Bob the Cat Rips into Your Heart

Wednesday, February 6, 2013 | 2 Comment(s)

This is the text i received from my neighbor yesterday while I was eating lunch in town:

"Just saw this Lynx run through my yard!  What's going on in the neighborhood" 

Attached was this picture:
"Bob?  Bob? Is that you?
His text references his "rabid raccoon sighting" that he told me about from earlier this week that, until i saw the preceding picture,  I figured was mostly one of his drunken hallucinations.  Which is to say that as I marveled the musculature of this incredible feline, I was not only feeling an adrenaline rush from contemplating its imminent danger, but also that of a potentially deranged Ranger Rick roaming our woods.

My 3 textual responses to the neighbor were: "Holy shit, don't you have to call someone about that?!?" "Seriously though, do you call animal control about that?" and  "ps.  bobcat"

His response: "Nah, it didn't seem sick of anything.  It was out quick."  "PS. Lynx"

Me:  "North American lynx is a bobcat."  "That or you saw the first confirmed Canadian Lynx in MA since 1885.  Call the paper."

My utter textual owning of my friend aside, I was in awe of his calm demeanor regarding this matter.   Now, he grew up in these parts, and maybe that explains some of his general malaise regarding big cats in and around the area of his house.  That said, I also grew up with a state forest in my backyard, and every time a bear decided to make a go of it round the residential areas, I can assure you that, at the very least, animal control was called.  My mother does not take too kindly to bears chilling out on our back porch (actually happened).  My guess is that my neighbor would argue that in that case the animal was not "out quick".

I showed this picture to two of my close friends that I was dining with.  To my great surprise, both of their responses were versions of, "awwwww, what a cute kitty."  They expound in some detail about how they would want that bobcat to sit in their lap so they could pet it, love it, and eventually domesticate it.

Feelings about domesticating wild animals aside, I could not believe that this was the reaction I was getting.  These were not hot-head big-talking college-aged friends either.  These were men.  And they were talking about this bobcat like it really was no big deal.

I thought I was being punked.  I looked for Aston.  This is a goddamn BOBCAT, I told them.  That thing will rip you open like the ziplock seal on a plastic bag.  Maybe, MAYBE, bobcats are super cool when you hear about them in Shutesbury or one of the other hill-towns in this area where you expect crazy interactions with wildlife   (Brief aside: I had a young guy come into the bar last week who, while putting up flyers in one of the hill towns and had been tracked for a mile or two, and then attacked, by two coyotes.  On Main Street!!!!!  -- yes he got a free beer.)   As far as I can tell, being blasĂ© about big cats near your homestead is not a long team survival strategy.  Especially if you own dogs.

My friends assured me that the bobcat would be more scared of my pitties than they would be of him.  Which I believe.   That said, were my dogs to pursue the bobcat and force its hand, I fear I would be left with pittie pillow cases.  And that, I can not abide.   Bobcats are not "one tick away from domestication," as my friends were suggesting.  And yet my friends were making me feel like I was neurotic for fearing the feline reaper.

"It's only this big" one of them says, showing me the bread-box sized bobcat of his imagination.

The other friend then interjects, "Wait, wasn't it a bobcat that ripped that ladies face up, like, last week?"

"YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!," I say.  "Thank you."  This is my point.

The cherry of top was when the chef, also a friend, later came out of the kitchen and was shown the picture of the kitty in question.

"Damn, he said, that's some crazy shit.  Their paws are like this big." He, in turn, demarcates what I would deem a head-sized shape.  I agree heartily.   I tell him that our friend's bread-box sized idea of a bobcat could probably use an actual bobcat's claw as a house to live in -- given its diminutive stature.

The picture of the bobcat did not keep me from walking the dogs yesterday.  I am not that overly dramatic about my neuroses.  Yet.  I did walk the pups in the opposite direction of that neighbors house however.   Better to be safe than scar-y.


  1. The frequency with which we saw bears & moose chilling in our neighborhood in Anchorage, AK did not, by any means, ever make us blazé about their danger. I can't even imagine someone looking at a 10-12 ft. moose & saying "awww, wook ad dat widdle guy! He's so cuwte!" Indeed, the biggest danger is to the dogs - kudos for making their safety a priority. :-)

  2. I see it as a great triumph for conservation and wildlife management. Habitat loss and a history of extermination policies has wiped out most of the large carnivores in New England. Until 1968 it was legal to hunt bobcat year round in Massachusetts and a bounty was paid to anyone harvesting a bobcat. They are still a game animal in Mass for which there is a regulated hunting season. The fact that bobcats - and even lynx and wolves in the far north - are making a comeback is great news. It reminds us of the wild planet we actually live on and - hopefully - will encourage us to plan our development and infrastructure more carefully.
    Here are the facts: