You might occasionally still hear older people refer to an animal called a “phoby cat.” This is due to an outbreak of rabies— formerly called hydrophobia— among Western spotted skunks in the 1800s. Unfortunately, the spotted skunk’s reputation as a rabies carrier led to a massive trend in over-hunting and over-trapping, the effects of which are still seen today. Any skunk with neurological symptoms should be reported promptly to your local health department or animal control, but a healthy “phoby cat” should be left alone.
The spotted skunk is teetering on the edge of state-wide extinction, but For Fox Sake is one of the only wildlife rehabilitators licensed to rescue and release these increasingly rare creatures. If you would like to help save Tennessee’s few remaining “phoby cats,” please consider making a donation today.