Finding Ollie

Image via Smithsonian National Zoo
Image via Smithsonian National Zoo

Ollie the bobcat has escaped.

Before entering the real world, the large bobcat was living within the confines of a zoo but now finds herself on a new journey. This happened yesterday, per the Smithsonian National Zoo:

The approximately 25 lb. bobcat was last counted at 7:30 a.m. this morning by a keeper. Keepers do routine checks of all animals at the Zoo first thing in the morning. At 10:40 a.m. keepers called the bobcats for their morning feeding and Ollie did not respond. Animal Care staff conducted an immediate search and have not located the bobcat.

The zookeepers think Ollie left through a hole in the fence of her enclosure. One could say this is the living sequel to Madagascar. One could joke that Ollie is seeking respite from a newly fascist regime by going on an odyssey to Canada, where Justin Trudeau will welcome her with toned open arms. But this seems like something more, like she felt like there was something big for her out there in the wild cold. Ollie’s got somewhere to be, someone to be.


It’s true that Ollie has been described as not the kindest cat in the world... even for a cat. “She’s very standoffish,” said the National Zoo’s “curator of great cats” Craig Saffoe at a news conference. “It would be extremely easy on us if she were a cat who would come when called, but that’s not who this individual is.” Tuh. Sounds like a cool, independent individual to me. Saffoe, realist who probably sighs a lot, added, “Cats are survivors. I’d be lying to you if I said we were definitely going to get her back.”

There is some hope.

But whether Ollie finds her way “home” or “back” is beside the point. What was Fievel Goes West about? Were Nemo or Dory’s tales about the final destination? Or was it really about the journey?


The zookeepers appear confident that Ollie can fend for herself. The New York Times reports:

Ollie is not believed to be a threat to humans — she should be treated like a stray dog, the zoo representatives said — but she is a carnivore, meaning small birds, cats or dogs could be at risk. The National Zoo has set up a hotline at (202) 633-7362 for anyone with information on Ollie’s whereabouts.


What I hope is that someone does spot Ollie traveling among the fallen leaves on a tough, dirty ground on some unknown, beaten path. I hope they take a picture of her and let her be, because it appears that Ollie has big plans, man.

Culture Editor, Jezebel

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Her friends were on just outside my bathroom window a few days ago.