Several days ago, one of my boys and I were on our way back from town, when a big cat ran across the road ahead of us. We slowed down and looked into the woods in the direction it ran. Kitty was still standing there looking at us. It was about knee high, heavily built, tufted ears... and a tail of about 15 inches. On this cat, that was about a third to a half as long as I would have expected it to be. Had it had "no" tail, We would have instantly said "bobcat". But this cat had a tail.
After days of fruitless searching on the internet, and several trips back past where we saw the creature, Mr C asked if I had actually looked up "bobcat" on the internet. I had tried " big spotted cat", "big wild cat", "native Arkansas wild cat", and about a dozen variations of other searches, in both picture and definitions. I had tried lynx, ocelot, ring tailed cat. But not "bobcat".
So I tried Bobcat... knowing this couldn't actually be one, because it had a tail... a pretty good length of tail.
I discovered there are over fourteen species of bobcats! and some DO have more than the short tufty stub that instantly identifies it as a bobcat. We found a couple of pictures that were identical to the cat we saw.... and we got a great look at it. It stood there in the trees and looked back at us, less than 10 yards away, for several moments. It swished its tail, looked bored, and walked off into the woods.
It was a bobcat.... with a tail.
I wish I had a camera!