Kittens and bobcats usually look much alike when they are firstborn. They are soft and cuddly, they nurse from their moms and open their eyes around 7 to 10 days after birth.
Taking a closer look at a small house cat and a bobcat can help you distinguish between the two, as a true bobcat has a bobtail or no tail.
Can a Bobcat be Domesticated?
No, a real bobcat can’t be domesticated and it will always retain its feral instincts. Some unorthodox people may sell kittens that they label as bobtails when that isn’t actually what they are.
A true bobcat will be fun and cuddly as any kitten is, but will likely turn on your or a family member or friend in the future. You don’t really want a true bobcat to be a housecat, just as you wouldn’t want a lion for a house pet.
It is usually against the law to own a true bobcat and you can incur very large fines and have it removed from the premises. They are animals that should roam free and shouldn’t be trapped or bred for resale products.
Domestication means that an animal has traits that have been passed down through its lineage from parents to offspring through several generations. It isn’t the same thing as taming an animal at all.
How to Tell a Bobcat from a House Cat?
In some senses, a bobcat may look a lot like a house cat. Bobcats have a reddish-brown belly or a white belly with a tail that looks bobbed or cut off. That is naturally occurring.
Bobcats have yellow eyes with black pupils and wide ears that stand up straight on the top of the head with tufts of hair on top.
They also exhibit tufted hair or fur that flows down the front legs and sometimes the rear also.
The ears are lined with little black streaks of fur and they have dark streaks on the limbs as well as black spots in their coat, usually on the belly.
The Bobcat’s back legs are longer than the front legs, giving them a lifted appearance in the rear compared to the front legs.
They have much broader feet than housecats and their short and bobbed tail is easy to see. Bobcat kittens are about twice as large as domestic kittens.
Bobcats are more aggressive than housecats and may be afraid of strangers and can even target them.
When you see bobcat footprints, they appear as if they only have two feet, because the rear paws hit the ground in the exact same spot as the front feet.
A Maine Coon kitten looks similar to a bobcat in that it has the same type of ears but they have long tails.
Bobcat tracks are about 1 3/4 inches long by 2 inches wide and they have four toes on each paw. They may be mistaken for their cousin the lynx, although lynxes are much rarer.
Bobcats are carnivores and prey on small animals for their food sources. They hunt birds, rabbits, rodents, and squirrels.
They are also able to take down larger animals, such as deer because of their size, but usually stick to the smaller and easier to obtain prey.
If a bobcat in the wild is searching for food and sees a small pet under 20 pounds or so unattended in your yard, it may become a nice snack for them as they can easily scale walls.
Young bobcats stay with their mothers for 9 to 12 months before venturing out on their own to hunt.
If you happen to come across bobcat kittens, you should leave them alone because the mom is nearby watching and she will attack humans if she sees them as a threat to her young.
The Big Bobcat or a Regular Housecat?
As you guessed, a bobcat is larger than a housecat if the bobcat is about twice as large as a kitten. The adult size is also about twice the size of a housecat with longer hind legs.
A mature male can weigh between 11 and 68 pounds, while the females at maturity are a bit smaller and weigh between 9 and 33 pounds–still a very large feline indeed!
Bobcats are 18 to 23 inches tall when measured at the shoulder and they can grow to 31 inches long.
Can a Housecat Breed with a Bobcat?
A pixie bob is a cat that is a half-wild bobcat and half housecat. They don’t usually make suitable pets because of the bobcat traits they retain.
These will bond with only one person and will not be friendly to any other people and may even attack others for nearing “their human.” Hybrid bobcat-housecats are highly unlikely but do happen every so often.
This is because a bobcat regards a housecat in the same manner a wolf regards a domestic dog–as a more lowly being.
What Sounds Does a Bobcat Make Compared to a Housecat?
As kittens, both felines sound pretty much the same by growling, hissing, purring, and snarling.
Bobcats can also make a sound as a crying baby does and they can squeal a sound that is much like a child or a woman screaming for help.
Bobcats make this loud, echoing sound during the breeding period when they are competing for a mate.
What Housecat Looks Like a Bobcat?
A bobtail domestic cat looks much like a bobcat. These are not housecat and bobtail mixes.
However, they were produced by breeding a wild cat containing naturally occurring bobtail genes through their lineage with a housecat rather than a real bobcat.
So What Causes a Domestic Cat to Have a Bobtail?
One breed of cat that has a bobtail is the Manx. It’s recognized by show cat organizations as being quite beautiful. The bobtail is a mutation of a gene that results from inbreeding among a small population of cats.
Kittens may have a short tail and a regular long tail, but completely tailless cats are considered to be show quality.
Bobtail cats tend to be exceptionally healthy and hardy. They have developed into separate breeds in their environments without intentionally breeding them for a tailless cat.
Natural bobtails are usually first found on islands. They may also have a screw tail like a pig or a pom pom tail like a rabbit, which is usually just a ball of fluff.
What Are Some True Bobtail Cat Breeds?
The Japanese bobtail is said to have developed over 1.000 years ago. A stretch of water containing many islands between Russia and Japan created the Kurilian bobtail.
The Mekong bobtail and many other naturally occurring bobtail cats are reported throughout the entire continent of Asia.
There is an American bobtail which is said to be developed by breeders purposely by crossing a pixie bob with a wild cat appearance with a common housecat.
These were said to have been a derivative of a true bobcat, but when the breed wasn’t recognized by the cat breeder associations, they changed their lineage to be recognized.
The American lynx is also a wild bobtail-type feline, but these are not recognized by cat associations either.
What if I want a Bobtail Cat? Which is the Best Breed?
It is possible to adopt a kitten with a bobtail for your home and family’s pleasure. There are some in most areas of the United States that don’t show cats or a specific breed, but they do have varying lengths of tails.
The two most recognized breeds of purebred bobtails are the Manx and the American Bobtail.
The Manx is from Britain’s Isle of Man. It is tailless as a result of a dominant mutation in the genes because of the small population on the island.
Female Manx cats have small litters and they may have varying lengths of tails in one litter.
Even breeding two Manx cats without tails doesn’t guarantee all tailless kittens, because most of the time there will be some with and some without tails.
The American bobtail was created in the late 1960s by breeding a short-tailed tabby cat to a female Siamese cat.
This breed is recognized by the International Cat Association and was the foundation stock of cats with naturally short tails.
What Do You Call The Tails When Looking for a Bobtail Kitten?
If you are looking specifically for a bobtail cat of any sort, you should learn about the terminology for the tail lengths so you can be aware of their appearance before looking at them.
A rumpy Manx has no tail at all and the rumpy riser has a tiny bone where the tail should usually be.
Short-tailed cats are called stumpies and long-tailed cats are longies, looking just like the tails of any housecat which can still come from two cats breeding when each has a short tail or no tail.
Most all American bobtails have very short tails and they are usually very healthy. However, cats with no tails in any breed are predisposed to spinal problems.
If you are searching for a bobcat-looking housecat for your family, you will be pleased to know that you can find one in the Manx or the American bobtail, as well as some that are not registered breeds, but they do have bobtails of different lengths.
Bobtail cats and kittens are available in many different colors and color combinations, so you are sure to find one you will fall in love with.