The cats started disappearing in Georgetown about a week ago, snatched off porches and out of backyards. Just one of three would survive.
A bobcat was euthanized Monday after killing two pet cats and maiming another in a recent string of attacks, according to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.
The animal, a 40-pound wild cat, was trapped Sunday night in the 7100 block of Sleigh Bell outside Georgetown. Locals believe it had been living near a vacant lot on the outskirts of Eldorado National Forest.
Because the bobcat had attacked three pets and appeared to be living in the area, the Department of Fish and Wildlife ordered it to be humanely euthanized on Monday. Wild bobcats found to be endangering humans and their property are euthanized in accordance with California law, department spokeswoman Janice Mackey said.
Mackey said it’s unlikely the bobcat came looking for house cats as a food source.
“This cat was probably following a food source that was moving into the area, because bobcats tend to eat small rodents and things like that,” Mackey said. “If a food source moves and the cat sees there are other animals to eat, it will do that, too.”
She suggested homeowners who live in rural areas near wilderness be extra vigilant about leaving food or garbage outside and keep an eye on their small pets, who could become prey to a larger predator.
Jeff Duke, who trapped the bobcat, said he’s been seeing more wild animals in residential areas looking for food and water as a result of sparse resources in areas dried up by California’s drought.
“With the drought being the way it is and water being short in certain areas, we’ll probably start seeing this more and more,” said Duke, owner of Duke’s Wildlife Control. “They’re here already, but they don’t usually feed on cats unless they can. These cats are easy kills. We know he attacked three, but, honestly, he could have killed more than that.”
The first cat went missing last week. Another was picked up a few days later but escaped, mangled and injured from its run-in with the wild animal, Duke said. The last cat the bobcat got was attacked Saturday on its owner’s porch.
Duke suggested homeowners concerned about the safety of their pets not let small animals out unsupervised.
“It’s that moment that we let a small dog or a cat out there alone,” Duke said. “If there’s a bobcat in the area, they’re just waiting on something like that.”
For more information on how to coexist with wild animals in and around California wilderness, visit KeepMeWild.org.
Call The Bee’s Marissa Lang at (916) 321-1038. Follow her on Twitter at @Marissa_Jae.