Bobcats Tanner, 8, and Tahoma, 4, are getting along so well, they are now able to share the bobcat habitat at Northwest Trek together!
Tahoma arrived at Northwest Trek in 2020, after being raised illegally as a pet. Since his arrival, keepers have slowly introduced the two cats to each other, first just visually through a fence before eventually allowing them to be together.
“We wanted to give Tahoma time to adjust to his new surroundings before introducing him to Tanner,” said keeper Haley Withers. “When they did meet, Tanner climbed up into a tree while Tahoma stayed on ground and they just looked curiously at the other. Now they’re more comfortable and they seem to enjoy sharing a habitat, even playfully chasing each other around!”
Withers also said the bobcats are interacting with enrichment near each other, like cooking spices and animal bedding, which is a huge step in the process of getting to know one another.
As they do with all of the animals at Northwest Trek, the keepers have been watching the bobcats closely. Last month, before the cats were on exhibit together, Withers noticed Tahoma had been regurgitating a bit more frequently than is usual in big cats. Head veterinarian, Dr. Allison Case, didn’t see anything wrong on her x-rays and scheduled a gastroscopy for Tahoma with the park’s partner, Summit Veterinary Referral Center, to see if anything deeper was happening. His diagnosis: pancreatic insufficiency- meaning Tahoma’s pancreas wasn’t doing its usual job of production and secretion of enzymes to digest his diet. It’s easily treated by sprinkling an enzyme powder onto the cat’s meat diet to help digestion, and Tahoma seems to be doing much better already.
Tahoma also had his nails trimmed during his exam, a vital step in establishing good relations before he met Tanner.
Now that the cats are sharing the same habitat, guests will be able to tell Tahoma and Tanner apart by their spots: Tahoma’s spots are more prominent on his body than Tanner’s. You can also tell by their coat color in general: Tanner has more brown in his coat and Tahoma has more gray tones.