Several people have asked if T’challa, our nonreleasable bobcat ambassador, still has his claws. Of course he does— big, razor- sharp ones! His claws could easily cause serious injury, and that’s one of the many reasons that we don’t allow him to be handled or played with by the general public.
All other bobcats that have been at For Fox Sake were released to the wild after rehabilitation, with their claws and teeth intact and exactly the way nature made them. That’s precisely what they need to climb trees, hunt their prey, and defend themselves.
Bobcats need their claws for proper balance because they are digitigtade, meaning they walk on their toes. Declawing amputates the toe past the last knuckle, leaving bobcats (and any other declawed animals) susceptible to arthritis and chronic pain. A declawed bobcat is also much more dangerous than a bobcat with its natural claws, because they are much more likely to bite in self defense. Some organizations and pet owners solve this problem by also removing teeth, but removing teeth unnecessarily is also extremely cruel.
Even if we wanted to declaw our bobcat patients and ambassador, we wouldn’t be able to! USDA law prohibits licensed wildlife exhibitors from declawing or defanging exotic cats, and nearly all licensed wildlife veterinarians refuse to perform routine declawing of wild animals.
Those adorable fuzzy toe beans pack powerful weapons inside them, because that’s what nature intended! None of the wild animals at For Fox Sake are pets, and we value their health and happiness above our own convenience. Please respect wild animals for the natural and potentially dangerous creatures they are.