CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. — A Tennessee woman mistook a baby bobcat for a kitten and rescued it from the side of the road.
The bobcat cub, who Jill Hicks of Chattanooga named "Arwen," is now in the care of an animal rescue organization, local media reported.
"Arwen is safe at a rehab facility and will be released in March to live her best life in the wild," Hicks wrote in a Facebook post. "AND I got to love and give kisses to a baby bobcat cub!! She stole a piece of my heart that she will have forever!"
Hicks was driving home Sept. 20 when she saw what she thought was a rabbit dart across the road, she told WDEF-TV. As she got closer, Hicks realized the rabbit was actually a kitten -- or so she thought.
"So I pulled over and surprisingly it didn't run from me," Hicks wrote on Facebook. "I put it in the car with me and it climbed all over me like a kitten would do, got in floorboard under my feet, and after stopping a couple of times to get it nestled into my lap, I finally got home with it."
Hicks made a makeshift shelter for the animal in her garage and named her Arwen. A neighbor asked to see the kitten, and Hicks invited her over.
As the women inspected Arwen closer, they realized she wasn't a domestic house cat at all but a bobcat.
"Thank the lord for her (the neighbor) because I sure was about to put that baby in the sink and give it a bath and put it in bed with me!" Hicks wrote.
Hicks took Arwen to For Fox Sake Animal Rescue. The group has been posting Facebook updates on the bobkitten since receiving her.
"Now that the initial shock and confusion have worn off, she's acting a lot more like we'd expect of a bobcat, with lots of defensive behavior and a healthy mistrust of humans," For Fox Sake staff wrote in a Facebook post.
The group noted that bobcats can almost never be domesticated.
"Arwen rose to fame because she looked so much like a house cat that she was mistaken for one by her rescuer, but her resemblance to a house cat stops there," staff wrote. "Even when raised by humans, bobcats are unpredictable, territorial wild animals with a powerful prey drive and no desire to please human beings."
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