The Farm Report: I Don’t Want To Play With This Kitty

I mentioned in a previous post that even after we turned Rocky Raccoon into chicken-killer stew, something came around and killed another of Sara’s chickens.  In fact, it climbed to the top of the hoop-house and ripped open the tarp.

I figured it was yet another raccoon and baited my trap.  The next day, the bait was gone and the trap had been dragged 10 feet from where I’d set it.  So I baited it again, set a heavy concrete block on top so the trap wouldn’t move, and set my trail camera.  The next day, the bait was gone and there were deep scratches in the ground by the opening.  Something had eaten the cat food but still managed to back out of the trap.  The trap is 12″ high and 32″ long, so I figured maybe it was extra-large raccoon or a fox.

When I checked the trail camera, I found that the @#$%ing thing is now refusing to snap pictures after dark, no matter what settings I choose. So I borrowed a trail camera from a co-worker and set the trap again.

Lookie what I saw when I checked the pictures yesterday:

My first thought was, “Oh, great.  Some neighbor’s cat is sniffing around our chickens at night.”

But then I noticed this particular cat seems to be significantly taller than the trap — which, like I mentioned, is 12″ high.  And it seems to be as long as the trap or longer — long enough to stick its snout in and eat the food without getting trapped inside when the spring door is tripped. Hmmm, what breed of cat is … and then I saw this picture:

The picture is dark, of course, but if you look closely, you can see the cat has stripes and spots — kind of like this:

So that would be a bobcat.  I’m pretty sure my 32″ trap isn’t going to snag this little kitty.

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45 thoughts on “The Farm Report: I Don’t Want To Play With This Kitty

  1. Wayne Gage

    How lucky to get the pix. Beautiful cats. I hope you can find a way to discourage the cat without killing.

    Reply
    1. Tom Naughton Post author

      The reinforced coop seems to be doing the trick for now. I won’t try to kill the bobcat unless it figures out how to get to the chickens again.

      Reply
  2. Howard Lee Harkness

    “I won’t try to kill the bobcat unless it figures out how to get to the chickens again.”

    It will.

    The advice I see from the folks who have experience with them: NEVER feed a bobcat. You have fed this one at least twice. You are very likely to have to kill it, unless you can convince it in some other way that there is nothing there it can eat.

    One thing that might work is a motion detector hooked up to a bunch of bright lights.

    Reply
      1. Nick Young

        My co-worker uses motion detector sprinklers to keep deer and rabbits from wrecking his trees and getting into his garden. If it hates water half as much as it’s domesticated feline it will take off. If it happens enough times it may move somewhere else.

        Reply
  3. Don in Arkansas

    Have you called the local game warden? They will sometimes come out and trap nuisance animals. People around here get them to remove nuisance bears pretty regularly.

    Reply
    1. Tom Naughton Post author

      They can kill a deer, so yup, I imagine they can inflict some serious damage on us two-legged creatures as well.

      Reply
      1. Mikey

        I’m sure you know this, but no worries about bobcats attacking humans. They’re famously shy and unlike cougars don’t see us as food. They won’t attack unless they’re cornered. Wouldn’t want the girls wandering outside at night and encountering one, though.

        Reply
        1. Tom Naughton Post author

          Sara has gone out back at night with a flashlight to lock up her chickens after realizing she forgot that chore early in the evening. Seeing the bobcat in the photo will put a stop to that. If she needs to lock up the chicken coop after dark, I’ll be going with her and carrying a shotgun.

          Reply
  4. Chris

    Apparently donkeys and llamas make good guards.

    As bobcats are territorial, if you get rid of one then another one will frequently just take over the territory. But as you havent had one before, this may not be an issue.

    Reply
    1. Tom Naughton Post author

      I’ve heard that about donkeys. Maybe that’s why some of the people in this area have them.

      Reply
      1. Dave

        Nice photos! Cool that you have a local bobcat.

        I’ve heard many recommendations for guard donkeys, e.g., in a flock of sheep. You don’t want to be a critter facing a donkey.

        Reply
  5. Elenor

    Maybe get the girls into llama farming? Apparently “our” govt even gives you tax-payer MONEY to do it! (Cause we need the llama fur?!)

    Reply
      1. Jean

        I wish I was getting a subsidy check for our llamas. Just kidding, but I’m not really in favor of llamas as guards. Yes, they will protect their flock by confronting anything that doesn’t belong in the pasture, but they are quite vulnerable to attacks by packs of neighborhood dogs, coyotes, etc. After nearly losing an expensive alpaca to a pack of three neighborhood dogs and seeing what he went through to recover, I just wouldn’t do it.

        Reply
  6. CeeBee

    Wouldn’t your dogs be enough to keep the bobcat away? We had a little rat-terrier type dog when when we lived in the country and I still remember the night he treed a bobcat. Once that cat got away, I don’t think he ever came back. He was not interested in engaging the dog at all. On the other hand, I know some folks in our area who have flocks of sheep and goats and they also have a couple of llamas to guard them. Maybe sheep-dogs are passe?

    Reply
    1. Tom Naughton Post author

      The dogs are inside a fence and can’t get to the chicken coop. They can wander the back yard at night and often do, but apparently their proximity didn’t deter the big cat. I guess we’ll need to expand their fence and put them on patrol.

      Reply
      1. Mary

        We live in the mountains in the Coast Range in Oregon, and have bobcats and cougar nearby. Both are very smart, but very shy: you probably won’t ever actually SEE your bobcat if he (or she) is full-grown. We’ve seen juvenile bobcats here (frequently), but have only seen adults on our trail cam. Cougar sitings are even more rare.

        The cat will quickly learn where your dogs’ boundaries are (the fencing, I would guess from what you’ve written) and will probably avoid them. These cats, especially the bobcats, don’t seem to like confrontation – they’d rather slip in, get what they want, then slip out again, undetected.

        Good luck with your chickens!

        Reply
        1. Tom Naughton Post author

          The next confrontation, if there is another one, would be bobcat meets electric fence. I suspect that would be the last meeting.

          Reply
  7. Kathy in Texas

    So you put out cat food and a cat came by …………. LOL!

    I’ll get some blowback on this, but that’s ok.

    I’m a live-and-let-live sort of gal (and a serious cat lover to boot) so for me this would be a tough one. With all the vanishing wildlife habitat I have to side with the bobcat for now. I hope you can resolve this without killing it.

    My step-daughter and her family had a miniature donkey when they lived on a few acres and he was a pretty good protector. I know there are ways to repel some animals. I think blood meal repels deer, but they aren’t predators. Black pepper works on domestic cats – just imagine what happens when they go sniffing around. And things like vinegar and ammonia are both offensive and mask other scents.

    Whatever you decide, in the end it’s your property so you don’t owe anyone an explanation on how you resolve this. But I’ll be sad if you have to kill it – after all, it’s just being a cat.

    And totally off topic………

    RIP, Robin Williams.

    Reply
    1. Tom Naughton Post author

      I think the best and most humane solution would be to get more of the property fenced in so the dogs can protect the chickens.

      Reply
  8. Kathy from Maine

    Deer don’t seem to be your problem, but once I started using milorganite (http://www.milorganite.com), I’ve never had an issue with ANYTHING eating my hostas and lilies. It smells like fertilizer when you first put it down, but a day later you don’t smell a thing.

    Reply
  9. Sky King

    Since coyotes are known to be one of their natural enemies, you might want to try coyote urine which can easily be Googled and/or found for sale on Amazon.

    Off topic:

    I was reading this scathing review (Part One: http://thescienceofnutrition.wordpress.com/2014/08/10/the-big-fat-surprise-a-critical-review-part-1/ Part Deux: http://thescienceofnutrition.wordpress.com/2014/06/30/the-big-fat-surprise-a-critical-review-part-2/ ) of Nina Teicholz’s BFS by some guy who goes by the name of “Seth” and was surprised to find he also has an opinion of Fat Head ( http://thescienceofnutrition.wordpress.com/2012/02/19/tom-naughton-is-a-fat-head/ )

    Any thoughts?

    Reply
      1. Tom Naughton Post author

        We always appreciate the suggestions. Chareva reads them too, and we’ve picked up some good ideas from readers.

        Reply
    1. Tom Naughton Post author

      Yeah, someone pointed him out to me before. He went to nutrition school and believes what he was taught. He basically is quibbling over citations, possible interpretations of phrases in journal articles, etc., but doesn’t mount anything resembling a case that the basic thesis of her book — the low-fat diet was based on shoddy science — is incorrect.

      Reply
  10. Tammy

    WOW !! Yeah we have a big house cat not fat, just big. When our cat stretches out he’s 36″ from front tow to back and can actually stretch and swipe things off the edge of the kitchen counter – BUT he doesn’t look anything like that cat !! That guy is definitely not a domestic kitty.

    Reply
  11. Kathy in Texas

    I googled bobcat ’cause that long tail in your picture was bugging me. What I found says the tail is about 5″ long – “bobbed”. I don’t know what you have there, but I don’t think it’s a bobcat. If you find out, let us know.

    Reply
      1. Kathy in Texas

        I see what you mean. I don’t guess you can get him to pose for a nice profile?

        Anyway, looking forward to the rest of the story.

        Reply
        1. Tom Naughton Post author

          I hope the rest of the story is that he stops coming around. Chareva is putting the electric fence around the chicken yard. That should convince him a chicken dinner isn’t worth the trouble.

          Reply
    1. Tom Naughton Post author

      Rascal is alive and well and has assigned me the role of sparring partner. Whenever I walk towards my office in the house, he runs ahead of me, jumps in my chair, and adopts his “En Garde!” position.

      Reply

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