A few years ago, I was driving in a Connecticut suburb when a bobcat crossed the road in front of me. He was heftier than a house cat, or even a fox, with tufted ears, a short, “bobbed” tail, and a ballsy, street-smart attitude. He stopped in front of me as I was slowing down, and glowered, as if to say “You got a problem, pal?” When I looked suitably chastened, he turned away and strolled onward.
If ever a species was ready to find room for itself in our increasingly urbanized world, the bobcat (Lynx rufus) is it. My encounter to the contrary, bobcats are generally ghosts—solitary, nocturnal, and elusive, slipping through the dark corners of our lives. They’re relatively small, only about 15 pounds for females and 20 for males, which helps them live around us unnoticed. They thrive on the sort of small and medium-sized prey species commonly found in developed areas, including mice, rats, squirrels, and rabbits.
In his 2010 book, Urban Carnivores, Seth Riley, a wildlife ecologist with the National Park Service, called bobcats “perhaps the most adaptable cat species in the Western Hemisphere.” Riley has seen bobcats raising kittens in