Wildfires are devastating on their own, but it is especially heartbreaking to consider the impact they have on animals.
So when an ash-covered kitten was spotted hiding under some fallen tree limbs along the roadside, firefighters went about their job as normal and tried to rescue the scared feline.
Little did they know, this wasn’t any normal kitten…
Keep reading to find out how these brave firefighters accidentally discovered a tiny beast!
A Shocking Discovery
The firefighters had been fighting the Zogg Wildfire in Redding, California for hours, but were still determined to take the time to help the kitten.
At first, they thought they were rescuing what seemed to be an injured kitten staring back at them from a scorched bush.
However, it soon became clear this was not a regular house cat…
The firefighters had discovered something very special: a mountain lion cub!
With burned paws and singed whiskers, it’s no wonder this cub was terrified and not happy about strangers approaching him.
The cub put up a good fight, but they were finally able to pull the cub to safety. Then they got to take a much better look at the angry little cub.
The cub was less than two months old and weighed less than four pounds.
After searching the area, they couldn’t find a mother or any siblings.
Normally, mountain lions are born in litters of two or three cubs, who stay with their mother for roughly two years as they learn how to hunt and live on their own.
The firefighters concluded that the frightened cub had somehow been separated from his family during the fire.
Whether the mother and siblings survived is unclear, making this rescue even more important.
It took the firefighters, the Shasta County’s Sheriff’s Office, and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife Services working together to figure out what to do with the rescued cub.
Finally, someone offered to give the cub a chance.
The Road to Recovery
The cub was transported to the Oakland Zoo where a team of experts were prepared to take care of him.
It wouldn’t be easy to rehabilitate the mountain lion cub, but the veterinary technicians and staff at the Oakland Zoo were more than ready for the challenge.
They named the cub Captain Cal and have taken extraordinary measures to make sure he recovers and thrives.
Their main concerns were Captain Cal’s burned paws, singed whiskers, and severe eye irritation. Miraculously, there was no smoke damage to his lungs.
He was given a safe, warm place to heal and his infections were treated with antibiotics.
If Captain Cal was still with this mother, he would be starting to wean off her milk.
Obviously that diet wasn’t an option anymore, so volunteers syringe-feeding him by hand.
The latest updates report that he’s healing well and now able to eat on his own.
Because of his age and tragic start, it’s unlikely that Captain Cal will ever be able to return to the wild or his original home.
But his current caretakers are cautiously optimistic that he’ll survive with no lasting damage and will be able to lead a full, healthy life.
Experts at the Oakland Zoo are working closely with organizations to ensure Captain Cal is placed in a safe and comfortable environment when the time comes.
So far, two organizations have stepped forward to offer a permanent home to Captain Cal once he’s ready to face the world again.
After all he has been through, this feisty little cub can rest easy knowing he will be loved and protected.