Wild Horse Spirit Ltd.
Kitty survived mountain lion attack
She came down the mountain for help. Early Saturday, before sunrise, on October 18, 1997, Betty from Wild Horse Spirit was checking for any signs of free-roaming wild horses in an area of northern Nevada. She sighted a horse in the distance. Using binoculars, she saw a lone young horse who appeared injured, sick and weak. She was moving slowly having difficulty raising and lowering her head to graze on the mountainside. Suddenly, three coyotes were seen circling her, apparently waiting for the opportune time to finish the young horse off. Betty knew it was urgent that the horse get help if she was to survive.
Immediately, Bobbi was called at Wild Horse Spirit. Bobbi and Shirley, a volunteer, came immediately. While Betty went for panels, Bobbi and Shirley began slowly and patiently luring the horse down the mountain with hay to a safe place. Corral panels were set up to “trap” her so her condition could be assessed. Shocky, hungry and underweight, the filly could not have been more pleased with smell of hay and willing and quietly walked into the small corral where hay and water was provided for her.
The vet came on site and agreed the young filly needed veterinarian care and obvious protection from the coyotes. Steve, a trainer who helped Wild Horse Spirit gentle many wild horses, and his wife, Terri who is an animal psychic, was called. Steve offered to load and trailer the filly to the vet hospital.
Waiting for the trailer to arrive, Betty quietly laid down beside
The filly, feeling safe,
slowly moved near Betty munching intermittently on hay in spite of her obvious
discomfort lowering and raising her head. Drainage
could be seen coming from underneath her thick
When the trailer arrived, the filly was gently and patiently loaded into the trailer. Terri said the filly told her, “She just did not want to be rushed, but knew she would get help”. We drove her to the vet hospital.
Once she was tranquilized, the vet was able to assess her injuries. Surprisingly, mountain lion bites were found over the back of her neck. Her right ear was mangled. Scratches, covered by her winter coat, were seen down her back. Miraculously, she had survived such an attack! She would not have survived another couple of days in the wild.
Her neck wounds were filled with maggots, nature’s way to debride and control deeper tissue destruction caused by severe infection. The size of the maggots indicated the attack occurred about 10 days to two weeks earlier. Because she had difficulty raising and lowering her head to graze, she had lost a lot of weight.
The filly spent a week at the vet hospital before coming home to Wild Horse Spirit for continued treatment and a “little groceries”, as the vet said. Her mane, where it had been shaved to treat her wounds, grew back. At one point, she looked as though she had a Mohawk haircut.
Over the next three
years, “KITTY” grew into a beautiful Virginia Range wild horse mare.
Her wounds healed, but when we petted her neck, scars, now covered with
hair, reminded us that she indeed was lucky "Spirit" to escape and survive the
mountain lion attack. She was guided to
come down the mountain for help to the right place and time for Betty to
spot her. Her name came not from
the mountain lion, but from
(Amanda) of the old
“Gunsmoke” TV series who, like Kitty the wild horse, was a true survivor,
Bobbi and Betty kept feeling there would be a special adopter for
Kitty. But it was meant that she remain with her wild horse friends as one of the
official greeters at Wild Horse Spirit.
special visitor was Mark’s Dad who was terminally ill.
Mark would park along the arena so his father could watch the wild ones
who he enjoyed so much, but Kitty was his favorite.
Spiritually and ironically, Kitty had already found her special adopter!
On November 25, 2000, Betty drove home from University of California,
Davis, with an empty trailer - something that every horse lover hopes
never happens. Kitty suddenly
became ill. Her stoic wild
horse nature hid her severe discomfort.
Veterinarians were humbled by her willingness to do everything she
was asked. Kitty, as in 1997, knew they were trying to help her.
When she did not improve in spite of extensive medical care at a
local vet hospital, Betty took Kitty to UCD for exploratory surgery.
Nothing could be done for her.