Can Domestic Cats Breed With Bobcats?

bobcat
Victor Arita/Shutterstock.com

Written by Nixza Gonzalez

Updated: September 20, 2023

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Bobcats and domestic cats look a lot alike, but just how similar are they? Well, bobcats are slightly larger than domestic cats with shorter ‘bobbed’ tails. These medium-sized wildcats are also ferocious hunters known to kill and eat feral stray cats. Despite their stark differences, they are often confused with one another. But, are they similar enough to breed together?

bobcat

Bobcats are slightly larger than domestic cats with shorter ‘bobbed’ tails.

Is it Normal for a Domestic Cat to Breed With a Bobcat?

Surprisingly, a domestic cat and a bobcat cannot produce viable offspring despite their similar appearances. While some rumors suggest that there are mixed hybrid bobcats, this is false. There is no scientific evidence that points to this possibility since they have such different reproductive systems. However, sometimes a domestic cat and a bobcat will mate.

Who Can Cats Breed With?

Longest Cats - Savannah Cat

The Savannah cat is the second-longest cat and the largest domestic cat hybrid in the world.

While a bobcat and a domestic cat can’t reproduce, this doesn’t mean there aren’t cat hybrids. Within the cat family, Felidae, several hybrids have occurred. For example, the Bengal cat is a mixed breed cat with varying percentages of a domestic cat and an Asian leopard cat. They have colorful coats with spots, stripes, and arrowhead markings. The first mention of the Bengal cat was in 1889. However, the first official attempt wasn’t in 1970 by Jean Mill.

Another common hybrid mix is the Kellas cat. For years, people in Scotland believed the large black cat was a myth or a hoax until it was found snagged in a snare in 1984. It’s a natural hybrid between a Scottish wildcat and a domestic cat. It grows 24 to 36 inches long and has strong and powerful hind legs. Kellas cat weighs about 5 to 15 pounds.

The Savannah is another hybrid cat breed resulting from a serval and a domestic cat. These cats are long and lanky with bright spots and coats. Behind their long ears are an ocellus, an eye-like mark used as camouflage. They are not a naturally occurring breed, since servals are picky when mating and typically won’t choose a small domestic cat.

What Is the Wildest Domestic Cat?

Egyptian Mau cat stalking a prey

Egyptian Mau

cats are intelligent, playful, and excellent feline hunters.

Technically, there is no ‘wildest domestic cat.’ Everyone has their own opinions. But there are plenty of breeds that look like wild animals. The Egyptian Mau is rare, originating from Egypt. They are some of the only naturally spotted domestic cats in the world. This rare breed’s spots are on the tips of their fur. The Serengeti cat looks a lot like a regular domestic shorthair cat but with a spotted coat. They look a lot like Savannah cats, but they are mixed with two domestic breeds, not wild cats. Serengeti cats are slim, active, and very vocal. They weigh up to 15 pounds and can live up to 12 years.

What Cat Is Closest to a Bobcat?

pixie-bob-cat-kitten-sitting

Pixie-Bob cats have been bred to more closely resemble their bobcat ancestors.

Have you ever heard of a pixie-bob cat? You might notice they look a lot like bobcats, and that’s because they were bred to look like them. Many people think they are mixed with bobcats, but after many tests, it’s been determined that pixie-bob cats are just domestic cats. Official breeding started when Carol Ann Brewer purchased a unique cat with spotted fur and polydactyl paws in 1985. The year after, she rescued Keba, a male cat with a large bobbed tail which people thought was related to a bobcat. Brewer was inspired and started the Pixie breeding program. Pixie-bobs are said to be very sociable, chirping loudly at strangers and their owners.

Do Bobcats Meow Like House Cats?

Bobcats make a lot of noises, but they are rarely heard since they are solitary animals. While bobcats can meow, they also chirp and growl. When bobcats feel threatened and are fighting to protect themselves, they hiss, much like a house cat. Not all bobcats sound alike though. And unlike house cats, bobcats have deeper vocalizations because they are generally bigger. At night, when a bobcat barks, growls, or meows, it sounds a lot like a human girl or baby crying, eerie, right?

Bobcats can meow, chirp, scream, hiss, and growl.

Bobcat kittens cry and meow more than adults since they rely on their mothers for shelter and food. As they age, it’s rare to hear a bobcat meow for attention since they live, hunt, and sleep alone. Although a hiss is a warning, they also snarl and growl, showing their teeth. However, baby bobcats snarl at other kittens and their mother while playing.

Another common bobcat sound is screaming. When a bobcat screams, it’s usually a sign of courtship and is super common in males during mating season. It’s a high pitch scream that echoes in wooded areas with open spaces. Bobcats also yowl and howl when calling for their kittens or when they are involved in social interactions.

Bobcat Diet

Bobcats are carnivorous creatures and their diet consists of a variety of small animals, such as rodents, rabbits, birds, and reptiles. They also feed on larger animals like deer when available. Bobcats hunt primarily at night and have excellent night vision.

In addition to hunting for food, bobcats will also eat carrion if they come across it while out searching for prey. They have been known to scavenge in garbage cans or dumpsters if there is no other food source available. During winter months they may switch their diet up slightly by eating more insects when they can’t find anything else. Overall bobcats have a varied diet that helps them survive in different environments with different types of prey available throughout the year.

Bonus: Do Bobcats Prey on Domestic Cats?

This bobcat climbed an oak tree to better view its hunting grounds in central California.

Bobcats often wait for prey to approach from a perch in a tree then jump on top of it in a surprise attack.

If you have a cat and bobcats have been seen in your area – you should take measures to protect your kitty because bobcats do prey on domestic cats. It may seem cannibalistic but they don’t care. Bobcats are opportunistic hunters that prey on small mammals like squirrels, rabbits, and yes, cats and small dogs. A small dog or a cat confined in a fenced backyard – even one with a tall privacy fence – will be helpless if an agile bobcat scales the fence and launches an attack. Dogs and cats should be walked on a leash with you to protect them and never allowed to roam free if a bobcat has been spotted.

As humans encroach on the bobcat’s habitat it has adapted by preying on small pets when their usual game is harder to find. The bobcat is one of the most adaptable species on the planet – it does whatever it needs to do to survive.


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About the Author

Nixza Gonzalez is a writer at A-Z Animals primarily covering topics like travel, geography, plants, and marine animals. She has over six years of experience as a content writer and holds an Associate of Arts Degree. A resident of Florida, Nixza loves spending time outdoors exploring state parks and tending to her container garden.

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