Family Adopts Bengal Kittens Only to Find Out They’re Wild Bobcats

Three Bobcat Kittens (Lynx rufus) - captive animals
© Holly Kuchera/Shutterstock.com

Written by Rachael Monson

Updated: September 28, 2023

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An article published in The U.S. Sun in March 2023 reports one woman’s horrific discovery that the kittens she adopted weren’t Bengals at all but wild bobcat kittens (Lynx rufus) in Texas.

Jane Dinscore only contacted local wildlife authorities after she, her niece, and another family member sustained bites, scratches, and bruises from the bobcat kittens. She’d researched on the internet and found the kittens couldn’t possibly be domestic. Bengal cats are a unique domestic cat breed created to look like leopards but have house-cat personalities. They are in no way related to bobcats, though they do have Asian leopard cats within their pedigrees. Read on to hear the story Dinscore told Texas authorities!

The Story (and the Lies)

The story begins in 2018. Dinscore, knowing full well these were wild animals, first told authorities that she found the bobcat kittens in an alleyway near her home. She stated she took them in, thinking they were stray Bengal kittens.

Further pressure by San Antonio Animal Care Services resulted in the Texas woman fessing up to the truth. Her brother, James, had snatched the bobcat kittens from the wild and intended to breed them and sell their kittens. Dinscore lied in hopes of preventing her brother from getting in trouble. In the end, authorities issued a criminal citation and fine to Dinscore. She eliminated the chances of finding the kittens’ mother and returning them to her. She’s lucky she only received a fine, as tampering with wildlife is punishable by law, including jail time, in most states within the United States.

What Happened to the Bobcat Kittens in Texas?

The bobcat kittens were taken on by Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation, Inc. The organization planned to release them back into the wild once they were ready, but unfortunately, the agency updated their social media pages with the sad news that the kittens passed away. The cause of their death was feline parvovirus, according to the rescue. It likely occurred after the stress from being taken from their mother caused their immune systems to weaken. Incidents like this underscore why it’s so important to stay away from wild animals and to call an experienced wildlife rescue if you think an animal needs help.

Bobcat kittens need their mother to teach them how to survive.

©Bildagentur Zoonar GmbH/Shutterstock.com

How Long Do Bobcat Kittens Stay With Their Mother?

On average, bobcat kittens spend the first 10–13 months of life with their mother. After a 60-70 day long pregnancy, the female gives birth to up to six kittens. Born blind and deaf, they are entirely dependent on her for the next six months. Their eyes and ears open around 10 days old. Around two months old, the mother begins to wean them and bring them meat to eat.

The bobcat kittens still have much to learn at this stage! She will go on to show them how to hunt, find safe places to sleep, and steer clear of humans and other predators. When it’s time, males leave the family first. They sometimes travel more than 100 miles to find a suitable territory to control. Generally, females stay close to their home den. However, females are much more territorial than males. The females often claim territory adjacent to their mother’s but will try to ensure they do not cross her path again. This dispersal method (the term for young animals leaving their family) ensures that breeding males spread their genetics far and wide. This helps to keep the gene pool diverse and prevent inbreeding.


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About the Author

Rachael Monson is a writer at A-Z-Animals where her primary focus is cats, big and small. She also works as senior veterinary assistant and has been in that field since 2012. A resident of Mississippi, she enjoys spending her off time playing video games with her husband and hanging out with her pets (a Bengal cat named Citrine and Basset Hound/Pomeranian mix dog named Pepsi).

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