SONOMA (CBS SF) — A large wild cat was spotted in the Sebastopol area Saturday afternoon, the second such sighting in the past couple of days, according to the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office.

Saturday’s sighting occurred shortly before 1 p.m., when residents in the area of Elphick Road and Bollinger Lane reported seeing what they described as a possible mountain lion in their backyard, according to Lt. Clint Shubel.

The cat emerged from underneath their deck, crossed their yard to a shady area and rested there for a few minutes before fleeing.

Based on the description given, officials believe the cat is more likely to have been a bobcat than a mountain lion.

Bobcats are around twice the size of domestic cats, and while they feed on small rodents, pets and smaller livestock, they do not usually pose as much of a threat to people as mountain lions, Shubel said.

Another sighting of a large cat was reported in the same area on Friday around 1:30 p.m., and residents are advised to be cautious.

Keep a safe distance from large cats encountered in the wild, and make loud noises to scare them away. Keep domestic pets in secure enclosures and do not leave pet food outside.

It is rare for a bobcat to attack a human, but if it does, fight back and call 911 immediately.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco and Bay City News Service. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed)


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