Cats and bobcats can be easily confused, and that’s even harder to avoid if you think your cat is a housecat and bobcat mix.
To address this, we need to cover:
- What are bobcats?
- The main differences between bobcats and housecats
- Can bobcats breed with housecats?
- How can you identify a half bobcat?
What Are Bobcats?
Bobcats are rarely seen, and that’s why it’s a challenge to identify them. If we saw them regularly, we’d know what they are.
They live all across North America and can be found in a wide range of habitats. That includes forests, deserts, and even town suburbs.
And it’s in those suburbs that there’s a chance for them to mix with housecats.
But before we talk about that, what are bobcats exactly?
They are a predatory species that rely on hunting to survive. They’re very good at it, and their bodies are adapted for that purpose.
There are around 1 million of them in the USA, and sometimes people trap them because of their fur.
When being raised, it’s usually in a den of 1-6 kittens that the female will rear. There, they learn to hunt and then spend their lives doing that and finding a mate to breed with.
An interesting fact is that they’re often called cats because of the similarities they share with housecats. At first glance, they can look the same.
But the reality is they’re very different, and these are the key differences to look for.
The Main Differences Between Bobcats And Housecats
The first difference that will be most practical to know is their facial appearance.
Ordinary housecats have short fur around their heads.
They have a ring of long fur around their necks, which almost look like jowls. These help you spot the difference if you’re in a rush.
Bobcats are also double the size of your average housecat, so if you ever compare the two in photographs, you’ll see the difference that way too.
And of course, bobcats are also wild animals. They’re not domesticated, and they prey on small animals to survive.
Housecats will occasionally bring home a rat, but they’re happy to eat cat food out of a bowl. That’s something you’ll never see a bobcat doing.
Bobcats live off rabbits, birds, beavers, and even deer.
They’ve even been known to attack people, but this isn’t too common as they don’t come near people much.
Another difference is color. Bobcats generally have spots and vary between different shades of brown and gray.
Housecats can be orange, white, black, and cream, among other colors.
These are the main differences to keep aware of when it comes to housecats and bobcats.
But this raises an important question.
Can Bobcats Breed With Housecats?
Given how different they are, is there a way for bobcats and housecats to mix?
The answer to this is that there is.
If a bobcat and a housecat are attracted to each other, then an attempt to cross-breed can be made.
There’s nothing to stop this from happening. But it probably won’t lead to any offspring.
However, this has not been proven. There are stories out there of housecats and bobcats breeding together and producing offspring.
There’s a line of bobcats that’s almost gone extinct now, but was based in Florida.
It began from a blue-gray tomcat 60 years ago. That cat had an issue with its pituitary gland and grew to a large size.
It confused bobcats who treated it like one of their own. Local farmers soon started to notice blue-gray bobcats in the area.
This shows housecats can be seen as bobcats even by other bobcats, particularly if they’re quite large.
There’s also another story of a half bobcat adopted by humans, and that brings us to the next part of this article.
How Can You Identify A Half Bobcat?
The half bobcat I just mentioned looked quite similar to a housecat kitten at a young age, and the owner hand-reared it as it originally came to him injured.
As it grew, it soon became larger than most of the local dogs, and yet the owner’s vet insisted it wasn’t a pure bobcat.
So if that’s one difference that you can notice between a cat and a half bobcat, what else is there to keep in mind?
There are 2 things – appearance, and habit.
A typical bobcat should have dark black pupils and yellow eyes, along with long ears and the fur ‘jowls’ we mentioned earlier.
The tail will be short and bobbed. The ears will have black stripes, and the feet will be big. The back legs will also be longer than the front legs.
That should give you enough to go on in terms of bobcat appearance.
In terms of habits, there are 2 to look out for. Bobcats will be more aggressive and will attack more readily.
They’ll also be more comfortable around bodies of water than housecats are.
Logically then, a housecat mixed with a bobcat will be in between the appearance and habits of a housecat and a bobcat.
It will be more aggressive and have longer legs than a housecat. But it won’t be as aggressive, or as long-legged as a bobcat.
It can be hard to judge, but if you compare pictures of housecats and bobcats you can see if your cat fits in between the two.
So if you’ve recently adopted a kitten from the wild, and you think it might be a half bobcat, then now you know what to look for.
It could even be a pure bobcat, but you’ll soon find it growing bigger than you thought it would if it is.
And even if you can tell your cat is mixed with bobcat, you should also be careful because of the potential for aggression.
The stories we looked at didn’t involve aggression, but if your cat has bobcat DNA, it needs to be watched closely.