Hybrid animals are largely a myth, but some of those myths are based in reality. Most hybrid animals that we know of don’t produce viable offspring, and if the offspring even live, they’re usually sterile. But that hasn’t stopped the mystique of a hybrid companion animal from attracting customers worldwide.
The idea that your cat could be mixed with a bobcat is an unusually attractive feature for some people. Some folks want to have a cat that is more in tune with its wild ancestors, and since Bobcats are so prevalent in North America, it makes sense that these are the cats these fanciers look up to.
There have been a scant few companion animals with notable bobcat lineage, but that hasn’t stopped fancier from fantasizing about the idea of having a bobcat for a pet. Here are some signs that your cat may be mixed with bobcat lineage.
What Is a Bobcat?
“Bobcat” is the colloquial name for the Red Lynx or the Lynx rufus. They’re endemic to North America and can be found everywhere from Southern Canada down through most of contiguous America.
Bobcats can be identified by their iconic striped legs, spotted bodies, and black-tipped short, stumpy tails. The Bobcat is thriving in its original habitat range but can be susceptible to extirpation by domestic animals and coyotes.
They generally hunt rabbits and hares but have been known to hunt insects, small deer, chickens, geese, birds, and small rodents when necessary. They mark their territory using claw marks and deposits of urine and feces.
Is It Legal to Own a Bobcat Hybrid?
If you have a genuine bobcat hybrid, rest assured that your cat won’t be taken from you. However, you may have to fill out some extra paperwork and get specific testing done to ensure that you haven’t kidnapped a bobcat and taken it home.
Additionally, you can’t own a genuine Bobcat. If your cat is tested and is genetically 100% a bobcat, your cat will be taken from you, as it’s illegal to own one.
Rocky the (Possible) Bobcat
Rocky was one such “hybrid” owned in New Jersey. His mitochondrial DNA test showed Bobcat heritage, and his mother’s DNA test showed that she was 100% Bobcat. However, since his father’s DNA could not be tested or found, he was allowed to live at home due to this technicality that the state couldn’t prove he was 100% Bobcat.
However, due to his enormous size and tendency to escape and cause trouble, he has been moved to the zoo, where they will care for him with the necessary knowledge to care for such a large cat.
Pixie-Bobs are a cat breed that is supposedly a long-lasting line of bobcat hybrids. Legend has it that these cats result from an accidental litter of kittens between Pixie, a barn cat, and a Bobcat.
While it’s unclear if this legend is true, one thing is for sure: Pixie-Bobs look remarkably similar to Bobcats, and maybe that’s enough for some aspiring Bobcat parents.
The 2 Signs Your Cat May Be Mixed with a Bobcat
You can most easily tell if your cat might have some wild heritage through their physical appearance and behavior. While you could have their mitochondrial DNA tested, a negative test would break the illusion, and a positive test could result in your cat being relocated to the zoo. So, it might be worth it to just stick to what you can see.
If you picked up your cat off the street, there is a chance that your cat is a hybrid since Bobcats can be found almost everywhere in the United States of America.
Is it likely? No. Bobcats tend to avoid human civilizations and rarely interact with other animals except to hunt them. It’s highly unlikely that you have a Bobcat hybrid in your possession as those cats probably live in the wilderness away from humans.
Still, you might see some physical or behavioral traits that show some fight in your kitten!
1. Physical Traits
Bobcat kittens are easily double the size of a normal kitten, for starters. Though the term “big cat” doesn’t refer to size, Bobcats are notably larger than domestic cats, and if you notice that your cat is freaking massive, that might be a sign of wild heritage in their veins.
Additionally, Bobcats sport a distinctive spotted coat with striped legs. These stripes will be visible even on kittens. So, if your kitten is rocking those distinctive leg stripes, they might have some Bobcat heritage.
Ear and paw tufts are other excellent indicators of Bobcat heritage, especially on cats with shorter fur. While long-haired cats have been known to sport ear and paw tufts, these are traits associated with cold-weather cats like Bobcats and other long-haired cats.
Lastly, look for that distinctive stumpy, black-tipped tail. No sign of Bobcat heritage can be greater than the distinctive bobbed tail they’re named for!
2. Behavioral Traits
Bobcats are not domesticated and likely never will be because their behavioral traits don’t lend well to domestication. If your kitten is overly aggressive, they might have some wild blood in them.
While domesticated kittens may still play in a way that can be seen as aggressive to humans, wild kittens tend to be highly aggressive. They haven’t been conditioned to feel safe around us. So, they lash out in fear.
Additionally, Bobcat hybrid kittens may take to water very quickly. While domesticated cats do not need to swim, Bobcats swim to hunt and travel. So, they don’t have an intense fear of water like their domesticated cousins.
The Truth About Bobcat Hybrids
Domestic cats and Bobcats are not genetically similar, even if they look like cousins. Bobcats rarely mate with domestic cats, to begin with. Rarer still are offspring produced that are viable. It is incredibly unlikely that your cat is a Bobcat hybrid and looking for one can be dangerous to the owners.
While the idea of a companion Bobcat might seem cool and unique, it’s best left as an idea.
While looking for a Bobcat hybrid in real life may not be realistic, that doesn’t mean you can’t fantasize healthily about your cat stalking hares in the wilderness. There are many signs you can look for that indicate your cat’s wild heritage, and there’s no harm in fantasizing!
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Featured Image Credit: COULANGES, Shutterstock