A woman and her two children got quite the surprise this week when they came face to face with a bobcat in their North Jersey house.

Police in rural Washington Township, Morris County, responded to a call just before 6 p.m. Wednesday reporting a bobcat in the house on East Mill Road. They spotted the large feline in the first-floor living room. The mother and her children had retreated to the bathroom, where they were safely locked inside, according to a news release.

At that point, the police opened all the doors and the kitchen window and waited.

The cat, which did not appear sick or show signs of rabies, hung out for an hour before leaving through the window and running into the woods. It didn't cause any damage to the property, police said

Police notified the township Health Department and the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection's Division of Fish and Wildlife. It was not known how the cat burglar got in.

Facebook users weighed in, of course.

“I would have preferred a bobcat call over all the skunks I picked up today,” posted Washington animal control officer Robert Lagonera.
“Can we keep it?” Jeff Ryan asked.

Probably had to use the litter box,” posted Lina Vitanza Fetter.

The next night, police found themselves responding to another bobcat call.

Just before 6 p.m. Thursday, in a different part of the township, a bobcat attacked and injured a dog at a residence on Coleman Road. About a half-hour later, police received a call that the bobcat was in a barn at a home on Naughright Road. Conservation officers snared the animal and determined it was showing possible early signs of having a rabies infection. The bobcat was removed by Division of Fish and Wildlife for observation and possible testing.

It is not known if that bobcat was Wednesday night's cat burglar.

Bobcats are distinguished by their bobbed tail, ear tufts, and grayish-brown streaked and spotted fur. They have been considered endangered since 1991 and are primarily found in the North Jersey counties of Morris, Passaic, Sussex, and Warren.

The cats need large parcels of land with forests, early succession vegetation, and agricultural areas that provide dense cover for protection from the weather and predators. Bobcats often use caves, ledges, and rock outcrops that provide shelter and cover for hunting and rearing their young, according to the state DEP.

"Maintaining a sustained bobcat population in New Jersey continues to be a challenge," said former DEP Commissioner Bradley M. Campbell in a statement.