This whole story takes place over the span of about a week. It went from "neat anecdote" to "Oh my god! What is Happening?!? How do I stop this?! There's so much blood!" in two twists I did not see coming.
Friday: Dan was working in the garage on his off Friday (lucky duck gets every other Friday off). While he was working, I'm not sure if he heard a rustle or just looked up and saw movement, but he spotted this:
Can you see it? If you can't, try this one:
It was a bobcat.
Bobcats in general aren't a big deal in Arizona. They are a danger if you've got small dogs or outside cats, but for us, it's kind of just a rarity to spot one. It's an "Aww, cool! A bobcat!" moment and we got on with our lives.
Tuesday: I was at home alone, after getting off of work. I was getting ready to work out before Dan got home and some movement caught my eye.
This bobcat was definitely comfortable in our backyard. I assumed it was the same one that Dan saw and now we knew this bobcat was determined to stick around for a while. Like I said before, no biggie. The cats didn't even notice.
Tuesday, thirty minutes later: In the middle of an intense Jillian Michaels DVD in the living room, movement caught my eye again, but this time, I wasn't as calm. This time there was A LOT of swearing for two very important reasons.
This bobcat had kittens. And as cute as a pair of bobcat kittens were, it means you do not want to mess with mama. With just one bobcat, you can pretty easily scare it off, but with a mama and kittens, there's now the possibility that she will feel the need to defend them and that could get ugly fast.
They were heading for Turtle!
I panicked. I didn't know if desert tortoises are prey for bobcats (they are) and I didn't know if he was out of his house (he wasn't) because it's not like he can outrun them. My split-second reaction was to just bang on the windows to try to scare them off, but that failed to work. I armed myself with my bat-day baseball bat and was about to head outside to try to scare them off a little more forcefully, if necessary.
Luckily, that was when Dan arrived. Between the two of us, we were able to scare them over the wall, but not before noticing that there were actually three kittens, not two.
Thursday: this was the bad day. When I walked through the door to the house from the garage, the cats were there to greet me at the door. Usually they don't, but I just thought they were being cute or maybe they knocked something over and were playing innocent.
As I walked into the kitchen, I quickly saw what was wrong.
The family had decided to take up residency on our back porch. It took me a couple of days to notice, but if you look at the right-hand side, you can see paw prints where they must have scared the bejesus out of my kitties. I won't post some of the pictures I took, but they also decided to have a messy dinner there. We also noticed later that they had used our jacuzzi as a litter box. That's just rude.
And because they were more comfortable now, it was harder to scare them off. They hung around the backyard and near the guest room long enough for me to get some great pics.
My husband was a champ and cleaned up the mess once they left.
Fortunately, Turtle is safe and they have only been back once since this incident. One of my realest fears at this point is that I'll walk around a corner, not paying attention, and get between her and her kittens. That would be bad.
The easiest solution we've heard off is to pee around the backyard to mark our territory. I'm surprised that Dan is as reluctant as he is to pee around our backyard. He has my permission, so just do it! Otherwise, I will and odds are I'll end up getting cactus needles somewhere you never, ever want cactus needles.