Baby bobcats make surprise visit to Calgary home

Katherine Reiffenstein says she had some surprise house guests practically knock on her door last Friday.

Haysboro neighbours believe the bobcat family is living in the southwest community

This bobcat family has been making the rounds in the southwest Calgary neighbourhood of Haysboro. (Submitted by Katherine Reiffenstein)

Katherine Reiffenstein says she had some surprise house guests practically knock on her door last Friday.

She had gone out to wash the front door glass when she ran into a mother bobcat and one kitten sitting on her doorstep.

What started out as a mother bobcat and kitten shortly expanded to a visit from the whole family. (Submitted by Katherine Reiffenstein )

"I saw the mother and one kitten, and all of a sudden kittens just started popping up," Reiffenstein said.

She said they stuck around long enough for her to take a few photos and then they ran across the street to a neighbour's yard.

"I have never seen a wildcat before," she said. "I assumed they were elusive. I was shocked to see them in the city."

Reiffenstein has not seen them since, but her neighbours have. 

She says the consensus in her area is that the mother has been around a while, and had her kittens somewhere in the Haysboro neighbourhood.

"I was quite lucky to see them," she said."I had no idea there were wildcats in the city."

Concerns raised for small pets

Reiffenstein says she has spoken to Calgary police about it.

Some of her neighbours have raised concerns about safety of their pets and children, saying the cats are getting more curious and aggressive. Reiffenstein says the bobcats were really interested in her cat, which was luckily safely inside during their visit.

The community is located between two large wildlife areas in Calgary: Fish Creek Provincial Park and the Weaselhead/Glenmore Park.

There have been multiple sightings of bobcats in the southwest communities surrounding Fish Creek Provincial Park and the Weaselhead Natural Area. (Google Maps)

Bobcats have been making appearances in the surrounding neighbourhoods for years.

Alberta Fish and Wildlife have not removed the animals in the past, as they do not pose safety concerns.

"We haven't had any reports of a bobcat going after someone or being aggressive," said spokesperson Brendan Cox. "It is rare for them to attack pets unless chased or threatened, but it is prudent to take precautions."

He says there are ways to deter the cats from paying a visit:

  • Remove birdfeeders that attract small mammals.
  • Close off any spaces in decks, sheds, stairs that could provide shelter.
  • Keep smaller pets indoors.
  • Install motion-detection lights to scare the cats away at night.
  • Secure garbage access.

With files from CBC's Max Leighton