At the barn last summer, I came face to face with a cat carrying something alive in its mouth. Damn it, I thought, and looked closer to see what kind of bird was meeting its doom. Not a bird at all, but a squirrel. A squirrel? Looking so small in a cat's mouth? Then I saw the spotted fur, the pointed, curling ears, the short, cropped tail. A bobcat. It looked right at me, flat gold eyes, complete concentration. I felt that zing you get when you meet a truly wild animal. And then it was gone, just like that, down into the canyon with the squirrel still struggling in its mouth.
A few weeks ago my friend, Ken, shot these photos of the bobcat and her kittens near the edge of his property in the mountains here in Malibu. They were relaxed, he said, playful, like they owned the place, which of course, they do.