PHOENIX - A family of five has moved into a north Phoenix neighborhood, but residents there are being told to stay away from them.
They're a family of bobcats who chose a neighborhood park to call their home, and signs at Roy Rogers Park warn residents of the mother bobcat and her litter of kittens.
They're living in a storm drain. The Arizona Game and Fish Department (AZGFD) was called, with the agency saying the cat family can stay there, for now.
"I was on the sidewalk here … trees and grass down there, that’s where they were playing," said Tim Chalmers, a resident in the neighborhood. "They were playing in the trees, rolling around, being cats."
For several days, neighbors spotted the mother bobcat and her four babies, not in the nearby mountains, but literally next door.
"This is a beautiful area. You got lots of rabbits and cover around, and if a small dog or cat happens to be in an area where they can catch it, they won’t hesitate," says Amy Burnett with AZGFD.
Luckily, bobcats don’t usually hunt humans.
Officials say urban bobcats are very common, and many north Phoenix residents have captured photos of them near their homes over the last few weeks.
"Your kids aren’t in any danger. Keep your pets on a leash and they won’t be in any danger," Burnett said.
People are being told not to approach the bobcats, and to stay away from the kittens because mama bobcats can get pretty defensive.
AZGFD says the cat family will not be relocated, and they will eventually leave the park on their own.
"There are estimates there’s one bobcat every two square miles. So, bobcats are all over the place. What you can do as a neighbor is scare them away when you see them in your yard and that’s what we encourage," Burnett said.
You can easily scare bobcats away from your yard by spraying them with water using a high-powered hose, or even a water gun. So far there have been no reports of the bobcats attacking any humans or pets at the park or neighborhood.