Bobcats are wild animals that have not been domesticated. Special permits are required for people who want to keep them in captivity or as pets. While some enthusiasts argue that they make good pets, they are wild animals that deserve to live free in the wild, not in our homes.
If you do decide to get a bobcat as a pet, please make sure you are doing it with the right intentions and not just to show off or simply for having an exotic pet.
Do Bobcats Make Good Pets?
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Exotic pet enthusiasts claim that bobcats make excellent pets for the right people. But how do we identify the right person?
To be able to get a bobcat as a pet, you have to get a permit. You need to anticipate and handle their aggressive and destructive behavior.
Bobcats are not domesticated animals, bred specifically to be around humans. If you decide to keep bobcats in captivity, you should be able to provide an outdoor enclosure and provide for their needs like spaying, food, and medical attention.
Things You Cannot Do With Pet Bobcats
- You can’t cuddle or pet a bobcat
- You can’t relax, lounge, and watch tv with a bobcat at home
- You can’t walk them or take them to the park
Wild bobcats are generally not aggressive towards humans. There are few, if any, incidents of bobcat attacks in the wild or in captivity. Bobcats are known to have the best personality among wild felines so I guess that’s promising.
Can Bobcats Be Trained To Use A Litter Box?
Bobcats can be trained to use a litter box like domestic cats. It is easier for young bobcats than adult ones. It still takes time to do it though, unlike domesticated cats who take to the litter box naturally.
It can be done though, but expect accidents to happen and it can get really messy.
If you train a bobcat to use a litter box, they tend to treat other boxes as toilets too. You have to make sure you keep other boxes or box-like items in the house out of reach. Otherwise, you will find unpleasant surprises everywhere in the house.
Do Bobcats Need Extra Care And Attention?
Bobcats, as pets, need a lot of extra care and attention. They are not domesticated animals so the call of the wild is strong.
Bobcats Need A Special Diet Unlike Domestic Cats
Bobcats only eat raw meat and freshly caught prey. You should know the proper nutrition to keep them healthy. They require a healthy helping of meat, bones, and various supplements for a balanced diet.
Live prey is important to their diet. The problem is, that feeding live prey to your bobcat at home is inhumane.
Some of their natural prey are:
Bobcats Need Special Housing
If you decide to keep your pet bobcat inside the house, remember that they also need an outdoor space.
You can install a doggie door so they can go outside when needed. They need enough outdoor space where they can run around and explore. The outdoor space needs tall and strong fencing so they can’t jump into the neighbors and cause damage. (And bobcats can climb pretty high fences!)
A Pet Bobcat Needs An Escape-Proof Home
The call of the wild is an instinct that will not go away. The bobcat will always have the urge to hunt and explore. Even if you feed them regularly and provide a good home, pet bobcats will try to escape constantly.
You need to escape-proof your home so they don’t get away. Unlike domesticated dogs and cats, bobcats do not know how to get back home once they get out.
This can be dangerous for bobcats because people view bobcats as wild animals. They might be attacked or harmed just for being in the wrong spot.
Bobcats Require Regular Attention From Specialized Vets Or Exotic Animal Vets
Your regular vet for your cats and dogs doesn’t handle bobcats and other wild animals. You need access to an exotic vet that will provide regular health care for them.
Exotic vets are not easy to find. Depending on your location, an exotic vet can be hours away. This will be a problem in case of emergencies.
Can Bobcats Get Used To Living Inside?
If bobcats are raised as kittens, they can get used to living inside. Adult bobcats, on the other hand, will have a hard time adjusting to being indoors. Expect your house to get destroyed.
Bobcats raised as kittens can adapt to a home lifestyle with humans but expect chaos and disarray!
Will A Bobcat Destroy My House?
Destruction is expected if you get a bobcat as a pet. Your furniture will get torn, your carpets ripped, shoes shredded, and dirt everywhere.
Some wildcat owners declaw their pets and take out some teeth to avoid getting bit and protect their properties. Please don’t do this, it is animal cruelty.
If you have to harm a wild animal to fit your lifestyle, do not get one. They are better off without you. Get a dog instead! (But do treat the dog right, too!)
What’s The Personality Of A Bobcat?
Bobcats are shy and elusive. They stay away from humans and other animals because they are solitary creatures. They love to travel and explore.
They are nocturnal animals that hunt at night. Bobcats are quiet and not vocal animals except during mating season when they scream, howl, hiss, and spit.
Bobcats are natural, stealthy animals that can travel up to 3 to 6 miles while on the hunt they are active all year. They also tend to mark their territories (or your home) with their scent.
Overall, bobcats are peaceful animals who want to be left alone, so you should!
Are Bobcats Aggressive?
Bobcats are generally not aggressive. They are shy and avoid people because they have an innate fear of humans.
This does not mean you should pet one though. Bobcats can misinterpret your actions, especially your hand gestures, as a form of threat so they will protect themselves by scratching or attempting to bite.
Bobcats can also throw an impressive leaping pounce when threatened. Be careful!
Will A Pet Bobcat Be Dangerous To My Other Pets?
If raised young along with other pets, bobcats will get along with other house pets and people.
Being wild animals, programmed to protect themselves and hunt in their natural habitat, they can easily go from shy to feisty and defensive in an instant. If your other pets are clingy or aggressive, they respond to that as wild animals, not as a pet.
Aggressive behavior is an important tool for survival in the wild and it does not go away even if you domesticate the animal. Bobcats will not be truly domesticated, not for hundreds of years, maybe even thousands.
Do Bobcats Behave Differently Than House Cats?
Yes, bobcats behave differently than house cats because, unlike house cats, bobcats don’t just lounge around the house waiting to be cuddled.
A bobcat is programmed to always be alert to threats and be on the hunt. Unlike cats, bobcats are nocturnal beings so they are awake at night.
When bobcats don’t get enough sleep during the day because people and other animals are active, this can cause agitation and lead to aggressive behavior.
Will Bobcats Spray And “Mark Their Territory?”
Bobcats are territorial and they mark their territories by spraying urine and skat all over their home.
They spray on trees, stones, stumps, and many other items within the territory. When you domesticate a bobcat, its territorial instinct stays. So expect your house to reek of urine and skat because they regularly do this all year long.
When the scent starts to fade, they spray all over again!
What Can I Feed My Pet Bobcat?
Although bobcats look somewhat like your tabby cat at home, they require a totally different diet. Do your research and consult a wildlife expert so you can provide proper nutrition.
In the wild, bobcats solely live on prey animals like rabbits, reptiles, birds, smaller rodents, and other small game animals.
At home, you can mix and feed them the following:
- Fresh meats like chicken, turkey, and beef
- Organ meat like liver, hearts, and kidneys
- Ground meat
- Catfood mixed with fresh raw meat
Hard-Boiled Eggs Are Good For Bobcats
Add hard-boiled eggs to their food twice a week. Pet bobcats enjoy hard-boiled eggs and they are healthy for them.
Hard-boiled eggs are rich in high-quality protein, calcium, zinc, vitamin B, antioxidants, and other important nutrients that help keep bobcats healthy.
Bobcats Need Calcium Supplement
Mix half a teaspoon of calcium powder into your bobcat’s food to supplement its calcium requirements.
In the wild, bobcats get a healthy dose of calcium from the bones of their prey, but in captivity, it can sometimes be difficult to serve bones for every meal.
Is Cat Food Ok Or Do Bobcats Need Live Prey?
In the natural order of things, bobcats are predators and should only be eating live prey. When you take them inside your home, you do not just take them out of their natural habitats, you are changing their diet too.
Cat food is not a natural food source for bobcats but given the nutrients it provides, cat food can be given to them, but it should be mixed with fresh raw meats along with other food supplements.
Feeding live prey is inhumane and illegal. Imagine feeding live chickens or rabbits to your pet bobcat? It’s animal cruelty. Leave that to nature!
Do Bobcats Need A Lot Of Attention From A Vet?
If you are not a wildlife expert taking in a wild animal as a pet, you definitely need the help of a wildlife vet.
Bobcats need a lot of attention from a vet because living in a domestic home and feeding on food that is not natural to them, can cause stress and health issues.
A regular health check is necessary so you need access to a wildlife vet. If you live hours away from an exotic vet, this is a problem. Providing proper health care is necessary when taking care of a wild animal. If you can’t, then bobcats are not for you.
Do I Need Special Equipment For My Pet Bobcat?
Yes, you do! You need a customized outdoor and indoor enclosure that will allow them the freedom to move.
As I have mentioned above, bobcats usually travel around 3 to 6 miles at night to hunt for food and explore. This should be considered when building their special enclosure. Testing for strength and durability is also required.
For visits to the vet, you need a transport cage that is big and strong enough for the animal, as well as a strong leash.
Are Bobcats Expensive To Buy?
Bobcats can fetch between $900 to $2500 or even higher, depending on the supply and legal requirements.
If you are considering getting a bobcat as a pet, you should not stop at the initial cost of buying one. The price of acquiring a bobcat is expensive but so is the cost of care and maintenance. Not to mention the time you need to spend looking after them.
Getting a bobcat as a pet is a lifelong commitment that requires more care, attention, and time than domestic pets. Think twice before you jump in. Getting a cat or a dog instead is much more rewarding and the bobcat will thank you for it.
Are Bobcats Friendly With Humans?
Bobcats are not naturally friendly. They are shy, elusive, solitary, and have an innate fear of people.
Bobcats will tolerate humans if they are raised as young kittens or if they are used to them, especially those who feed them. But there is a big difference between being friendly and tolerant.
Wild animals forming a strong bond with humans where they cuddle and wrestle is rare and very uncommon.
Can A Wild A Bobcat Be Tamed?
Wild bobcats, when young, can be trained and tamed, but only as well as you can expect from a wild animal.
Young bobcats can behave and follow instructions well but when they mature, their natural predatory instincts will kick in.
Their wild instincts are embedded in their DNA for millions of years, you can’t expect to change that in months or a couple of years.
Adult bobcats, on the other hand? Don’t even think about it! If you’re going to keep a bobcat as a pet, you absolutely need to start when the bobcat is very young.
Do Bobcats Mate With House Cats?
If they are in close proximity, bobcats and house cats may indeed mate.
Bobcats and domestic cats share similar features as felines and they are close enough in size and mating habits that they will occasionally mate.
Don’t worry, bobcats and house cats are so genetically different that they cannot produce offspring.
Why You Should Think Twice About Getting A Pet Bobcat
There are so many reasons why you should think twice about getting a bobcat as a pet. If you ask me, I’d say, don’t get one at all.
Bobcats belong in the wild, not in your home. By getting one, you are supporting poaching and breeders who keep bobcats in captivity to breed for profit.
If you do your research, you will find that getting a bobcat as a pet involves many inhumane activities just so you can have one. And what’s wrong with the old reliable cats and dogs?