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Bobcat Sighted in Sammamish's Hidden Ridge Neighborhood

A Patch user saw a bobcat in her backyard on Sunday, Nov. 11.

Seen any big cats lately?

A Sammamish-Issaquah Patch user sent us a note that she saw a bobcat cross through her Hidden Ridge backyard in Sammamish this morning, Sunday, Nov. 11. 

The cat, which appeared to be alone, had pointy ears, and was spotted with a short, black-tipped tail.  She estimated the animal weighed somewhere around 60-70 pounds.

What wild neighbors have you been seeing around this week?

Bob McCoy November 12, 2012 at 11:56 PM
Thank you for not shooting the bob-tailed cat, or otherwise causing it injury. It might be a mother with kittens. As dorimonsonfan noted, male bobcats weigh about 20 to 30 pounds, and dorimonsonfan's explanation as to why, is spot on. http://wdfw.wa.gov/living/bobcats.html gives good advice regarding bobcats, and the picture near the bottom right of the page shows biologist Rocky Spencer holding a tranquilized cat, giving a good scale for their size. (Rocky died in a helicopter accident while doing research. His dog Mishka, a Karelian Bear Dog, was the first in the KBD program. Bruce Richards, a friend of Rocky's and a WDFW Officer, now partners with Mishka. Spence, one of the Dept's KBD puppies, was named to honor Rocky Spencer.) All cats, felids, are obligate carnivores, and must eat meat; hence a chicken coop appears as a fast food restaurant. It sounds as if the coop has a roof, so other than the harassment, the chickens sound safe. Also, like many felids, bobcats are crepuscular, meaning they're most active at dusk and dawn. With eyes that are about six times more light-sensitive than ours, and designed to detect motion, they are excellent night hunters. Keep pets in from dawn to dusk, or anytime a cat is visiting the area. Of course, there are myriad carnivores out at night that will eat pets, and the typical pet is no match for a wild animal. Arizona has put up an excellent page with advice at http://www.azgfd.gov/w_c/urban_bobcat.shtml. (cont..)
Bob McCoy November 12, 2012 at 11:57 PM
(…cont) As dorimonsonfan noted, yelling at the cat may chase it off. An air horn blast is effective, too. The problem, of course, is to be there when the cat is; try using motion detectors to turn on lights or activate noise makers. A key to avoiding problems is to avoid attractants. Bird feeders attract more than just birds and bears, especially when seed remains on the ground. Pet food dishes, greasy barbeque grills, and similar food-related items, may attract smaller animals that can attract larger animals. Landscaping can also act as an attractant. Water features and shade may invite guests that are fun to see, but not necessarily desired as permanent residents. Unprovoked attacks are extremely rare, and a modicum of caution when a cat is around will forestall problems. In an encounter with any cat, give it room to escape from you. Flattening of the ears, hissing, growling, and even short charges, typically constitute a threat response—the cat is telling you that you are too close for its comfort, and it is prepared to defend itself. The cat may also just sit and stare at you, or ignore you, or walk off. It’s a cat! I’ve uploaded a flyer on pet safety around cougars; it’s the same as for bobcats. When we show tolerance for our wildlife, and we make small changes in our behavior, we help maintain healthier ecosystems. We owe it to our children and grandchildren to maintain this beautiful region, and to leave them a legacy of diverse wildlife.
dorimonsonfan November 13, 2012 at 12:41 AM
Thanks Bob, that's good info. What are your thoughts on a paintball gun? If they associate a loud pop followed by a little sting with my back yard will they be more likely to stay away? I was also thinking of perhaps a live trap and relocation, but it sounds like that would be deadly to nursing cubs in the case of a relocated nursing female. It sounds like fortifying the coup with 1/4" mesh wire might protect the chickens too. A couple of the chickens did get scratched during the attack, but that might have been chicken on chicken wound since they were thrashing about each other in fear.
Jeanne Gustafson November 13, 2012 at 12:58 AM
I think the person eyeballing would agree that her weight estimate could be off, Don. Would the black-tipped tail be more of a distinct clue?
Bob McCoy November 13, 2012 at 07:22 AM
Hello dorimonsonfan, I caught a mistake in my original post--keep pets in from dusk to dawn (night time). Regarding a paint gun, I don't know. When WDFW hazes a cat or a bear, they have dogs, lots of noise-makers, and some rubber pellets. I have seen at least one study showing that cougars do not respond to the sound of a rifle; I don't know whether we can generalize to bobcats. I would think a garden hose and nozzle-jet of water would be as effective as a paintgun. Motion detecting sprinklers are available to deter wildlife. Cats are territorial, so relocation outside their territory is a often a death sentence. When F&W relocates a cougar, there are considerations that determine whether the cat is a good candidate, as well as knowing suitable habitat locations. Additionally, since you have a bobcat nearby, another one will fill its territory, if you remove the current one. Your best bet is to establish limits with this cat, and work out coexistence. The bobcat is hunting rats, mice, rabbits, and occasionally deer, It will take chickens, sheep and goats, and other pets, given an opportunity. It's not a lot of work in this area to deny opportunity, and the rodent and rabbit population reduction is a worthwhile trade-off for the additional effort. Thank you for your thoughtful consideration. Most everyone that has made an effort has established peaceful coexistence.

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