Auburn veterinarian Stephen Kinney holds a lynx brought in by staff at the Maine Wildlife Park in Gray. The 4-year-old cat had a bowel obstruction that could have been life-threatening if left untreated. (Courtesy of Auburn Animal Center)

AUBURN — A local veterinarian is no stranger to cats, but one of his Wednesday patients was a little bigger — and wilder — than the others.

And there’s a Facebook photo to prove it.

Officials from the Maine Wildlife Park in Gray brought a 4-year-old Canadian lynx to Stephen Kinney’s Auburn Animal Center this week. Raised by humans and unable to be returned to the wild, the lynx had lived at the park since he was a kitten. Recently, park workers noticed he had stopped eating, wasn’t moving around much, wasn’t acting right.

Bowel obstructions are not unheard of in cats, no matter their size, and this lynx had one before. Turned out he had one again. If left untreated, the blockage of bone and hair could have killed him.

Some number of enemas later and the lynx was back on his paws.

But before heading home, a picture for Facebook.


The Auburn Animal Center posted a photo of Kinney holding the sleepy cat, one large paw resting in Kenney’s outstretched hand. It was captioned: “Oh you know, just another day at the office for Dr. Kinney!”

It quickly garnered almost 650 reactions, more than 80 shares and dozens of comments.

“I thought I saw a … yikes that’s a big kitty cat!!” wrote Lydia Alberghini.

The photo didn’t exaggerate the size of the lynx, or the size of his feet.

“You can’t really appreciate it until you handle them,” Kinney said. “I mean, their paws are so enormous for their size. You look at them and you go, ‘No wonder they can walk on snow.'”

Although he’s probably best known for treating dogs and house cats in Lewiston-Auburn, Kinney has been one of the Maine Wildlife Park’s go-to vets for about three decades. Over the years, he’s seen moose calves, fawns, a porcupine that had been speared in the paws by another porcupine and — among his favorites — baby beavers.


“It really breaks up the day,” Kinney said.

It also really helps the park and its 30-plus species of wildlife.

“Unlike a lot of vets, he has extensive experience with some of these wild species,” said park superintendent Curt Johnson. “So many vets are used to domestic species, cats and dogs and other common household pets. They wouldn’t even be willing to see a lynx or a mountain lion.”

Or a fox.

Kinney posted a photo of himself holding one of those Friday

The lynx spent about half a day at the animal hospital before being returned to the park. Johnson said he’s doing well and could be back in the public enclosure with the park’s other two lynx as soon as next week.

“We’re glad he’s back home,” Johnson said. 

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