Possumhaw: Here kitty, kitty



Shannon Bardwell



"Rob mimicked the sound of an injured mouse...that worked like a charm, turning the cat on a dime."  


-- Brenda Potts-Huntingnet.com  




There's the Bobcat "One tough animal"- advertised as a compact, hardworking construction machine. There's the Sebastopol basketball team's bobcat mascot; then there's the bobcat that was spotted across the road from my driveway. I received the bobcat's photograph and forwarded it on to my wildlife biologist brother who said, "That's one large bobcat" 


We have a lot of wild critters out here in the Prairie but none have unnerved me like the report of a bobcat across the road. A few years back there was another bobcat sighting nearby. That bobcat was thought to be roadkill but on further examination the fellow had a bullet wound. I thought the bobcat in the road was a rarity. Perhaps not.  


Bobcats are known to be elusive, solitary and territorial, so I wasn't concerned for myself but there was Harry and Wilhelmina. Sam said he didn't think bobcats would attack a domestic cat. I set out to research. The thought was a bit terrifying. 


Sure enough bobcats feast on mice, moles, rabbits, squirrels, birds, turkeys, chickens, fawns and young deer -- not cats or at least rarely. Bobcats resist tangling with something that will fight back. This was some relief and perhaps the reason we'd noticed a decline in the squirrel population of late. Bobcats can go for long periods without eating at all and then gorge themselves. The predators of bobcat kittens include coyotes, eagles, owls, foxes. Human hunters are a threat to adult bobcats.  


Bobcats are not considered nuisance animals but furbearing and subject to regulations. Bobcat hunting season normally runs from November to the end of February. It's not easy to find a bobcat that doesn't want to be found; however, they can be called with a distress signal. Bobcats have excellent eyesight. They prefer to live in farmland or pineland or across the road from me here in the Prairie. The average length is 36" and weigh 15-20lbs though some get much larger. Bobcats can run at about 30mph. Comparatively, I can run about 3.5mph on the treadmill. They typically hunt at twilight prowling just before dark and at sunrise. Our neighboring Prairie bobcat was seen around 9am.  


After reading bobcats were unlikely to attack house cats, I saw a post where a man heard a cat hollering and looked out the window to see a bobcat carrying off Yoda, his cat, with its head in its mouth. The daring soul dashed out and kicked the bobcat that dropped Yoda, then the bobcat ran into the man's garage. Regretfully he had to shoot the bobcat but turned it in to authorities who said it was quite unusual as the bobcat looked healthy.  


Oddly enough in Mississippi you can own your own pet bobcat with proper licensing and insurance. The internet advertises businesses selling bobcat kittens. There are 4 states with no exotic pet laws at all. Alabama is one of them. You can also buy "wild game meats" including bobcat stew meat and hind legs for $49.99 (16 oz) to $199.99 (5lbs). I'm thinking this might be bordering on too-much-information. 



Shannon Rule Bardwell is a Southern writer living quietly in the Prairie.


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