Good thing they didn’t let the bobcat in!

How might you react if you noticed a cat hanging out on your deck, almost opened the door and let it in–and suddenly discovered this unexpected visitor was a bobcat?

My husband told me this adventure after hearing it from his fishing buddy, Nancy, last weekend at the annual Otter Lake Ice Fishing Derby.

He then wrote up the following story for the L’Anse Sentinel, our local weekly newspaper, where he’s editor.

I begged for the story, knowing you readers would also enjoy it.

Without further ado, here’s the bobcat story. Thanks, Barry. You’re a good sport to share.

Hey, it's a bobcat!

Hey, it’s a bobcat!

Helen and Jim Lepola of Watton thought they had a stray or lost house cat hanging out on their deck last week. They spread the word in the neighborhood but nobody seemed to be missing their kitty.

Mail-lady and next door neighbor Nancy Besonen stopped to deliver a package, and in neighborly fashion, was invited in for coffee.

“I looked at it, and the cat had kind of pointy ears. . .you know where this is going, don’t you?” Besonen explained. “Then it turned around and I saw it from the back. It had half a tail!”

Yes, it appears that the friendly feline on Lepola’s deck with the hankering for bird food suet is a bobcat.

Cute little wild kitty...

Cute little wild kitty…

“We had a cat that looked identical to it, only a little smaller,” Helen explained. “This one wanted to come in the house. I don’t know what we would have done with a bobcat in the house!”

When they thought “Stripey” was a local house cat the Lepolas put out a borrowed cat carrier and placed a towel in it. The bobcat has dragged the towel off under a nearby building where it sleeps.

“He was still here tonight,” Helen explained Monday night, Jan. 13, 2014. “He sat on the railing this afternoon.”

The Lepolas called the Michigan DNR. They were told the DNR could live-trap the cat but could only release it on the Lepola’s property. They are now working with the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community Natural Resources Department. KBNRD has told them it could live-trap the curious cat and release it elsewhere.

“I don’t know if he has some problem and has lost his wildness,” Helen Lepola said. “It’s kind of strange to have a bobcat so close. He looks in the window.”

The unusual visitor is garnering international attention.

“Nancy took pictures and I even sent one to Finland. . .they’ve already responded!” Helen noted.

Kathy’s Post Script:  Some of you commenters are already wondering if the bobcat might be someone’s house pet.  This is a possibility, but unlikely.  Bobcats, in the wild, are shy creatures and generally avoid humans.  Here is an article which discusses the question What are the dangers of bobcats to humans?

As for the dangers of humans to bobcats, I’m sure there are many…

I’ve only seen two bobcats in the past 35 years of living in the Upper Peninsula.  Both ran in front of the car in the twilight.

About Kathy

I live in the middle of the woods in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Next to Lake Superior's cold shores. I love to blog.
This entry was posted in January 2014 and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

29 Responses to Good thing they didn’t let the bobcat in!

  1. I would have mistaken it for a domestic cat, as well. Thanks Barry for sharing the story with Kathy and with us! LOVED it!

    Hugs from Ecuador,

  2. Elisa says:

    oo maybe someone had a ‘pet’? if it was, it might not be ‘wild’ enough to hunt and things…maybe animal rescue? the rehab kind? they could watch it and release it, if it can

  3. Reggie says:

    As I’m completely unfamiliar with bobcats, pardon my ignorance: if this appeared to be such a friendly one, could it have become an affectionate and cuddly ‘housecat’?

  4. Oh, I enjoyed this…though I worry for the bobcat. We’ve had a couple possible sightings here in the last dozen years, but it is generally believed that we do not have bobcats on Beaver Island at this time. Thanks, Kathy!

  5. That’s a very cute story! I can see how some one would mistake the bobcat for a stray housecat.

  6. rita kowats says:

    It feels like something mystical going on here!

  7. lisaspiral says:

    He is a cutie, but isn’t he just a little larger than you’d think for a stray? I like this story as an example of “we see what we expect to see”.

  8. Oh how FUN to feature one of Barry’s stories — I love it!

    When our son was about 5 (he’s 30 now), we were camping on Palomar Mountain in southern California. Just before bedtime, I took him into the women’s restroom with me. As we walked, a bobcat walked out just as nonchalantly as you please. And no, we didn’t stop to pet the kitty…

  9. john says:

    I propose a test. Leave out on the deck one of Nancy’s fish and a bowl of Purina Cat Chow. If said bobcat (or robertacat) eats the fish, stick with the DNR. If said cat eats the cat chow, call the Copper Country Humane Society. Those ladies have been chasing feral cats all over L’Anse for the last year. I would love to see the look on that little lady’s face when she sees that kitty in her trap.

  10. Carol says:

    How can anything that looks so cuddly be a danger? I know, really I do, but it makes my heart go soft nevertheless.

  11. How exciting to see a bobcat up close! My favorite animal sighting is to see a fox. Thanks for the story and pictures, Kathy!

  12. Connie T says:

    It looks just like a cat.

  13. Brenda Hardie says:

    Thank you for sharing Barry’s story! What an enjoyable adventure—and so close! The bobcat looks beautiful but I wonder if he/she is ok? Seems unusual for it to be so close to humans. Hopefully the KBNRD will take care of this special creature in a humane way so no harm comes to it. ♥

  14. sybil says:

    How exciting and yet worrisome that it doesn’t display the appropriate shyness. I didn’t realize how much they do resemble house cats.

  15. Robin says:

    I would have mistaken it for a domestic cat as well. I’ve never seen a bobcat before. It’s a beautiful creature. Thank you to you and Barry for the story. 🙂

  16. Thanks to Barry for allowing you to share his story. Knowing me, I would have let the “cat” in. He/she looks cold and hungry.

  17. debyemm says:

    My VERY favorite wild creature is the Bobcat. I even have a sweatshirt with a very nice image of one on the front that people often admire. We do have them here but I’ve yet to see one on my daily hikes in the forest, though I did find a skull once, that was clearly from a Bobcat and it remains one of my most treasured finds. What a great story. My boys all enjoyed hearing it read out loud and seeing the pictures. Thanks !!

  18. Beautiful cat and cute story. I think it might have been rasied by someone and then turned out to fend for itself. Poor cat. I hope that it soon adapts to to living free it it had been reared by humans.

  19. dorannrule says:

    Wow! What a story and thanks so much for sharing it. The bobcat is very handsome and healthy looking and I too would have mistaken him for a house cat. Yikes!

  20. lucindalines says:

    Beautiful creature, but so scary to read all of your comments and know that so many are not sure of the dangers. I think of the Peanuts cartoons where the neighbor cat claws apart Snoopy’s dog house because that is what a human face would look like with such a cute little kitty in the house. I would prefer to be the blind lady in the commercial who lets the raccoon in the house, at least that would only be a matter of several broken dishes. Love the story and tell Barry thanks from South Dakota for sharing.

  21. Dana says:

    Happy to hear that nobody was hurt or otherwise endangered, bobcat included (and especially)! I hope the bobcat can find its way back home to the wilderness…

  22. Heather says:

    Love this story, Kathy 🙂 You know how I would adore having a furry visitor on my back deck! Hope things end well for this fella. Or gal.

  23. me2013 says:

    I would have fed it (but I feed everything) and probably let it in for a warm. It does look like a house cat.

  24. emaclean says:

    Looks to me like that bobcat is ready to have kittens! Maybe that’s why she wanted in the house. Although it’s probably the wrong time of year for kittens, but look at her belly! Hope it finds it’s way home. Great story!

  25. Kathy says:

    Thank you for reading and sharing your thoughts, every one! Both Barry and I enjoyed reading your comments. As for us, if a bobcat appears on our porch, we won’t be letting it in!

  26. sonali says:

    Lucky cat in the Snow, is all I can say.. she may do no harm to you and your surroundings, might just enjoy herself in the white world 🙂

  27. Stacy says:

    I want to see one!! (I bought Norm a trail camera for Christmas – no luck capturing these – normally – elusive creatures yet.) ❤

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