Grandmother wrestles rabid bobcat in fight to the death

Harriet Alexander
DeDe Phillips, who wrestled a rabid bobcat in Georgia after it attacked her - WFMZ

A grandmother from Georgia, US, fought off a rabid bobcat with her bare hands, wrestling with it and silently strangling the wild animal as it clawed at her face.

DeDe Phillips, 46, was well aware of how dangerous the animals could be.  Bobcats are America’s most numerous wild cat with a population of around a million.

“It was either me or the cat and it was going to be the cat that day,” she said. 

“They go for your jugular. Because when they can get the vein you’re dead in a couple of minutes.”

Ms Phillips was outside her home in Hart County, nearly 110 miles northeast of Atlanta, on June 7. She had just bought a new 4x4, and heard dogs barking as she was affixing a bumper sticker on the vehicle, reading: “Women who behave rarely make history.”

A bobcat hunting in the Yellowstone National Park Credit: BBC

She had never seen a bobcat near the property before, and took a photo of the big cat - before it lunged at her.

“As soon as it took the first step, I was in trouble and I knew it,” she said.

The animal jumped at her, claws bared.

“It caught me slightly on my face, but I got him before he could do much damage there,” she told her local news site, OnlineAthens. 

“I took it straight to the ground and started inching my hands up to its throat. I knew that was the only way I was getting out of this.”

Her five-year-old granddaughter was sleeping inside the house, so Ms Phillips, worried shouts and screams might bring the child outside, struggled in silence.

“I started praying, don’t let her come to the door,” she said.

A photo of the dead bobcat, taken by Ms Phillips' family Credit: WFMZ

When finally the bobcat stopped moving, Ms Phillips shouted for her daughter-in-law to call 911 and her son, she told OnlineAthens. Her hands, however, stayed clenched around the bobcat’s motionless neck — Ms Phillips wasn’t sure if the animal was really dead. 

“My son stabbed it four or five times, but it never budged so I knew it was completely dead,” she said.

The dead bobcat tested positive for rabies and Ms Phillips was taken to the hospital, where she was treated for cuts and gashes, as well as broken fingers. 

She also is undergoing treatment with the rabies vaccine.