49 thoughts on “Eine kleine Nachtmusik

  1. They actually sounded peculiarly human. It also didn’t get a rise out of Baihu, as I at first almost suspected it might.

    Richard, if you’re reading this — and I know you pop your head in from time to time — if you’d care to put on your ethologist hat and offer a guess, I’m sure we’d all appreciate it!



    1. Didn’t bother my cat (Heidi aka “The Floofy”) either, though she is notoriously aggressive to foreign cats.

  2. The body language looks like there’s a territorial dispute, with the one on the right letting the one on the left know that he’s a trespasser. The one on the left is asserting that he wants a piece of it, which I think is what the echoing may be about.

    “My turf”

    “My turf”

    “oh yeah?” (both): “MY TURF!”

  3. O, m’golly: what a lovely conversation !

    ‘nd a mighty fine capture thereof, too !


    ps The TRUE noah ( webster ) states that the plural is … … lynx.

  4. I think they were saying:

    Lynx 1: “This is what C# sounds like”

    Lynx 2: “No, like this”

    Lynx 1: “No, this”

    Lynx 2: “No that’s F, C sounds like this!”

    Both: “Like THIS!!!!”

  5. I think they were both saying

    “I don’t know you very well and I don’t think I like you very much, now please go away!”

    I wonder why lynxes lost their tails? They have very long legs which I assume they use for running, but somehow no longer require tails for balance. Needs explaining IMHO.

        1. Hmm, Manx cats have either no tail (or a bobbed tail), right? And they also have longer rear legs like the lynx and maybe bobcats. So speculating here but if longer rear legs is adaptive for being a smallish cat in deep snow, then maybe that trait is linked to the short tail. Just sticking my neck out there.

      1. I would very much doubt that.

        Bobcats are very common in the American Southwest, and they positively love the Sonoran Desert.

        And, yes, we do get some cold spells during the winter, including hard freezes and even snow (especially above a few thousand feet elevation), our winters are short…and our summers are long and brutal. Aside from Death Valley, this is as hot as it gets in North America.

        And, did I mention?

        Bobcats love it here.



      1. I didn’t mean to suggest that a short tail conferred any advantage beyond the ability to divert resources away from tail building to other structures and activities. Most other cats have found it valuable to maintain tail length and therefor there must be some difference in the way these cats live that makes tails less useful and allows the option of dispensing with it almost completely. My first thought was that they did less chasing down of prey but their long legs seem to make that unlikely. They live in forests and probably do not have much need for long chases, but so do many other other cats whose tails are unbobbed. Further research is required.

  6. Love the way the one who stood his ground parks his arse at 0:33 as if to say to the other one “…might as well be comfy before I stroll over & clean your clock bud”

    THIS is a beautiful lynx video [silly music though] ~ the lynx is hunting the camera operator I assume

  7. Sounds like my daughter throwing a tantrum when she was little. 😀

    This is an amazing video. It’s odd that they hung around so long with the spotlight on them. Also interesting the way they first walked straight up to each other without hesitation, before the arguing started.

    1. ….and how they almost seemed like they were bored yelling but couldn’t back down so had to just keep it up. Their teeth looked odd in that light too making the combination of their mouths & their voices seem eerily human.

      1. Yes! And distracted at one point. I’d love to know more from the videographer, as to the setting and circumstances of this encounter.

        We’ve heard similar eerie gawdawful sounds in the wee hours of the morning, which had us jarred out of bed. Ended up rescuing stray cats from foxes.

        1. Yes, I’ve heard eery sounds of cat fights in the night & racoon fights which sound horrible as well!

  8. It looks to me like they are cooperating rather than having a dispute over territory… They were naturally hostile at first, but maybe they are trying to make their presence known? Or they could be arguing about what C# sounds like.

  9. Richard Dawkins wrote about a religious friend of his who went camping on the Scottish coast with his girlfriend, and was terrified in the middle of the night by demonic sounds outside his tent. When Richard told the story to his ornithologist friends they laughed and assured him the demons would have been Manx Shearwaters.

    I can imagine hearing a ruckus like this coming out of the dark and thinking the Devil and his cohorts were out to get me.

    1. Many years ago late at night after leaving a meeting, out of the dark I heard just awful sounds. It sounded like a cross between two monkeys and two people making obnoxious barfing sounds.
      Years later I learned it was two barred owls!

      Jerry’s fox week should have included some fox-voice vids on youtube. The sounds red foxes make are really surprising.

      1. I would add that if there could be vocal fencing in the Olympic arena of animal sounds, barred owls would be the winners. Two males will square off in the woods where I live and when the sound echoes in the hollers (valleys) it’s really amazing. One would never know that it was birds making those sounds.

        Here is the best fox-voice vid:

  10. I am puzzled about the behavior of these cats. I am not getting that it is hostile, but it is not friendly cat-speak either. Could they be siblings who have encountered each other after living solitary lives?

    1. I wondered that too. Definitely hostile. I wondered if the presence of the photographer and the light had something to do with their behavior.
      It was for me just like watching two housecats facing off!

  11. I was surprised this freaked my cat out. He went from on his side getting a belly rub to head up. Then he left (don’t worry. He’ll be back).

  12. They don’t seem to be in the least worried by the spotlight on them. You’d think it would bother them, if for no other reason than ruining their night vision, but they seem to be taking no notice of it whatever.

  13. It seems pretty clear to me that this is a territorial dispute. But growling and yelling are used instead of clawing and biting.

  14. Interpretation:

    Your mother wears army boots!

    No! Your mother does!




    Bruce Fogle, in his “The Cat’s Mind”, has some amusing asides about inter-cat hostility and their frequent use of bluffing instead of claws. He wrote at least part of the book while sitting by a window at home whence he could observe cats outside. Good book, btw; every cat lover should read it.

  15. “Anything you can do, I can do better. I can do anything better than you!”
    “No, you can’t!”
    “Yes, I can!”

  16. Good ol’ courtship. Bobcats in this neighborhood do it too. Cats in general have screaming matches before and during coitus.

Leave a Reply