Big Cat Sighting

Living in a rural area, we see a good amount of wildlife that city folks don't ordinarily see.  I'd list coyotes as one, but since they show up in the city with increasing regularity, I don't suppose they are all that unusual no matter where you live.  We get a lot of deer, and it's a constant battle trying to keep them from eating everything in the garden.

For the last year the entire neighborhood has been a-twitter about a cougar sighting.  I've never seen the cougar, and I have extreme doubts about the validity of these claims.  One of our closest neighbors (who is in his late sixties at least) has lived here all of his life--in the same house.  He says in all those years he's never seen a cougar.  I tend to believe him.  Furthermore, the neighbors who are most worked up about the cougar seem to be of a mindset that someone should shoot it at the first opportunity.  I really don't understand that way of thinking.  The sightings have been so rare, and it seems to be so elusive, that I doubt very much that it is a threat to anyone.  I kind of think the cougar has more right to be here than we do.

In any case, a plumber came to our house recently and told us he'd seen a bobcat right at the gate to our property.  He said he lived in Eastern Oregon as a kid and that he knows what a bobcat looks like.  And, again, I found myself skeptical of this claim.  I think I'm the kind of person who has to see it to believe it.  (Can you see where this is going?)  So yesterday as I drove through the gate on my way home, there it was!  It was a cat about the size of  border collie.  His (her?) spotted markings were unmistakable.  I suppose it's possible that it could have been a large domestic cat, but it would be the biggest cat I've ever seen.  The fact that it's been seen twice in the same place would lead me to believe it's living somewhere around us.  As I read about its preferred habitat, I can believe we have some areas that a bobcat would like.

I'm not really worried about it.  It's a big cat, but not big enough to be a threat to humans.  Also, I did some reading about what kinds of things they like to eat.  Generally, they prefer hares, beavers, birds, grass and berries, although they have been known to eat deer as well.  If I had a dog I might be worried, but I doubt very much that it would be interested in George and Gracie.  (It seems a little cannibalistic, don't you think?)

I like this part of country living--the unusual birds and mammals that we see.  As a cat lover, having a resident bobcat seems particularly cool.  It seems extremely shy, and so I don't suppose I'll ever get a picture of it.  But I am going to keep my camera in the car for a while just in case I see it again.


quiltzyx said...

I think it would so cool if you can get a picture of the bobcat! Hmmm, what should its name be? If it's living near you, it should have a name! lol

Anonymous said...

I saw one once, in the Adirondacks. They are really majestic creatures!


BillieBee (billiemick) said...

We have seen a lot of things in our yard, 1 bob cat, 1 red fox (lovely), a couple of gray foxes, 1 coyote, many deer, 2 ostridges, wild turkeys, copperheads are the worst and most plentiful, a horse, opposums, raccoons, and in the street even a cow and several wild bore. Hmmmmmm that's a lot over the last 10 years. We only have 1 acre. I'm sure I've forgotten something.

Billie in TX

Irina said...

Well I hope he's not interested in your cats at all!
I love your cat George...
he acts very much like my cat Sooty, she loves coming for walks with me (and the chickens follow after) it looks almost like the Musicians of Bremen.
Since we've moved to the countryside 5 months ago, we've had to take both our cats twice to the vet to treat injuries. They've been attacked by another cat ;-(

SJSM said...

And you now have pictures! We live in San Jose near the hills. Our lot is 100x80. During droughts we see bob cats (captured on video cam). We once saw 3 foxes in our fenced back yard! There was an area by the gate they could crawl under. Deer, possums, skunks, raccoons, turkeys are all frequent visitors.

We also have seen camels, kangaroos, and tigers! The last three came with an animal trainer. :). Whenever she had jobs in the Bay Area she stayed at her friends house just behind us. To stretch their legs she would take them for a walk around the neighborhood. The first time we saw one of these animals I was driving a car and the camel appeared at the rise of the hill. I was dumbfounded. I kept saying a, a, a, a. When my daughter popped up with "camel?" I just couldn't come up with the word. We pulled over and talked to the trainer. She would be there for a few minutes so we rushed home to get a camera and came back. My hubby took pictures and the trainer put the camel through a few commands. Having the camel go down and then getting back up was truly a feat of wonder when the trainer explained why and how the bones, muscles and balance worked together.