There’s a new cat in town! Northwest Trek is now home to Tahoma, a 4-year-old male bobcat.
Tahoma was raised as a pet until recently. Bobcats are illegal to own as pets in Washington State, and his owner was forced to surrender him. Tahoma joins the wildlife park’s resident male bobcat, 8-year-old Tanner, who was also raised by humans before coming to Northwest Trek. Because of the cats’ comfortability around people, they both are not able to be released back into the wild.
“Bobcats are wild animals, and wild animals don’t make good pets. It takes generations of careful breeding to domesticate an animal, such as a dog or house cat, and ensure they are well-suited for life as a companion animal,” said Zoological Curator Marc Heinzman. “Without that, an animal still has all of its wild instincts and behaviors. It’s important to remember that a cute and cuddly baby wild animal will grow up to be much different.”
For now, Tahoma and Tanner will rotate on exhibit. Tahoma is still getting used to his new area and his keepers want to make sure he’s familiar with the space before sharing it with Tanner.
“Tahoma continues to adjust to his new surroundings well,” said keeper Haley Withers. “He is very curious and watches Tanner during the day.”
The two cats haven’t shared the same space yet, although they have seen one another through a fence. Keepers are slowly introducing the two to each other, first visually, before eventually allowing them to be together.
Both Tahoma and Tanner weigh around 30 pounds. Guests will be able to tell them apart by their spots: Tahoma’s spots are more prominent on his body than Tanner’s.