Nature

Texas Hill Country Wild Cats to Watch Out for and Protect Your Pets From

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Cats of the Texas Hill Country do not just include the house cats and feral cats people in cities often see. Learn more about the most common Texas Hill Country wild cats. Knowing about these animals could help you protect yourself and your pets from the predators these felines are.

1. Bobcats

Bobcats are one of the Texas Hill Country wild cats you could encounter

Photo: Facebook/James E. Daughtrey Wildlife Management Area – Texas Parks and Wildlife

Of all the Texas Hill Country wild cats you should watch for, bobcats are the most commonly encountered. These cats have adapted themselves to many different habitats, giving them the widest range of Texas wild cats. Like most other cats, bobcats restrict much of their activity to the nighttime. Though some farmers may want to blame bobcats for eating large amounts of their livestock, these medium-sized wild cats rarely take large animals. Though occasionally, chickens, sheep, and goats will supplement their diets if they cannot get enough birds, mice, and squirrels. If you see a bobcat, consider yourself lucky because their nocturnal behavior makes sightings of these in the wild rare.

2. Mountain Lion

Mountain Lions are rarely seen by people due to their shy natures

Photo: Facebook/Wildlife Rescue & Rehabilitation Inc.

Mountain lions have many names. You may also have heard them called cougars, pumas, catamounts, painters, or panthers. These big cats have a range that includes most of North and South America. They prefer hilly, remote regions and have very shy natures. Since they do not like to meet people if they do not have to and live mostly solitary existences, it’s likely you will never see one. These Texas Hill Country wild cats, though pose a threat to livestock and pets. Keep your animals enclosed at night. Mountain lions tend to prefer deer and wild hogs, as the pumas can capture these animals without getting too close to people.

3. Ocelot

Ocelots have unique coats with no two the same

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Ocelots have coats that are unique to each animal. These beautifully pelted cats have lost their habitats of thick brush due to people clearing land for farming and development. Estimates rate the number of ocelots in Texas at under 200. Most of the ocelots in Texas live in South Texas, near the Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge. Some ocelots seem to be adapting to live in more open spaces, but these reclusive cats can be hard to spot wherever they are, making it difficult to get an accurate count of their numbers.

4. Feral Cat

Feral cats are another of the Texas Hill Country wild cats you may see

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Unlike abandoned house cats, feral cats have been born and grow up outside. They tend to be skittish and avoid humans as they’ve returned to their wild, carnivorous instincts. To survive, they tend to eat outdoor pet food or catch birds and squirrels. Many animal shelters refuse to take in feral cats due to their inability to adapt to living as house cats. Some areas recommend a neuter and release program for feral cats, which renders them unable to reproduce and returns them to the wild. This helps to control the feral cat population while still allowing the cats to live wild. Wherever you live, you will likely see a feral cat. Since these cats tend to not socialize with humans well, it’s best to avoid these cats.

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