Whoops.
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Pearl Bobcat Kitten
Credit: True Rescue

Staff at True Rescue in Mount Juliet, Tennessee, have handled their fair share of kittens over the years. So all it took was one look at the head and paws of a kitten that was rushed to the animal shelter last week to tell that they were dealing with a case of mistaken identity. 

The seemingly distressed kitten found on the back deck of a Middle Tennessee couple's home was actually a baby bobcat. Whoops! 

"We definitely knew it wasn't a regular kitten," Amy Simcik, founder and executive director of True Rescue, told McClatchy News. "It was very big—big head, big feet ... wild and musky kind of smelling."

Simcik also noted the kitten's distinctive fur and birdlike vocalizations. Unlike domestic kittens, bobcat kittens rarely meow. They also have very short tails. 

While the couple meant well, humans should avoid removing young wild animals from their environment. Doing so can prevent them from ever returning to the wild. 

"We always recommend people Googling ... exactly what to do," she told McClatchy. "Most of the time, (the results) will say to leave it. You're endangering it far more trying to pull it out of that environment and care for it yourself than leaving it."

The baby bobcat, who was later named Pearl, was recently transferred from Walden's Puddle to For Fox Sake Wildlife Rescue in Chattanooga, where she can interact with another bobkitten named Ruby. The two kittens will be raised as siblings before being released back into the wild.

"Pearl is in great shape," rescuers wrote in a Facebook update Sunday. "She's a little anemic, which is common for young mammals her age as the iron stores from the womb start depleting, but that's nothing we can't fix."

"We're thankful to True Rescue for bringing Pearl to Walden's Puddle and to Walden's Puddle for transferring her to us," the post continues. "Both Pearl and Ruby have a much better chance at a happy, free life in the wild because they will be able to be together."

Good luck, little ladies!