The Bobcat (Lynx rufus) is a North American mammal of the cat family, Felidae. With twelve recognized subspecies, it ranges from southern Canada to northern east Mexico, including most of the continental United States. The Bobcat is an adaptable predator that inhabits wooded areas, as well as semi-desert, urban edge,forest edges and swampland environments. It persists in much of its original range and populations are healthy.


Bobcats occasionally prey on sheep, goats, deer, and pronghorns; however, they more commonly kill smaller animals such as porcupines, poultry, rabbits, rodents, birds, and house cats. Bobcats characteristically kill adult deer by leaping on their back or shoulders, usually when the victim is lying down, and biting them on the trachea. The jugular vein may be punctured, but the victims usually die of suffocation and shock. Small fawns, lambs, and other small prey are often killed by a bite through the top of the neck or head. The hindquarters of deer or sheep are usually preferred by bobcats, although the shoulder and neck region or the flank are sometimes eaten first. The rumen is often untouched. Poultry are usually killed by biting the head and neck; the heads are usually eaten. Bobcats reportedly prey on bird eggs. Feline predators usually attempt to cover their kills with litter. Bobcats reach out 12 to 14 inches (30 to 35 cm) in scratching litter, compared to a 35-inch (90-cm) reach of a mountain lion (Young 1958).

Associated Disease

Cytauxzoonosis, also known as Bobcat Fever, is fatal to domestic cats. You can protect your cat from this illness by taking certain precautionary measures.

Rabies, is a virus that is spread by contact with the saliva of a rabid animal or by being scratched or bitten by a rabid animal.

Legal Status

Among mid-western states, the bobcat is protected in Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, and in most counties of Kentucky. It is managed as a fur-bearer or game animal in the plains states. Western states generally exempt depredating bobcats from protected status. They can usually be killed by landowners or their agent. In the more eastern states and states where bobcats are totally protected, permits are required from the state wildlife agency to destroy bobcats. Consult with your state wildlife agency regarding local regulations and restrictions.

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