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Common Name:
Bobcat
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Common Name:  Bobcat

Other Common Names:  none listed

Scientific Name:  Felis rufus  (Full Taxonomy)

Group:  

Origin or Range:  North America

Relative Size:  Smaller Than Average  
    (as compared to other exotic cats)

Average Lifespan:  28 year(s)

Compatibility:  Average   
    (as compared to other exotic cats)

Category:  Mammals » Exotic Cats
Animal Description:  

The Bobcat remains a lasting symbol of the great North American wilderness, an adept cat capable of surviving in many environments. As a household pet, the Bobcat serves as an energetic, loyal, and fascinating companion.

Bobcats are compact in size but are nonetheless powerful and graceful. These cats exhibit very playful attitudes, loving to climb and run, especially as kittens. Bobcats are very fond of swimming and should be allowed a pool for exercise and play. These cats should also have a large fenced enclosure of their own complete with climbing opportunities. Bobcats will need plenty of fresh air and opportunities to be outside, especially as they mature. The Bobcat is very territorial and will mark his territory with smells, especially spraying. If you cannot accept spraying you should reconsider a Bobcat as a pet. In the wild, Bobcats are highly adaptable in climate and prey. The Bobcat prefers to build dens in protected thickets, hollowed trees, or caves. In the wild, the Bobcat's primary prey consists of rabbits, birds, and rodents. Bobcats are also known to hunt deer, snakes, and opossum, depending on the climate, food availability and location. These cats hunt either at day or night, a solitary, stealthy hunter. The Bobcat's sharp canine teeth allow for rapid, powerful biting. As with all wild cats, in captivity fresh meat is required in the diet for optimum health, although commercial big cat diets have been used successfully with Bobcats. Zoological vitamin supplements can help ensure a healthy, balanced diet for the Bobcat. Most owners strongly recommend adding calcium supplements if boneless meats are being fed. Thanks to sharp claws and canines, Bobcats can be destructive and potentially dangerous with owners. For this reason it is very important that any prospective owners understand the specific needs of a Bobcat before considering them for purchase. They are not for everyone. Bobcats can be very affectionate and have a distinctive language of purrs and mews. These cats can often be very shy around strangers, usually only attaching themselves to a single person or family. Transferring a Bobcat to another owner is a difficult and usually unsuccessful, so a Bobcat should be considered as a lifetime commitment.

The Bobcat is relatively small cat, ranging from two to four feet in length. It has a short stubby tail four to eight inches long. Bobcats usually weigh between 10 and 30 pounds. The cat's coat can range from a light tan to brown, depending on the time of year. Bobcat fur is dense and soft. Bobcats molt twice annually, the summer and winter coats differing in color and pattern. The Bobcat's coat is decorated with black or brown spots that occur in random patterns. Their tails and ears usually have black markings; the tail has a black tip, and the ears have black markings on the back. Sometimes the ears will also have a black tuft if hair. Bobcats have tufted, haired feet with five digits on the front and four on the rear. The presence of the tufts may be a biological adaptation making them exceptionally quiet when stalking their prey.

Known as a highly adaptable species, the Bobcat roams from southern Canada to central Mexico and across the United States. It is estimated that there are nearly one million Bobcats in the wild, a highly successful number for wild cats in North America. The Bobcat continues to survive despite human intrusion into natural hunting grounds and demand for his soft fur. One of the smaller cats in the genus "Felis," this cat is not as shy to live around humans as his larger feline relatives.

Specific Care Information: Relative Care Ease: Average

Training and education are probably two of the most important things any Bobcat owner can do. If you do not know how to correctly handle your Bobcat you can and most likely will become injured. Many experienced owners recommend volunteering and a zoo or shelter to gain experience handling these cats. You must never forget that Bobcats are not domestic cats they are wild. With proper training and education the Bobcat can make an excellent pet.

Bobcats, as with any wild cat, require specialized care. It is required that a veterinarian familiar with exotic cats be consulted for the care of Bobcats. It is often recommended that a pet Bobcat be declawed and spayed or neutered as a young kitten of three or four months, but this is at the discretion of the owner and should be discussed with a qualified veterinarian. As with any feline, yearly booster shots against feline diseases are required, such as feline distemper and rabies. A license for the ownership of this exotic cat is necessary through the USDA and can be obtained from the APHIS (Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.)

Enclosures for Bobcats are expensive to build and require a large amount of space. The enclosure for this cat should be at least 8' x 20' for a single Bobcat. These are intelligent, active cats that would do best in an even larger enclosure. Climbing opportunities and toys should be included, as well as a pool for swimming or playing. Many owners like to include occasional fishing ponds for their cats, complete with live fish. A cave or sheltered area for a den should also be provided. The enclosure will have to be inspected before a license can be issued.

Breeding and Propagation: Relative Breeding Ease: Uncertain

Female Bobcats reach sexual maturity at one to two years of age. Males typically mature and are ready to breed at two years. Litters typically consist of one to six cubs twice a year, in the spring and summer. Information on mating seasons seems to differ from source to source, some research holds that they mate between February and July, while others hold that mating season occurs from November to August and still others state that they breed year round. Gestation for Bobcats is typically 60 to 70 days. Bobcat cubs nurse for eight to twelve weeks and continue to depend on the mother for several weeks after they are weaned. Some sources state that weaning can take as long as two months.

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Friday, 19 September 2014