Bobcats and cougars are predatory cats that feed on anything from insects to livestock. They have a wide hunting range, and males will extend their range during mating season to find a female. This extensive travel often brings these normally shy animals into human territory. Although rare, cougar attacks on humans occur annually. Bobcats usually avoid humans. If there are animals or other food sources on the premises, the cougar or bobcat will see the area as a fertile hunting ground and will inevitably return. Farmers consider these cats enemies due to the damage they can inflict on livestock.
Research your state's hunting and trapping laws. Some states forbid shooting large cats. Most forbid leg traps, but allow humane trapping during certain times of the year. Some areas temporarily raise restrictions for problem predators.
Eliminate brush piles, cut long grass and remove any other potential hiding place for the predatory cats. They are ambush animals that will hide and stalk their prey, and will therefore feel uncomfortable and possibly move on if there are no suitable hiding places near your livestock or home. Ask your neighbors to do the same.
Remove as much of the bobcat or cougar's food source as possible. Cover or enclose trash cans, feed all pets indoors and stop feeding wild animals, including birds. The cats are attracted to the food as well as the animals you are feeding.
Fence your yard to keep children safe when playing.
Enclose livestock as much as possible. Secure animals and poultry in a barn or hen house at night.
Use a large, vocal dog as an alarm system. The dog will smell the cat and bark in a manner that may deter the predator.
Install a motion sensor light. Although the livestock may also trigger the light if they are out, the sudden presence of a light may deter a bobcat or cougar.
Install one or more motion activated sprayers. The sprayer detects warm-blooded animals and blasts them with a three-second spray of water. Cats detest this spray and should run off. If they return, the sprayer will repel them again.
Invest in an aggressive pasture animal if your livestock remain outside during the night. Donkeys and llamas are potentially effective flock and herd guards. If an animal fights back, a cat will often leave to seek easier prey elsewhere.
Study the bobcat or cougar's normal route. You will notice feces and cat tracks, as well as an occasional kill that is buried under sticks or grass for a later meal.
Set a trap along the bobcat or cougar's normal route. Kill traps are available for aggressive or rabid animals, but it is more common and humane to use a live catch trap and remove the animal to another location. Hide the trap with straw, hay or the natural grass from the area. Bait the trap with meat or with a live bird that can be kept safely in a section of the trap that the cougar or bobcat cannot reach.
Contact animal control for relocation information specific to your area.
Remain on the lookout for another predatory cat. If your home has attracted one cat, it will attract another once the original cat is no longer marking the territory as its own.