PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – The bobcat captured aboard one of the Gateway Clipper Fleet boats on Pittsburgh’s South Side over the weekend should be in a new home by the end of the day Monday.
State game commissioners planned to release the cat into State Gamelands 247 in Armstrong County Monday afternoon.
Crew members preparing The Empress vessel for an afternoon cruise Sunday discovered the cat on an upper deck. They called city Animal Control, which captured the bobcat and took it to Humane Animal Rescue Wildlife Center in Verona, where veterinary staff and state game wardens examined it.
“The wildlife center was able to check him out. He seems to be very healthy, no injuries or anything like that,” said Game Warden Dan Puhala.
He says the young male cat weighs about 18 pounds, which is about average for bobcats. Typically, they can weigh anywhere from 15-25 pounds.
“We wanted to get a good assessment, and now we’re going to release him into the wild,” Puhala said.
Game officials suspect the bobcat was living in a wooded area at the bottom of Mount Washington, across Carson Street and near Station Square, where the Gateway Clipper Fleet is docked.
They believe the animal snuck onto the boat sometime overnight Saturday into Sunday morning.
Puhala said it’s unusual to see a wild bobcat in an urban area like Pittsburgh.
“It’s pretty rare to see one in Allegheny County, let alone in the city. But it is towards the tail end of their mating season and they have been known to travel up to 20 miles in a day, especially an adult male,” he said.
Puhala and the wildlife center staff carefully crated the cat, although they had to switch it from a large cage to a pet-sized cat carrier when the cage wouldn’t fit in the game commission SUV. They planned to drive the animal to a remote area of the state gamelands in Armstrong County and release him into the wild.
“Real nice and easy, we’re going to set the crate down, open up the door with the towel over the front and stand back and pull the towel away. I’m sure once he sees a clear opening he’s gonna want to be gone,” said Puhala.
Despite the fact that he often sees unusual situations involving wild animals, caring for a bobcat was a unique experience.
“It’s rare to have one here. It’s a neat opportunity to see something you don’t always get to see,” he said.