At Cat Tales Wildlife Center, each rescue story holds a unique place in our hearts, and the recent rescue of Billy Thurman, a year-old raccoon, is no exception. This story is a testament to the compassion of a family, the dedication of our team, and the critical importance of understanding wildlife behavior.

A Family’s Compassionate Act

Billy Thurman’s journey began when a well-meaning family found him orphaned. Driven by their kindness, they took him in and did everything they could to care for him. However, in their attempt to help, Billy became habituated to human presence. This is a common occurrence when wild animals are cared for outside of a professional wildlife rehabilitation setting.

The Incident

Billy’s story took a dramatic turn when he was allowed outside and wandered towards a stream—a natural inclination for raccoons. There, he encountered an unknown animal that caused him severe injuries. Realizing the gravity of the situation, the family contacted a veterinarian, who in turn contacted the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW).

A Life-Saving Intervention

In Washington state, it is illegal to possess wild animals, and raccoons, in particular, are often subject to euthanasia by WDFW due to the risks associated with their habituation to humans. Billy was in a tree when WDFW arrived, delaying his confiscation until the following day. During this critical window, Cat Tales was contacted. With WDFW’s permission, Billy was brought to our facility for the care he desperately needed.

Arrival crate. Please take a look at the blanket and pillow.
The scarred eye gives him personality. Typical raccoon with a foot in water.
Canine punctures on day 3 after vet visit. Healing nicely.

Medical Care and Recovery

Upon arrival, Billy was immediately taken to our veterinarian, Dr. Luther McConnell of Animal Clinic Spokane. A thorough checkup revealed that, although Billy had a scar from a bite near his eye that seemed to be healing, the canine punctures on his back and neck were extensive. These wounds were carefully flushed and treated with antibiotics, and we are pleased to report that they are healing as hoped. Billy also received a full set of vaccinations and was neutered during his visit.

A New Chapter

Billy is non-releasable due to his habituation; he came to us with a blanket and pillow, prefers dog food, and his survival instincts have been compromised, evidenced by his near-fatal encounter with another raccoon. This behavior underscores the lesser-known fact that raccoons establish a dominance hierarchy at a young age. Solitary raccoons, like Billy, miss out on this crucial socialization, making them vulnerable in the wild.

An Ambassador for Wildlife Education

Billy is now a part of our Cat Tales family, and a new exhibit area is being constructed for him. He will serve as an ambassador for his wild counterparts, helping us educate the public about the importance of understanding wild behavior and why wildlife should remain wild.

Call to Action

We invite you to support Billy’s journey and our ongoing mission to provide the best care for all our rescues. Your donations will help us continue Billy’s veterinary care, complete his new exhibit, and support our educational programs. Together, we can make a difference in the lives of these incredible animals and promote a deeper understanding of their needs and behaviors.

Thank you for being a part of this compassionate community. Your support means the world to us and to the animals we care for.

Donate Now to help Billy and other wildlife in need.