A bobcat chased a cat into the home of an elderly man in Vermont before it went on to attack him, according to police.
Windsor Police Department (WPD) Chief Jennifer Frank said the man was attacked by the animal, which had entered through an open door, before he was able to trap it in the bathroom on Friday.
She told CBS affiliate WCAX: “We received a report from a resident that they had what they believed was a bobcat trapped inside of a bathroom.”
While bobcats are known to eat deer, throughout the year they will eat any small animal when the opportunity presents itself, according to the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department (VFWD).
Frank added: “It was a very lean bobcat, and we believe that it did chase a cat into the residence and that is when it came into contact with individuals who lived there.”
Police said the man was bitten or scratched by the animal before he was able to trap it. The man, who was not identified, was later taken to a hospital for treatment. His condition is not known at this time.
Officials with the VFWD later took the bobcat from the property and euthanized it. The bobcat will be tested for rabies and other pathogens.
Frank told WCAX: “This is a very rare and unusual circumstance. In fact, I’ve never seen this happen before in my career, where it gained entry into someone’s home and then made contact with a person.
“This just happened to be an unusual set of circumstances. There were also people working next food cutting down some trees, and that may have an impact as well on its habitat.”
Newsweek has contacted the WPD for comment.
While bobcat attacks are rare, Newsweek has previously reported on occasions when they have happened in the U.S.
In 2021, three people were attacked by a bobcat in Virginia with one victim sustaining serious injuries after he ended up “in a wrestling match with the cat.”
The Grayson County Sheriff’s Office said in a Facebook post: “A man at the scene grabbed the bobcat by the rear legs and ended up in a wrestling match with the cat.
“He sustained serious wounds to his legs and arms.”
People who want to protect themselves or their animals from bobcat attacks can do the following, according information shared by the Texas state government:
- Avoid bushy areas or paths near abandoned properties
- Do not leave pets unattended outdoors
- Remove food sources from your home, such as fallen fruit, pet food and food refuse
- Never encourage your pet to “play” with wildlife
- Always keep pets vaccinated as some wildlife are susceptible to diseases transmissible to dogs and cats
- If you notice a coyote or bobcat in your area, never let it go by without scaring it. Yell or clap loudly to scare wildlife away; carry something with you to make noise, i.e. an air horn, or something to throw, like a rock or baseball. In the long run it’s much safer for us, our pets, and the wildlife as well—if they remain fearful of humans.
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