December 15, 2013 12:10 PM   Subscribe

What would cause this pattern/path to develop to and from my front door?

I live in Edmonton, AB, Canada. We get a lot of snow! I shovelled my walk on Friday and a light snow developed on top of it. Yesterday evening we got freezing rain. I opened my front door to have a look at the icing going on outside and saw this path leading up to my door. The circles look like they are melted bits of snow, or depressions that melted. There are no foot prints on the sidewalk. The path suggests something that came up and down the walk although it also looks like a drip pattern off of eaves, but there is nothing but sky above the walk. I have no idea what may have caused this and the mystery is eating at me! What could have done this?
posted by mazola to Science & Nature (9 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I believe this was a cat. He walked up and then walked back down the path. They have very straight tracks, see some of these google image search results.
posted by smalls at 12:16 PM on December 15, 2013 [2 favorites]

I think it was a cat too. Says a former Edmonton resident who has watched a cat walk up and down my front walk in this exact way. Creepy but true!
posted by meringue at 12:19 PM on December 15, 2013 [2 favorites]

Ok this was the worst X-Files ever.

Thinking about it, cats do walk along very narrow paths (like along fences!). The spacing suggests it was going at a good trot. I've seen cat prints on our walk before but they weren't so lined up so I never put 2+2 together. At least this makes sense.

posted by mazola at 12:27 PM on December 15, 2013 [4 favorites]

It looks like there are little ridges on the sides that may line up with the marks, could it be wind driven snow balls?
posted by 445supermag at 12:29 PM on December 15, 2013

If that was a cat, it was a pretty big one (if I'm judging scale properly).

Maybe a lynx?
posted by jamjam at 12:33 PM on December 15, 2013 [1 favorite]

And apparently cats try to step into their own footprints, thus giving the 'pogo stick' look. This one was pretty successful -- good job kitty!
posted by mazola at 12:33 PM on December 15, 2013 [4 favorites]

I do think that was a cat, but for future reference, many dogs single track when moving at a fast trot, and wild canids do this as well.
posted by HotToddy at 12:48 PM on December 15, 2013 [1 favorite]

Cats are very good at re-stepping into their own footprints, particularly when their path crosses your full bladder on early morning bed tours.
posted by heatherann at 12:54 PM on December 15, 2013 [3 favorites]

Also cats move their legs left side-right side like camels rather than left front right rear-right front left rear like dogs. Maybe that makes it easier to get into the same footprints.
posted by sevenless at 2:14 PM on December 15, 2013 [2 favorites]

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