Mom with Kitten 02-23-2018

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On February 23, 2018 a panther mother with one kitten was photographed near the Fish Farm. 


So far we have not been able to identify her. She does not have a cowlick or a kink in her tail. There are no obvious scars. She does have some white tick spots.


March 10,2018

Turns out Mom has three kittens!

March 14, 2018

After moving over to Little Corkscrew Island for a few days, they returned to Eagle Island.

March 25, 2018

Mom bring a rabbit home for breakfast.


March 26, 2018

The family moves across the Fish Farm.

April 6, 2018


April 11, 2018


April 12, 2018


Mom has a small cut in her right ear. When this is visible we can identify her. Unfortunately it is so small that it will not always be visible in trail camera videos.

She does not have a cow lick or a kink in her tail.


April 16, 2018

On the move.



April 17, 2018

Mom and the kittens check out Larry's three hour old scrape. They are learning to flehmen.

April 22, 2018

The kittens out without Mom.


May 19, 2018

Videos only show two kittens with Mom. Both kittens show signs of weakness in their rear legs. The weakness is most likely caused by a toxin or an infection.

A variety of infections -- viral, bacterial, fungal, parasitic -- can affect the spinal cord, leading to rear leg weakness in cats. Feline infectious peritonitis, or FIP, inflames the spinal cord due to an abnormal response to a coronavirus. Spinal pain and partial paralysis in two or four legs are common symptoms for this illness.

The feline leukemia virus may cause nerve damage leading to loss of motor control and rear leg weakness, which may lead to paraplegic paralysis. The rabies virus may present a variety of symptoms, though when the infection affects the spinal cord, motor control and reflexes deteriorate and paralysis progresses.

Fungal diseases, such as Cryptococcus neoformans, blastomyces and histoplasma affect the central nervous system, leading to spinal pain and partial or total paralysis. Protozoal infections including toxoplasmosis, and parasites such as verminous myelitis, may also cause spinal cord inflammation that impacts a cat's motor skills. Prognosis for regaining mobility depends on the infection. Many are not treatable.



May 21, 2018

The two kittens have stayed in the same area.


May 23, 2018

Video of a bobcat with a similar neuromuscular problem.

With this additional information the consensus of the panther veterinarians and biologist is that they are suffering from tick paralysis. Wikipedia has a good discussion of tick paralysis. If you would like a more detailed discussion check out the Merck Veterinary Manual.


May 25, 2018

We continue to get videos of Mom in the area between The Fish Farm and Little Corkscrew Island. We have not gotten any more videos of the kittens.

May 27, 2019

New video of the two sick kittens.



May 29, 2018

Another video of a bobcat with a similar neuromuscular problem.

May 30, 2018

Mom and the two kittens have moved back to Little Corkscrew Island. For the first time we got video of the kittens at S1.

Family at S1

Family at S5


Family at S6

June 4, 2018

At about 48 seconds into the following video you can hear the sick kitten chirp to his Mom. After that you can hear him stumbling through brush. We cannot see him on the video but you can see his sibling watching him.

June 10, 2018

Mom carrying a rabbit home is a good indication that at least one of her kittens is still alive.

June 13, 2018

Another rabbit for her kittens.


June 16, 2018

The bobcat while still showing signs of this illness, is still able to make a living.


June 19, 2018

Mom and the healthier of the two kittens headed west at the Fish Farm.

The weaker of the two kittens was left behind.



June 20, 2018

Mom and one kitten making their way from the Fish Farm to Little Corkscrew Island.


Mom and one kitten making their way back from Little Corkscrew Island to the Fish Farm.



The sick kitten trying to keep up with his family. This is at least day 32 of his illness.


The latest guess as to the cause of their illness is bromethalin toxicity (rat poison). While that is certainly  possible, the middle of the Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary should be a long way from any rat poison. The Merck Veterinary Manual has more information on bromethalin toxicity.

Hopefully we will soon be able to catch the sick kitten and have a definitive diagnosis.


June 21, 2018

This is at least day 33 of his illness.


June 22, 2018

This is at least day 34 of his illness.


About three and a half hours after these trail camera videos were recorded, Carlton Ward saw and photographed Mom and the sick kitten at the Fish Farm. He watched them for half and hour. 


© Ralph Arwood 2018