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.
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):
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.