The last time I reported on bobcats at Dyess AFB was over a year ago. Yesterday I had the unique opportunity to witness the personal grooming habits of a bobcat hidden in dense riparian habitat. With snow still covering most of the area at Dyess, the ground was well saturated as I walked into a thick stand of trees and underbrush. I wasn’t trying to be particularly quiet; as I pushed through some brambles and branches, a movement caught my attention. Like a camera lens, my eyes were focusing in the direction where movement occurred, and it took me a couple of seconds to realize the movement I saw was close and that it was a bobcat! The bobcat was in the middle of taking care of the call of nature, so it was immobilized. I was probably about 20 feet away from the cat and froze (heart rate shot up, body tensed, brain said â€œget out.â€). Another side of the brain said, â€œGET A PICTURE!â€
By now the cat had finished its business and stared at me. It looked as if it was trying to figure out if it should stay and call my bluff, turn and run, or step forward and terrorize me. For a second or two, the cat leaned forward as if to come my way. I brought the camera up to my face, focused and slowly squeezed the shutter button thinking if I had too, Iâ€™d throw the camera at the charging cat. I had multiple layers on; false sense of security, huh?
Then the cat s-l-o-w-l-y turned away from me (domestic cats move very slowly and deliberately when one breaks off from another in a showdown) and s-l-o-w-l-y walked away. It thought I was the aggressor. Thatâ€™s when I squatted down and started taking more pictures. The first picture was taken at 12:51; the last picture (which youâ€™ll see later) was taken at 13:16. This cat let me photograph it for over 25 minutes. This isnâ€™t an exaggeration. My camera records the time on each photo.
The above photo was taken right after the cat finished its business and realized I was there. In good kitty fashion, he pawed at the wet leaves to cover his business. Then he slowly moseyed (redundant, I know) a little further from me. I thought he was outta there for sure. But to my amazement, he began to preen (uh, heâ€™s not a birdâ€¦so I guess he groomed). I repositioned myself for a better angle and thus you see the Bobcat In Nature Gallery.