Living With Wild Animals - Bob Cats

This information is from the Arizona Game and Fish Department website:




These bobcat photos were taken by Dove
Valley Ranch residents of the bobcats in their backyards.

Bobcats are common throughout Arizona at all elevations, especially in rimrock and chaparral areas, and in the outskirts of urban areas where food is readily available. Bobcats are generally seen alone, but groups may consist of mating pairs, siblings, or mothers with kittens. Bobcats are most active around sunset and sunrise, and it is not uncommon to find one napping under a shrub in a brushy backyard. Individual bobcats will defend a territory of one to 12 square miles.

Possible Conflicts with Humans and Pets 
If you see a bobcat near your home, there is no need to panic. Bobcats rarely attack people. However, if a bobcat does attack a human, it generally will have symptoms of rabies. Bobcats may be attracted to a yard that has abundant wildlife, domestic birds, small pets, water, and shade or other shelter. Small pets need to be protected from bobcats and other predators. Keep small pets indoors, in an enclosed area with a roof, or on a leash when outside. Domestic birds should be kept in an enclosed area with a sturdy roof (a 6-foot tall fence is not necessarily good protection), and do not spread seed that attracts other wildlife. Do not feed bobcats, as this can encourage them to become too comfortable around humans.

What Attracts Them?

Bobcats may visit an area to find food, water, shelter, or the space they need to live.

  • Food may include birds, rodents, rabbits, small unattended pets, poultry or other domestic birds, and other small livestock.
  • Water in pools, birdbaths, fountains, and pets' water dishes can attract bobcats. They will sometimes defecate in shallow water (such as pools and fountains).
  •  Shelter for bobcats can include rooftops, attics, and the space underneath decks. Other small spaces can make attractive dens also, and bobcats will sometimes rest during the day or bask in the sun. This makes them attracted to thick brush, shade, and unoccupied yards.

What Should I Do?

You may choose to watch and enjoy a bobcat or bobcat family sharing your yard. However, if you have small pets or livestock, you may want to discourage the bobcat from coming onto your property. Remember, your neighbor may think differently, and it is always a good idea to keep wildlife wild.

To discourage a bobcat, immediately:

  • Scare off with loud noises or spray with a garden hose.
  • If the animal is confined, open a gate, have all people leave the area, and allow it to leave on its own. If it is still confined the following day, or trapped inside a residence, contact a wildlife control business  or the Arizona Game and Fish Department.
  • Check for kittens in the area, and if kittens are there, then consider tolerating them for a few weeks until the kittens are large enough to leave the area with their mother.