A Bobcat Tale

Bobcat in California, Point Reyes

Bobcat in California, Point Reyes

So named for its stubby, bobbed tail, the bobcat is the most abundant wild cat in the United States.  A small wild cat, they are twice the size of a domestic house cat, usually about 35-40 inches long.


Stealthy and solitary, Lynx rufus hunt primarily in the twilight hours, but can be seen at all hours of the day and night.  An adaptable species, they have the greatest range of all native North American cats.  Their diet consists of rabbits, birds, mice, squirrel, even insects; but they also hunt mammals bigger than themselves, like deer.  Their powerful deathblow is an impressive pounce from 10 feet away.


In my earlier days of hiking, I had a fear of bobcats.  Then one day in a park visitor center I saw a stuffed bobcat and was surprised at its small size.  I realized it would not tear my heart out and in fact, it was not that different in size than some of my friends’ well-fed pets.  From that moment on I decided I would like to see this wild cat, I was no longer afraid of it.  Before the end of that day, I saw a wild bobcat on the trail.  Since then, bobcat always reminds me to understand my fears.


Photo credit:  Athena Alexander

23 thoughts on “A Bobcat Tale

  1. When you can decide you want to see a bobcat and then see one before the end of the day: that’s good critter karma! Would love to see a bobcat in the wild. (Maybe I will today!)

  2. I think it was 3 years ago I saw 4 young bobcats walking along the side of a creek near my backyard, then went across a road and continued following the path of the creek.
    I followed them for about 100 yards and shot some pictures (not very good because the foliage)
    Then called the Animal Control Soc. and the person in charge was very excited and told me I was the luckiest person, during his 30 plus years in the Animal Soc. the most he’d seen was 2 cats together. He said not to worry, they’re just passing by, the follow the creek path every year, they keep themselves away from the people and migrate to woods areas. He asked me for pictures. I had never seen more that one before. Thanks Jet! 🙂

    • Wow, that was a lucky day, HJ, and great that you have photos of it too. It always feels special to see even one, but FOUR is astounding! Thanks for your story. 🙂

  3. What a wonderful lesson and I can see from the comments that you’ve inspired others…but I would stay >10 feet away if I were you…just outside “pouncing” distance!

    • I like that advice, especially coming from someone who bicycled across America. Lots of fears to overcome on that route! Many thanks, and cheers, to you, Bill. 🙂

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