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A close encounter with beautiful bobcat
Odds are the disabled pigeon living in a barn on Dairy Road in Westsyde is no more.
Remains of a pigeon were found outside the barn earlier this week, a day before Katie Britton and her landlady discovered a bobcat inside the barn.
And, for the recent immigrant to Canada — and Kamloops — it was quite the sight to see, one she has written about on her blog, outsyderadventures.com, for her friends and family back in England to read.
It was the first time Britton has seen one of the big cats, alerted to it by her landlady, who had seen the creature earlier on Tuesday, Jan. 14, walking through the five acres of land she owns.
Britton went out with her camera, planning to shoot photos of any footprints the animal left and use them to confirm its identity.
Instead, when she entered the barn, she confronted the large brown furball staring back at her.
Britton said throughout that encounter and one about an hour later, the animal seemed relaxed and calm and didn’t react as she took its picture.
Indentations and signs of rustling in a pile of sawdust were taken as signs the cat had made itself a bed; on Wednesday, Jan. 15, there was no sign of any change on the “bed” and the animal was gone from the barn.
Britton and her husband use a stealth-camera — similar to what hunters would use to record wildlife movement in areas — to track the animal and had no recordings of it on Wednesday.
For a former police officer who said in her homeland “you could never find a piece of land that didn’t have 10 people on it,” living in Kamloops has been a daily learning experience in being surrounded by wildlife and space.
“We haven’t had our first bear encounter, on foot at least,” Britton said, “but, we’ve seen them when we were in the car.”
Britton is pretty sure there’s been a coyote on the property recently as well, as evidenced by the tattered ear the landlady’s dog received in a fight with another animal.
Glen Grant, general manager of the B.C. Wildlife Park, said there have been several bobcat sightings in the Westsyde area, as well as other parts of the Interior, recently. He speculated the heavy snowfall on higher ranges may be forcing the cats down to find food.
There are two bobcats being treated in the park’s rehabilitation centre; a third was badly injured and had to be euthanized.
He said while bobcats appear to be not much more than big fluffy felines, they’re dangerous. One of the staff at the rehab centre was bitten on a hand by one of the pair there and there was immediate swelling. The employee had to go to the hospital and have antibiotics administered.
Britton and her husband have turned their blog into a celebration of outdoors life they are experiencing, from ice fishing to archery, a sport in which they are hoping to become certified to teach.
It’s also an outlet to sell dog collars and survival bracelets made from parachute chord, a material many outdoors enthusiasts like to have with them because of its strength and versatility.
And, while the face-to-face encounter with the bobcat was food for a blog posting and photos on Flickr, Britton said she’s just as delighted the cat seems to have moved on.
“We’ve got songbirds in the barn,” she said. “They were gone before, but they’re back now. I don’t think they’d be back if the cat was still here.”
Merritt bobcat taken to B.C. Wildlife Park in Kamloops
An injured bobcat captured in a dramatic standoff in an alley in Merritt last week was taken to the B.C. Wildlife Park in Kamloops.
Merritt bylaws officer Bob Davis first heard about the bobcat from a resident after the man’s daughter spotted the cat around the old Coquihalla middle school.
But, it wasn’t until two fruitless searches of the area and a day later that Davis got a chance to capture the cat.
He received a call from Mounties saying they had the bobcat cornered in a back alley.
“I turn in the alleyway and, sure enough, there’s the police cruiser and a bunch of people standing around,” Davis said. “Then I see this poor little kitty holding his right paw and it’s obviously broken right at the wrist.
“We had to get the little fellow running down the alley to run him down and throw a blanket over him.”
Davis, RCMP Const. Jon Puterbough, and residents of nearby houses managed to wrap the small wildcat up in the blanket.
“As soon as he was in that blanket he was calm,” Puterbough said. “It almost seemed like he was happy to be captured and put some place warm.”