A Utah bobcat now known as Mr. Murderbritches is rapidly gaining notoriety on social media as a video circulates of Murderbritches snarling and swiping at wildlife officers who try to free him from a cage near Kanarraville.
Murderbritches was killing chickens in Kanarraville, so wildlife officers moved him out of town, according to a video posted Nov. 26 by the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources.
This week the Center for Biological Diversity re-released the video with subtitles translating Murderbritches’ growls and snarls.
“I GET YOU BOI,” Murderbritches is translated as saying as he swipes at an officer, who replies, “Don’t you get me!”
“Watch these wildlife officials struggle to stay alive,” the center tweeted.
DWR spokesman Mark Hadley said the bobcat was released “not all that far from the town.”
“It was taken out far enough where we don’t think it’ll come back into the town again,” Hadley said.
The internet, however, won’t soon forget Mr. Murderbritches.
“Mr Murderbritches. I have found my patronus,” tweeted author Jenny Lawson.
The aggressive and sassy subtitles resonated with many on Twitter, including one user who wrote, “If they relocated everyone I know who got caught with [chicken emoji] in their mouths Kanarraville, UT would be overcrowded.”
“Get Mr. Murderbritches a Netflix show, a stuffed animal toy line, an animated Pixar movie, a live-action reboot of the original movie, or better yet, leave Mr. Murderbritches alone, because you mess with Murderbritches, you get stitches,” wrote another author, Chuck Wendig.
The filmed encounter was actually the first of two run-ins wildlife officials had with Murderbritches once he developed a taste for chicken, said conservation officer Josh Carver, who caught Murderbritches both times.
A man in Kanarraville had called the DWR to report the cat was in his chicken coop in late November, and an Iron County sheriff’s deputy was dispatched to open the door and let him out, Carver said.
“If he’s trapped in there or can’t get out, maybe this’ll be enough to scare him,” Carver said he speculated.
The deputy opened the coop and watched Murderbritches scamper away.
“They watched him run right back to the house,” Carver said.
Carver trapped Murderbritches and officers released him in the mountains west of town, in the video posted on Twitter.
“But then he made it eight miles over a mountain range and got into … a dog house,” Carver said. Wildlife officers captured Murderbritches again.
When wildcats become habituated to people, it usually does not end well.
“People will ask, ‘Well, why didn’t you put him down?’ ‘Why didn’t you take him to a rehab?’” Carver said.
But Murderbritches had shown a lot of moxie for a little cat, having crossed a mountain range and never letting people in spitting distance. He’s a juvenile, and winter could be rough, Carver said. But he had proved his killer spirit. With a little food supply to get started, Carver thought, Murderbritches had a good chance to make it in the wild.
“I don’t like to put down animals if I think they’ve got a fighting chance,” Carver said. “I’m not going to take him to rehab just to let him sit in a kennel.”
Carver noticed a fresh roadkill deer on a roadside. He had just been releasing pheasants for hunting at a reservoir, and one was near dead after being divebombed by an eagle. Carver said he finished off the bird to end its suffering and bagged it for Murderbritches.
“I think at his age, he’s old enough that he can obviously make a kill on his own, but it’s going to have to be something small. But if he can scavenge for a little while, he can put some size on him. He’ll be able to survive,” Carver said. “I’ll set him with a roadkill deer and an eagle-killed pheasant and put him to it.”
Carver drove the cat and the scavenged prey 22 miles out of town, west of Newcastle, near the Indian Peaks to release him.
“He was a little more comfortable with me this time around, but I really didn’t want him to comfortable around humans,” Carver said. “I poked him with a stick a few times, so he’d realize we were a threat.”
He cut up some of the deer and watched Murderbritches eat — a rare sight for an animal that is normally so timid.
“It was really cool,” Carver said.
As for the cat’s new name, bestowed by the Center for Biological Diversity: Carver said the cat at the Kanarraville chicken coop appeared to be male, but Murderbritches resisted closer examination.
“He’s a mean little cuss, so every time I tried to check, he’d tear into me,” Carver said. “So I never really verified.”