Arizona bobcat survives being hit by car, trapped in grille

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Bobcat trapped in car's grille By Jennifer Thomas Bobcat trapped in car's grille By Jennifer Thomas

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- An Arizona motorist got a New Year's surprise he'll likely long remember well into 2015 and beyond.

A.J. Michaels was driving to a north Scottsdale restaurant Friday night when he hit an animal in the roadway near Scottsdale and Indian Bend roads.

When he arrived at the restaurant, Michaels walked around his vehicle checking for damage and discovered the object he had hit.

He saw a bobcat, alive and apparently OK, stuck in the grille of his car.

"I felt very badly it had been hit," Michaels said. "I thought I killed it."

Experts from the Arizona Game and Fish Department were trying to figure out how best to rescue the bobcat.

Staffer Geoffrey Hossack first fired a tranquilizer dart to subdue the animal. After cutting into a section of the grille he pulled the 7-pound cat out of one enclosed space and placed him into another.

"You have the fact that it had basically not used up any of its nine lives," Michaels said.

From all indications, the animal was not bleeding.

Hossack took the bobcat to the Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center, where a veterinarian checked him out. The bobcat didn't suffer any breaks, fractures or external injuries.

"I would say his condition is amazing," Hossack said. "It's unheard of that an animal this small is going get hit by a vehicle and survive."

"It is definitely a New Year's miracle," Michaels said.

Bobcats are common throughout Arizona at all elevations, especially in rimrock and chaparral areas, and in the outskirts of urban areas where food is readily available, according to the Arizona Game and Fish website.

"These guys can leap as high as 12 feet and they're much stronger than a domesticated house cat even though he's similar in size right now," Hossack said.

The bobcat will continue to be cared for at Southwest Wildlife while they wait for test results expected to come back in the next week.