Cats, Kittens and Bobcats

Cats, Kittens and Bobcats

Nancy Bryans, Writer, Teen Scene Editor, Production Assistant

My enjoyment of cats began when I first walked outside and gazed upon cats and kittens sunning themselves on our porch. Their silky hair and plump shapes beckoned my small hands to pat their fine fur coats. Giggles of surprise erupted by their sudden purring. Each cat seemed to want my attention, keeping both of my hands busy patting and caressing the lovely felines. Our family cats were not house cats; my mother did not approve of indoor animals. She had been frightened as a child by someone tossing a stuffed toy animal, hitting her in the face. She enjoyed animals of all kinds outdoors from a distance.

One afternoon before my nap, I found a kitten and smuggled it into my bedroom. When I awoke, I dressed myself, picked up the kitten to take it outdoors to its mother but a kitten “call of nature” occurred, besmirching my outfit. Years washed that naughtiness from my mother’s memory but she was not surprised by my growing collections as an adult of pets, especially cats.

When I moved to Arizona, I anticipated seeing bobcats in the wild. Neighbors said bobcats hunted rabbits on our neighborhood golf course. Each dawn as I strolled along the golf course prior to play, I kept my eyes open for wildlife, especially bobcats.

Early one day after my golf course trek, I walked onto my street to go home and heard loud noises from workers unloading metal equipment. Out of the corner of my eye between houses, I spotted a bobcat with huge paws padding its way in my direction from the golf course. I stood still. The bobcat stopped, looked up at me, and down the street to see what caused the racket. The bobcat sat on her haunches beside me viewing the action. I could have patted her luxurious fur but I didn’t dare; I simply admired the bobcat’s beauty. With her curiosity satisfied, she stood, swished her bobbed tail and sauntered back to the golf course. I walked in my house, cherishing my close encounter with a bobcat.

During mating season, I observed a male bobcat near a tee box attempting to climb a pine tree to impress a female bobcat who seemed disinterested in his antics. Then, while walking a cart path one morning before play, movement caught my attention. Bobcats with a litter of kittens were resting in the shade of mesquite trees beside a retaining wall. I paused, observing the bobcat family observing me. A few days later, a mother bobcat nursed her kittens under an orange tree on my back patio. One summer, a teenage male bobcat appeared on my back patio. He saw my watching him from the doorway as he strutted around my patio as if posing for a photo shoot. Showcasing his agility, he leapt onto my courtyard wall and rested in the shade of a lemon tree, dangling his legs over the wall. It may have been that male bobcat who, taunted by a mockingbird, swatted the bird, knocked it out of the air, picked it up and with the bird in his mouth, climbed the mountain beyond my house to enjoy his fast food dinner.

Bobcats seem tame, almost like domestic house cats, but they are wildcats and unpredictable. Like all wild animals, they are best admired and viewed with caution. Our intrusion upon wildlife habitats limits their freedom and they are helpless to stop further encroachment from human development. It is incumbent upon us to preserve their remaining habitats to ensure wildlife survival, including survival of beautiful bobcats.

Images by Nancy Bryans