Misha and Rufus
Animal Stories from All-Creatures.org


Performing Animal Welfare Society (PAWS)
July 2015

Misha Canadian Lynx

Rufus Canadian Lynx

Misha and Rufus are Canada lynx who are currently living at our Galt sanctuary. The brother and sister pair came from Storybook Gardens, a zoo in London, Ontario, Canada. They were retired to PAWS after the London City Council voted to reduce the size of the zoo, deciding to find new homes for all but the domestic animals. Storybook Gardens staff worked collaboratively with local animal welfare groups to find suitable homes in zoos and sanctuaries. Thanks to the help of Toronto-based Zoocheck, and the community group Friends of Captive Animals (FOCA), arrangements were made to transport the lynx to their new home at PAWS in June of 2012.

Born in May 2005, Rufus and Misha are mature adult lynx. When they first arrived at PAWS they were not timid, and seemed delighted to explore their new home. Their habitat is large and grassy, with sunny areas and plenty of shade under the trees. They enjoy each other's company and can often be found curled up together on a soft bed of straw in their den box. They are beautiful cats, with distinctive long tufts of fur on their ear tips and deep golden eyes.

Rufus (left) was born with a congenital defect of his spine, which causes him to walk with a very unusual, wobbly gait. Several of the vertebrae in his spine are deformed, pinching his spinal cord and affecting the rear half of his body. Our veterinarian, Dr. Jackie Gai, consulted with board certified veterinary neurologists at U.C. Davis, who felt that due to the severity of his deformities, surgery would not fix his problem and may even result in paralysis. Rufus receives medication to reduce inflammation in his spinal cord and to help him move more freely. Our goal is to keep Rufus comfortable and mobile for as long as possible, and to help his body keep up with his youthful spirit and energy.

Rufus does not let his disability slow him down. Every morning he makes his rounds, following the keepers as they walk alongside the enclosure delivering breakfast. He is also keenly interested in stalking the occasional bird that flies through the habitat, his fluffy, bobbed tail twitching excitedly. Misha is the more reserved of the two, preferring to perch atop a high platform, surveying all of the activities taking place in the sanctuary around her. Rufus and Misha occasionally spar and play, and they communicate with each other using a distinctive and striking vocalization unique to lynx.

PAWS' staff keep the lynx's habitat stocked with logs cut from fallen trees. Scratching on the bark keeps the cats' claws in good shape. To provide extra traction for Rufus and make it easier for him to walk, a pathway around the perimeter of the habitat is covered in special outdoor carpeting. We replace it periodically and that time is coming soon. Your donation, or a gift card from Lowe's or Home Depot, would be put to good use for this purpose. Gift cards can be sent to PAWS at P. O. Box 849, Galt, CA 95632.

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