I was already getting hurriedly to my feet when she qualified that assessment. "No, they're bobcat kittens!" I reached for my camera and put on the telephoto zoom as rapidly as possible, then made my way to the patio door. Sure enough, there were three bobcat kittens exploring the area. As their mother kept an eye on them, periodically peering around the corner, they hopped on the scratching post left behind from when Thing Two became an outdoor cat, pawed at the screen, stepped on the shell of Max the tortoise, who had recently taken up residence on the patio -- perhaps because of the bobcats in the yard -- and then ambled over to inspect the Crocs I keep on the patio.Because I had to shoot through the not-very-clean glass of the patio door, which also confounded the autofocus on my camera, it was hard to get decent shots. I posted the best to Facebook already, as those of you are my friends over there probably noticed. This is the funniest of the bunch and the only one to show all three baby bobcats clearly.
Kim and Skylar left on their mother-daughter San Diego trip Saturday evening. They would ask me whether I'd seen the bobcats again every time they called. Kim was concerned that she might have spooked the mother by going out in the backyard to look for a shovel. But it was hard for me to check, since I didn't want to compound the problem if the bobcats were still there by making the mother too aware of their presence. Yesterday, however, I went out on the patio to feed Max his daily ration of organic greens and strawberries and decided to peek around the corner. And there was one of the baby bobcats, playing near the solar screen that fell off the bedroom window a while back, with its siblings obviously poking back at him from the other side.
As far as I can tell, the bobcats are still in the yard. I imagine the little ones will soon be able to get over the wall that surrounds our property -- assuming that they can't do so already -- and will then be on their way. But I also know that there's a good chance that at least one of them will remain a regular visitor to our yard, since it's safe and adjoins what Kim refers to as the "salad bar", i.e. the retention basin in which the bobcat's favorites foods, especially rabbit, cavort in abundance. Even if we don't see them again, though, I will always feel blessed to have witnessed these creatures up close. Just thinking about them puts a smile on my face.