A bobcat was sighted in the woods behind the house of David Daniel off Arbor Hill Road east of Canton.
Daniel said a trail camera on his property recorded the animal's presence on Thursday.
"I was very surprised," he said. "I would expect to see a black bear before a bobcat."
Daniel, who has deer on his property, said the bobcat looked to be about the size of his 65-pound boxer.
Coincidentally, Daniel said a neighbor of his lost a small dog nearly two weeks ago. The neighbors, Daniel said, usually let the dog roam around their backyard. Daniel said the neighbors heard a yelp from their dog, but thought their dog had gotten too close to the possums he often chased in the yard.
Daniel said the neighbors now believe their dog may have fallen prey to the bobcat.
Classified as felis rufus, bobcats are about twice the size of a common household cat, according to the state Department of Natural Resource Wildlife Resources Division.
The males average between 18 and 28 pounds and the females average between 14 and 20 pounds. Bobcats are generally yellowish brown with various streaks or spots of dark brown or black.
Brent Womack, a wildlife biologist with DNR, said bobcats are "relatively abundant" in Georgia.
It's unknown exactly how many bobcats are in Cherokee and throughout the state, Womack added.
"They are not a rare animal," he said.
Cherokee County Chief Marshal Ray Waters said his office received no calls about bobcats last year and only has received one so far this year.
The caller spotted the animal near the county administration building on Bluffs Parkway in Canton.
Waters said it's not clear if the same bobcat was spotted in both places as the sightings were at least 10 miles apart.
If bobcats aren't causing any immediate danger, Waters said his officers usually direct residents to call the DNR's Wildlife Resources Division to report the sighting.
"If the animal is acting aggressive or sick, an animal control officer would be dispatched to the location to remove the animal, if possible," he added.
Womack said bobcats are hard to spot because they usually hunt between dusk and dawn. They usually seek out smaller prey such as birds, mice and rabbits.
The breeding season of a bobcat can begin as early as January and typically runs through March, Womack said. Residents, he said, during this period will see more bobcats and other wild animals such as foxes and skunks.
Womack said the animal does not pose a huge danger to the community as bobcats largely are solitary and secretive animals that will not attempt to interact with humans.
"We are lucky to catch a glimpse of one," he said.
However, Womack said residents should not leave their pets, food or trash outside, as it will attract bobcats and other feral animals.
Daniel said he's made his neighbors aware of the situation, and they also are taking precautions
"I will watch my dog more closely now," he said.