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Bobcats at front door of southwest Calgary home spur concern for pets, kids

WATCH ABOVE: Some home-owners in a south west neighbourhood want a family of bobcats removed from their area because they’re becoming aggressive. Global’s Tony Tighe reports.

CALGARY – People living on Calgary’s Havenhurst Crescent S.W. are worried about a family of bobcats who’ve been seen in the area. The animals are causing concern for the safety of small pets and children, and residents are wondering why Alberta Fish and Wildlife officials haven’t done anything about the animals.

Residents said a mother cat and three kittens have been wandering through their yards all summer. There haven’t been any serious incidents, but there are reports the cats are getting more curious and aggressive.

Bobcat Calgary August 2015
Katherine Reiffenstein, who lives in Calgary’s southwest, took pictures of the four cats looking through her front door window on Aug. 29, 2015. Submitted by Katherine Reiffenstein

Pam Derowin said she let her pet beagle dog out in the backyard on Saturday, and the mother cat later approached it, hissed and swiped at it. The dog wasn’t injured, but Derowin is worried about what could happen.

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“I can’t let her outside, I can’t by herself, because I’m afraid of what this lynx is going to do to her,” said Derowin. “If she comes in between one of those kittens and the mother, she’s going to attack it. So I’ve had to leave her at my parents’ house.”

Bobcat Calgary August 2015
Katherine Reiffenstein, who lives in Calgary’s southwest, took pictures of the cats looking through her front door window on Aug. 29, 2015. Submitted by Katherine Reiffenstein

Katherine Reiffenstein, who lives across the street, took pictures of the four cats looking through her front door window.

Neighbours have called Fish and Wildlife officials to remove the animals, but the province said bobcats (often mistaken for the similar-looking lynx, which belong to the same Lynx genus) are not considered a public safety concern.

Spokesperson Brendan Cox said there have been no reports of a bobcat “going after someone or being aggressive.”

But residents on the street say if the cats are acting so curious now, they should be moved.

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Instead of removal, Fish and Wildlife said they like to educate homeowners on how to prevent attracting the cats or scaring them away. The department offers the following tips:

  • Remove birdfeeders from your property as they attract the smaller mammals that bobcats prey on;
  • Close off any open spaces underneath your shed, deck, stairs or anywhere else that might provide shelter for a bobcat;
  • Motion-activated lights may help scare bobcats away at night;
  • Keep smaller pets indoors or watch them closely when outside;
  • Keep pets on a leash when walking them;
  • Feed your pets inside;
  • Put your garbage out the morning of pickup, not the night before.

Homeowner Penny Wight didn’t know the cats were in the neighbourhood until she was told by Global News, but said she’ll be making some changes in her backyard.

“They’re looking for food and water, and I have all those things in my backyard as I speak,” she said.

Anyone with concerns can phone the Calgary District Fish and Wildlife office during business hours at 403 297-6423 and ask to speak with an officer.

Bobcat Calgary August 2015
Katherine Reiffenstein, who lives in Calgary’s southwest, took pictures of the cats looking through her front door window on Aug. 29, 2015. Submitted by Katherine Reiffenstein