By Muriel Bristol | May 24, 2018
Boots the cat met a bobcat in his backyard on Park Place in Milton last Tuesday (May 22).
Nancy West was in her kitchen in the early Tuesday afternoon when she heard what she thought was her cat Boots howling or hissing out back. She went to check, expecting some spat between Boots and a neighbor’s cat. She looked out the back door to see a bobcat at the foot of her back stairs. He saw her but made no attempt to move.
She turned for her camera and in so doing realized that Boots was hunkered on the porch rail nearest the house, She scrapped the camera idea and opened the door to get her cat. The bobcat turned and ran off as soon as she opened the door.
My Boots is okay but obviously nervous, his little heart was beating really fast when I scooped him up. He stayed very close to me for some time afterwards. Never had that occur in the 32 years I have lived here. The day before Boots had acted nervous when he went out in the am, sniffing everything and looking out in all directions from the front porch. He came in shortly after and continued to act nervous for quite a while, staying very close to me. Wonder if the Bobcat had been there that day.
According to NH Fish & Wildlife Department, bobcats are the most common wildcat in North America. Males are larger than females but, on average, they measure 19-22″ in height at the shoulder, 28-49″ in length, and weigh between 15-35 pounds. They have a characteristic “yellowish-brown or reddish-brown (more gray in winter) color with indistinct dark spotting and streaks along its body. … Their upper legs have dark horizontal bands. The face has thin, black lines stretching onto broad cheek ruff and their ears are tufted.” Their name derives from their short “bobbed” tail, typically 4-7″ in length with 2 or 3 black bars and black tip above and white beneath.
Bobcats live in scrubby or broken forests (hardwood, coniferous or mixed), swamps, farmland, semi-deserts, scrubland, and rocky or bushy arid lands. Their home ranges vary in size depending on sex, season and prey distribution and abundance. Bobcats mark their territory with urine, feces, anal gland scent, and scrapes on physical markers, such as trees. Individuals have one natal den and other auxiliary dens for protection located throughout their home ranges. Dens can be found in caves, hollow logs, brush piles, rock ledges, or stumps (NH Fish & Wildlife, n.d.).
Bobcats are predators that usually follow consistent hunting paths to prey on snowshoe hares and cottontails. However, their diet also includes mice, squirrels, woodchucks, moles, shrews, raccoons, foxes, domestic cats, grouse and other birds, reptiles, porcupines and skunks. The bobcat is capable of fasting during periods of limited food availability, but will occasionally kill large prey, such as deer and livestock, during harsh conditions (NH Fish & Wildlife, n.d.).
Ms. West reported that the bobcat she saw “looked be about 15-18 lbs., possibly as much as 20 lbs. It definitely had the bobbed tail, which I could see clearly when he turned to run off toward the woods out back. He was kind of spotted brownish and black. with some white on its chest.”
I have had several bear visits over the years. Most recently one knocked down the metal pipe I have a bird feeder on. Several weeks earlier a bear was seen at my mailbox by a neighbor early one morning before dawn . That day another neighbor told me a bear had been in their yard. Earlier in the spring there were several sighting of bears close by (Hare Road, Governors Road and Route 153 in Milton). I have taken pictures of bears in my yard several times in years past. I sure wish I was able to get one of that Bobcat, but I had to rescue my Boots.
Boots had a narrow escape. He showed good tactical sense. He had his back to a wall and had positioned himself up on a rail midway between the back door (and the potential of rescue) and a leap to the ground with access to several different options of flight. He did not have to use any of his nine lives.
New Hampshire Fish and Wildlife Department. (n.d.). Bobcat – Lynx Rufus (Felis Rufus). Retrieved from https://wildlife.state.nh.us/wildlife/profiles/bobcat.html
Wikipedia. (2018, May 17). Bobcat. Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bobcat