized how sick the poor creature was.
The cougar was seriously ill and needed help.
For such a big animal, it was severely underweight. The cat was 50 pounds underweight and was only weighed 34 pounds total! In short, it was starving to death and didn’t have long to live. Most dogs are heavier than the cougar was, and it didn’t look for it to live.
“I suspect it was going there to die, considering the condition it was in,” Sara added.
By some miracle, the cougar had settled on a place to die – the animal shelter!
If the cat had decided to go anywhere else it would have died shortly after. But! Never to fear. The cougar was in the right spot to get exactly the help he needed.
“Experts gave the animal a 10 percent shot of pulling through, but with plenty of compassionate care and good food, the feline started getting better. It put on 10 pounds right away and grew stronger and feistier with every passing day.” – Inspire More
The reality of the cub’s situation came to light.
The cougar’s mom had probably died before it was able to teach her cub how to hunt. Without knowing how to get food for itself, the poor cub was wasting away with no way to eat. Cougar cubs usually stay with their mom for 2-3 years before heading off on their own. During that time, they learn how to fend for themselves. Since the cub never had that training, the best thing to do was to take it to rehab.
Taking the cougar to rehab in Texas, they knew it would be happy and healthy there.
Maybe this little cub will be in the wild one day. For now, though, it is going to be spending some time with some friends in Texas!
“Obviously, our goal is to return animals to the wild, but the next best option is a really good captive placement with a great facility that can take care of its needs,” she said. “And that’s what we have for this one.”
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Source: Inspire More