Editor’s note: This story originally appeared in the May/June issue of Catster print magazine. Click here to subscribe to Catster magazine.
A large Maine Coon cat named Spock made the news recently because so many people who saw him in the window of his San Jose, California, home mistook him for a bobcat (Lynx rufus), a wild species native to North America and found in many types of habitats.
It’s not unusual to see bobcats in urban areas, as they are highly adaptable. They can be seen prowling highly developed areas, such as the Hollywood Hills and Griffith Park in Los Angeles, and they also inhabit woodlands, swamps, and semidesert areas. For shelter, they are fond of rock cliffs, ledges, brush or log piles, and hollow trees.
It’s easy to see how people might mistake a large Maine Coon such as Spock for a wild cat. The 27-pound Spock, who measures 4 feet from nose to tail tip, is a bit larger than some bobcats — their weight typically ranges from 15 to 40 pounds depending on their sex (females are smaller) and the area in which they’re found.
The bobcat’s appearance includes, of course, that eponymous bobtail. It’s distinctive for being tipped with black only on the top side. The species name “rufus” refers to the bobcat’s color, which ranges from beige to brown with dark-brown or black spots or lined markings.
Bobcats have pointed, black-tipped ears with tufts of black fur, ruffs on the side of the face that resemble sideburns, and distinctive black bars on their front legs.
Bobcats are not considered threatened, and the International Union for Conservation of Nature lists the cats as a species of least concern. They can be legally trapped for their fur, however, and increased demand from China worries conservationists, who fear the cats could become overhunted.
Do you think Spock looks like a bobcat? See more of this great kitty on his Facebook page.