Suburban wildlife is NOT out to get you

If you live around Dallas, you probably saw the recent news story about bobcats prowling through Plano. Then again, if you live around Dallas, you’ve probably seen a bobcat with your own two eyes! The big kitties are roaming through a network of underground pipes, and though happening upon on one can be startling, we at LazyPaw Animal Hospitals want to broadcast the word that despite their wild appearance, bobcats are perfectly safe. These feral felines aren’t out to harm you, your kids, or your pets- They want rabbits.

It can be surprising to stumble upon a bobcat, but when you look up from your Facebook feed on a neighborhood walk and see a mighty kitty, there’s no reason to become a cowardly lion. Bobcats aren’t interested in hurting or eating you, your kids, or your pets. They like to eat rabbits, rodents, and that’s about it.

I was out walking Elfie. Just outside LazyPaw Animal Hospital last week when we noticed this beauty of a mommy bobcat pawing across the street. She wasn’t interested in hunting me or Elfie, she was only intent on, as Elmer Fudd likes to say, “hunting wabbits.” She took a graceful leap into the grass, and an adult hare shot into the street. Mamma bobcat scored a dinner, and all was well for her, me and Elfie.

I see this mama-bear bobcat her alpha male around LazyPaw and Stewart Creek at least twice a week, notice the Police Station in the background. They are wary of us and keep their distance. They have never once stalked us or shown any aggressive tendencies- unless of course you are a rabbit.

Elfie and I sat quietly and watched her catch dinner. I have sat in a drive through line longer than it took her catch this bunny.

It’s true that Dr. Hunter and I have stitched up a several dogs from bobcat wounds, but they were defensive wounds—the dogs started the fight by chasing, cornering or antagonizing the big cats. The dogs were all large; we have never once seen a smaller dog like a Yorkie or Maltese with bobcat attack wounds. When little dogs bark and posture to a bobcat, the cats gladly drift back into the tall grass and wander away.

Dogs and bobcats have a mutual, hereditary respect for one another. They don’t see each other as prey. Why would a bobcat want to go to the risky hassle of taking down a dog when noshing on rabbits and rats is such easy work?

That said, you should always keep yourself, your kids, and your pets extra safe by respecting bobcats. Never let your dogs roam off leash, or they might be tempted to antagonize a bobcat and get in a fight for their trouble. Don’t let kids throw things at the wild felines or taunt them. If you notice a bobcat, stay calm, be cool, and it will be on its way in no time. They’re only interested in rabbits and rodents, not you!

If you’re interesting in reading more about bobcats, check out this great info page from Defenders of Wildlife

Founded in 2005 by husband and wife team Dr. Brent Bilhartz and Dr. Julaine Hunter, LazyPaw Animal Hospital in Frisco, Texas is a different kind of animal hospital. We are veterinarians without distraction, and ours is a culture of genuine care.

Brent Bilhartz

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