Saturday, June 4, 2016

Bob the Cat

Jan Emming shared these amazing photo of a new visitor to his desert garden. Jan is Owner and Cacti Wrangler at Destination Forever Ranch and Gardens in Yucca, Arizona.

Jan writes, "The bobcat wandered down my path and paused to look back in my direction, although I don't think he saw or heard me inside behind the closed window. Judging by his, um, anatomy, this appears to be a male. I took a series of photos of him swishing his short tail back and forth, like cats tend to do. The short, black-tipped tail looks like it has been "bobbed" (meaning cut back artificially), and is why we call them bobcats." Jan asks also to note the white amaryllis in bloom in the background of this photo! 
"The tufted black-and-white ears of bobcats are quite distinctive, along with the short black-tipped tail I mentioned earlier. They are generally solitary outside of females rearing their young and have home ranges that range from 3 to 20 square miles, depending upon the habitat quality and prey base. The average range of a bobcat is probably around 4 to 5 square miles (12 to 15 square kilometers) in decent habitat with a good prey base and several denning and sheltering spots. Males have larger ranges than females do, and ranges of the sexes do overlap a bit. Wild animals tend to live for not much more than 7 to 8 years. They can weigh from 20 to 50 lbs (9 to 23 kg), with the larger animals living in more northerly and forested habitats and smaller ones living in deserts, dry mountains, prairies, and scrublands. The natural range of bobcats is most of the continental US and southern Canada down to southern Mexico, with a conspicuous gap in many of the most agricultural Midwestern US states."
"Bobcats are closely related to the more northerly-living lynx. But they are smaller, live in more types of habitat, and are overall quite tolerant of human activites, unlike lynx. As long as a bobcat can find appropriate food and shelter, they can easily live in suburban regions and on the edges of farmland and forest. Dense urban areas and intensive agricultural regions are not as conducive to their survival needs, but otherwise these are adaptable creatures that seem capable of living with humans in at least low numbers."
"The bobcat finished his pre-sunrise drink and wandered back in front of my bedroom window. Before leaving, he paused to spray one of my barrel cacti with his urine. This scent-marking is a clearly territorial behavior to other cats, letting them know that he owns me. Fine with me as long as he eats rabbits and rodents. As a carnivore, I welcome bobcats because they won't show any further interest in my plants. Plus urea is a good fertilizer...."  


  1. Dear Washington Gardener,
    just wanted to tell you that I enjoy reading your blog with its lovely cats and gardens! I too have a garden and two british shorthair cats, though I don´t leave my cats in the garden. I know they would love being in the garden, but since I live in the city I am just too afraid that they would get run over by a car if they were outside.
    All the best,

    1. Thank you, Lisa! I have 2 kitties and also live on an urban neighborhood - one is leash-trained and goes in the garden with me (I still keep an eagle eye on him though). If you ever have pics of your kitties napping amongst inside plants or flowers, please do share!

  2. Dear Washington Gardener,
    back when I had only one cat, named Octavia, I too went with her out with a leash. However, she then seemed very unhappy when I did not find time to go out with her, and she constantly desired to go out. That might be because she had lived at another family´s home before she came to me and she went outside with them. The family told me she would not run away from the garden, but when she was in my garden she would´t just stay there, but would want to go to the neighbor´s gardens as well. Now, where I have a second cat, Rosie, it is a bit easier. I got Rosie from a breeder when she was 14 weeks old and she grew up in the breeder´s house. She does not know what it is like to be outside, so it seems easier for her to stay inside. Having two cats I don´t feel as bad about not letting them outside, because they can at least play with each other while I am in the garden. Nevertheless, I would love to have a garden with a cat- proof fence, because I imagine it is more fun for cats if they have the possibility to go outside. I am sure your cat is happy to go outside with you! I do not have pictures of my kitties napping inside plants, but they have two window- seats from where they can look directly in the garden, observing birds. They love these window-seats and whenever I am in the garden they lie on them, watching me gardening. I took some pictures of my cats when they were sitting on them, looking into the garden. I´d like to share the pictures with you, but I think I can´t insert them in the comment, at least it didn´t work for me.
    Please continue telling us lovely stories about cats in gardens,
    Best wishes,

  3. Thank you for sharing, Lisa. To send photos, email to