Surprise visit from one of nature’s desert felines

Posted By Mike Padgett

July 3, 2017

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – A bobcat wandered into our lives 24 hours ago. We were standing in our dining room preparing to tackle a new jigsaw puzzle when the four-legged visitor surprised us.

The desert feline was just a few feet from us, on the other side of the glass patio door. That side of our home has a view of the Arizona desert.

The bobcat didn’t see us standing close to the windows and glass door as it passed. We hurried into the next room where there are more windows and another patio door. We found the bobcat laying on its left side with its back to us. A few minutes later, it changed position and faced the glass. It apparently decided our patio was a safe place for a cat nap.


The bobcat appears to be looking at its reflection in our patio windows. Photo copyright © Mike Padgett


Because they are timid and usually nocturnal, bobcats typically avoid human contact. However, they are attracted to water supplies and small animals in urban areas.

I retrieved my camera from another room and reached for the cord to raise the window shade. Very slowly. The bobcat’s eyes were closed. Its breathing was rapid. The outside temperature was about 100 degrees.

I raised the shade a few feet. I crouched within two feet of the bobcat, separated from it by floor-to-ceiling patio windows and a glass door. The bobcat looked to be about 15 inches tall at the shoulder.

For several minutes, we enjoyed the resting animal’s beauty. But it remained vigilant. Its eyes were mostly closed but it cocked its ears back and forth, listening for danger. Or potential food.

Unseen were large and dangerous claws withdrawn into the fur of its broad paws. The bobcat’s mouth was partly open because it was panting. Its sharp teeth were visible. Its diet consists of rats, rabbits, and other small animals.


The desert cat eventually made eye contact with me after I lowered my camera from my face. Photo copyright © by Mike Padgett


Despite its beauty, the bobcat is wild. We did not want it to make our patio its new home so after an impromptu photo session over 15 minutes, I tapped on the window with my left hand. With my right hand, I kept my camera to my face.

The bobcat opened its eyes. It raised its head slowly. It ignored my camera and remained focused on my moving fingers tapping the glass.

After several seconds, the bobcat raised itself into a sphinx-like pose. I lowered the camera from my face. It moved its eyes from my fingers to my face. We made eye contact. That is when the wild cat slowly stood up and began walking away. It kept its ears cocked backwards, listening for danger.


Realizing it won’t get any rest with an audience, the bobcat decided to leave. Photo copyright © by Mike Padgett

It disappeared around the barbecue at a corner of our home. After a few minutes, I went out to see if it was gone. It was. The 6-foot-high block wall and the metal view fence around our backyard are not obstacles for wildcats and their powerful legs.

Years ago, I stepped out the front door of our previous home and surprised an adult bobcat in the front courtyard. It was standing next to the 4-foot-high courtyard wall. In the bobcat’s mouth was a rabbit. After a few seconds of watching me, the bobcat – with the rabbit still in its mouth – jumped up onto the wall. Then it was gone.

For more information about bobcats, visit the Arizona Game & Fish Department.


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Jul 3rd, 2017

One Comment to 'Surprise visit from one of nature’s desert felines'

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  1. Peg Hodges said,

    Wow! Great pictures, Mike! It is amazing to see wildlife so close to your home but that is the advantage of being so close to the desert. No doubt water and food are in short supply this time of year with the intense heat but this is not the kind of pet you want to make a home on your patio.

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