N.C. House legislators are making another attempt to name the bobcat as North Carolina’s official state cat, following a request from a group of Rocky Mount elementary school students.
The bill passed the House in 2015, but it didn’t get a vote in the Senate and was instead replaced with a hospital regulation bill. On Tuesday, a new version of the bill passed the House Wildlife Resources Commission.
Rep. John Ager, a Buncombe County Democrat and the bill’s sponsor, pointed out that the bobcat is found in all 100 North Carolina counties. But Rep. Brian Turner, an Asheville Democrat, said that he’s heard from people at Western Carolina University who want their mascot – the catamount – to be chosen for the honor.
“While I do appreciate that the bobcat is in 100 countuies and is a fantastic animal, I do have reservations about not including the catamount in this legislation,” Turner said.
Rep. Mike Clampitt, a Republican whose district includes Western Carolina, pointed out that bobcats and catamounts are closely related.
“They will capitalize highly on having the premier cat of the state,” Clampitt said of the university.