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Thursday, October 29, 2015

National Cat Day - My Trail Cam Cat Photos

I read that today is National Cat Day so I wanted to share some new bobcat mother and kitten photos plus some of my favorite wild cat photos from the past year. If you don't have much time, just look at the pictures - I tried to pick out the best ones!

Just the other early morning, the mother bobcat and her kittens passed a trail camera where they've never been before. The mother arrived first.

Here's a closeup of her. She is scent marking. That involves kicking backward once with each hind paw while urinating or defecating into the scrape marks. In this case, she urinated.

Just as she finished, her kittens arrived and dove for the spot that their mom had marked.

As Mom departed, she seemed to notice the trail camera and paused to look at it while her kittens lagged behind.

Then, mom moved along, and the kittens continued to roll in their mom's scent.

A few seconds later, one of the kittens sprinted after mom while the other remained behind.

Suddenly, the solo kitten realized that he'd been left behind. He looked up and sprinted away so fast that the camera couldn't record it!

That evening, mom headed out, past the same camera, to hunt for food for the family.
The location of the mother and kitten bobcats is exciting. It's in an area that I know extremely well, and I can even visualize where the mother might have stashed the kittens. We might get to see a lot of them in the coming days (but I won't go anywhere near the possible den site because it would disrupt the family).

In honor of National Cat Day, I thought I'd also share my favorite wild cat photos from the past year. The first one was of the same mother bobcat and her two kittens back in August. I think it's my favorite all-time bobcat photo taken by my trail cams.

For mountain lions, my cams have captured a lot of photos that I've liked over the past year. I've captured more photos of interactions between mother mountain lions and their kittens than ever before.

In this case, a mother lion and her kitten passed my trail camera. The kitten noticed it. This was the last photo before he pounced on it, and knocked it so it was pointing at the ground. He made me laugh when I looked at the photos later!

Also, about a year ago, the same mother mountain lion and her kitten played right in front of my trail camera.

Finally, mom got worried about something, and the play session ended.

This spring, a mountain lion family passed through our neck of the woods, and I was awed to see three long lithe tails in one photo. The mother mountain lion had done an amazing job of raising two kittens who looked close to the point of becoming independent.

Then, this year, we have been so lucky to get many glimpses of a mother mountain lion who has two young kittens in our area. Here is the mother...

And, it was a true treasure to get photos of her kittens. Here is my favorite (with mom's tail in the right of the photo):
I believe that kitten was less than 2 months old. The kittens have not appeared in front of the camera since that day. I'm not worried about them because the mother mountain lion has appeared going to and fro secluded areas frequently. No doubt, she's tending to her well-hidden kittens.

Last but not least, there's a "mountain lion spot" in a small clearing with a big old Ponderosa Pine in the middle of it. For the past 15 years, there have always been mountain lion "scrapes" (like the bobcat made in the first two photos of this post) and mountain lion scat around the tree. The first time I noticed all the signs of mountain lions there, I freaked out. I wasn't yet experienced with living with mountain lions, and I believed the sensational hype like what I'd read in the book "Beast in the Garden". In fact, I now believe that mountain lions watch me regularly, and they let me go about my business peaceably.

To make a long story short, I remembered the "mountain lion spot" when I got my first trail camera, and I put it there. Although there are sometimes long quiet periods, it has turned out to be a great place to get lion photos.

And here is the grand finale - my favorite mountain lion photo from my trail cams of all time.
Happy National Cat Day!


  1. They're all grand! I love them all!! It's pretty cool that the lions let you do your thing just like you let them do theirs.

  2. Those photos are so awesome! Happy National Cat Day!

  3. Happy National Cat Day to all your cats there!!! That last shot really is beautiful.

  4. It's just so amazing you get to see that!

  5. Happy National Cat Day beautiful big kitties!

  6. Oh my goodness!! They are awesome pictures. They are beautiful animals!! I didn't know it was National Cat Day :)

  7. Love the playful photos - and the last one, of course!!

  8. Love the playful photos but that last photo is just awesome!
    Mr Bailey, Hazel & Mabel

  9. Great pictures, I love the one just before the cat knocked the camera down. He/she was looking right at you!

    Anne and Ziggy

  10. These are all just absolutely amazing, and I love how you describe what is going on in the photos!

  11. OMD!!!!!!! OMC!!!!!! I LOVES THEM ALL!!! I guess I have to pick the Bobcat ones, cause we don't see many of them around here (I knows there around the foothills, butts they tend to stay there, unlike the mountain lions, which are a lot bolder!). I agree, that last one is the bestest!
    Ruby ♥

  12. What wonderful captures to celebrate Nat'l Cat Day with!!

  13. Of course, we love the kitten photos. Such a privilege to share their world. They obviously don't worry about your scent around the place. They seem so relaxed.

  14. Every one is so stunning, but you did save the very best till last. Really, our cats here at home are just smaller versions, I wonder what it would be like to hear a lion purr?? Happy National Cat Day .

  15. Thanks to you for going through all your great "cat" pix. I enjoyed every one, but you DID save the best for the last!

    Cheers and hugs,


  16. Such great photos. We love the last one best!

  17. Love love, all of them. Those are the best kind of cat photos. It's so sad they have those collars on though.

  18. Oh wow!!! Beautiful photos of those cats!!

  19. That last photo is amazing. No wonder it is your favorite one.

  20. You get some amazing cat images, KB, and you know I love all of them! I think my favorite today may be the first one of the series where the mama lion and youngster were playing and relaxing.
    I thought of you yesterday when I saw two wildlife cam pictures of a Snow Leopard in the wild, rolling. I saw it on twitter and retweeted it, and if you are on twitter, it would be worth a look. :)

  21. Wonderful, KB. Thanks, as always, for sharing them. Your words really remind me how much patience, work and LOVE this kind of photography takes - how you would have years and years worth of photos (I can't even imagine how many shots) to get a few gems like that.


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