Can Bobcats Be Pets? – Challenges & Legalities To Consider

Keeping bobcats as pets may seem like a wild idea, but it is possible – with a catch. In many states, bobcats can be kept as pets, but numerous restrictions and regulations must be followed. If you are considering keeping a bobcat as a pet, it is essential to research and understand the legal ramifications & challenges of owning one. This blog post will explore the legality of owning a bobcat and the requirements and responsibilities involved.

Before knowing all that, you must know what a bobcat is. Then, it will be easier to understand to keep a tame bobcat and what aspects are involved in it.

Can you keep Bobcats as Pets

What is a Bobcat?

A bobcat is a small wildcat native to North America. It is typically around 2 to 3 feet long and weighs 10 to 30 pounds. Bobcats are usually brownish-gray with black markings on their face, ears, and legs. They have tufted ears, long whiskers, and short tails.

These are solitary animals, preferring to hunt alone and sleep in the branches of trees or on the ground. They feed primarily on rabbits, rodents, and birds and also eat other animals, such as frogs and fish. These intelligent and curious animals make fascinating pets for those having experience with exotic animals.

Can Bobcats Be Pets? A Legal Analysis

Are Bobcats Legal to Keep as Pets
Are pet bobcats legal? The answer is YES & NO.

Is it legal to domesticate or pet a bobcat? The answer to this question is yes and no, like the question can bobcats be pets? Keeping bobcats as pets in all states is illegal, but it is allowed in some. In the United States, there are currently 17 states that will allow people to own Pet bobcats with proper permits.

However, even in those states that allow people to hold bobcats, some specific regulations and requirements must be met before obtaining a license. In some states, such as Nevada, you can get a permit from the state’s Department of Wildlife and Fisheries.

In other states, such as Texas, possessing a bobcat for a pet is illegal without a permit from the state’s Department of Natural Resources. Moreover, some states may also require additional licenses for hunting or trapping.

It is important to note that many of these permits are temporary and must be renewed annually. Some states also have regulations regarding the age of the bobcat, as well as where it may be kept and how it must be transported. Before attempting to acquire a bobcat as a pet, it is essential to research and understands your state’s laws and regulations.

What States Allow Bobcats as Pets?

bobcat pet legal states
Various US states allow you to pet a bobcat but you need to follow some requirements.

Bobcats are legal to keep as pets in some states, but it depends on your particular state’s regulations. In most cases, you will need a special license or permit to keep a bobcat as a pet. While some states may allow for the possession of a bobcat without any restrictions, others might require you to have an appropriate enclosure and abide by specific animal welfare regulations.

In many states, buying or selling a bobcat is illegal, so it must be rescued or acquired through private individuals.

States such as Wisconsin, Alabama, Texas, and South Dakota allow bobcats to be kept as pets if you possess the proper permits. However, keeping them as pets in other states like California and Arizona is illegal. Some states also restrict the ownership of certain breeds of bobcats due to their aggressiveness.

If you want to own bobcats as pets in your state, it’s essential to research the specific regulations that apply to your area. Contact your local animal control agency or fish and wildlife department for more information about bobcat ownership in your state.

What Are The Requirements For Keeping A Bobcat As A Pet?

Following are some requirements for owning bobcats:

Requirements For Keeping A Bobcat As A Pet - Infographics
Requirements For Keeping A Bobcat As A Pet – Infographics

Have a valid license:

To own a bobcat, you must obtain proper permission. The rules and regulations for obtaining consent differ from state to state. You must ensure that you are aware of the legal requirements in your state.

Acquire appropriate housing:

It would help to have an enclosure big enough for your pet bobcat and plenty of room to move around and play. The section should be safe, secure, and well-maintained.

Provide an adequate diet:

It is essential to provide your bobcat with a good diet. This includes a variety of proteins, fruits, vegetables, and other essential nutrients. Make sure that the food you give is age-appropriate.

Appropriate socialization:

Bobcats require regular socialization with other bobcats and humans. This will help them become comfortable around people and other animals.

Veterinary care:

Bobcats should receive regular veterinary care like any other pet. This includes vaccinations, check-ups, and treatments for any health issues that may arise.


Always supervise your bobcat around other animals and people. Bobcats can be unpredictable, so ensuring everyone is safe and protected from potential harm is essential.

Let us explain the above points along with some other crucial aspects in detail as follows:

Challenges of Keeping a Bobcat as a Pet

Challenges of Keeping a Bobcat as a Pet  - infographics
Challenges of Keeping a Bobcat as a Pet – infographics

Keeping a bobcat as a pet comes with its own set of challenges. Not only are they wild animals and can be difficult to care for, but most states also have legal implications and regulations that must be followed when keeping one as a pet. Bobcats are very active animals, and their needs are much different from that of a domesticated cat.

Additionally, since bobcats are predatory animals, it is essential to understand their instincts and behaviors to ensure their safety and the safety of those around them.

Pet Bobcat Diets

A bobcat’s diet should consist of small prey items like rodents, reptiles, birds, amphibians, and fish. It is essential to ensure that the food is properly balanced and that the animal receives enough nutrients. Ideally, domesticated bobcats should be offered a variety of proteins, fats, vitamins, and minerals in their natural diet.

This can be done by providing commercial cat foods, raw meats, and vegetables. You must also provide plenty of clean water for your pet bobcat. Monitor your pet bobcat’s weight and look for any signs of malnutrition or health problems.

Pet House for a Bobcat

Housing arrangements for keeping bobcats
Housing arrangements for keeping bobcats.

A bobcat needs a safe and secure home to thrive. Depending on your local regulations, you may need to provide a large outdoor enclosure for your pet bobcat. This will give them enough space to move around and protection from potential predators.

Suppose you live in an area with extreme weather conditions, like cold winters or hot summers. In that case, you may need to provide additional shelter or bedding materials to keep your pet comfortable.

Invest in a large, sturdy cage to keep your bobcat indoors. You’ll want one tall enough for your bobcat to stand in, wide enough to move around, and strong enough to hold your pet’s weight. Be sure to line the bottom of the cage with absorbent materials, like shredded newspaper or sawdust, to keep it clean and hygienic.

Place several comfortable blankets inside for your pet to sleep on and some scratching posts or toys to keep them active and entertained.

Providing your pet with plenty of fresh water and food is also essential. You can find specially formulated cat food for bobcats at most pet stores, and make sure that the food is easily accessible for your pet. Finally, add a litter box to your pet’s home and regular cleaning to maintain a healthy environment.

Precautions with Kids & Family

It’s important to remember that bobcats are wild animals; even if you have one as a pet, it is still a wild animal. As such, it is essential to use extra caution when bringing young children or other family members around a pet bobcat. Bobcats may act differently in response to loud noises or sudden movements.

If you have young children in the home, teaching them how to interact with the bobcat and closely monitoring their interactions is essential. Always supervise interaction between your pet bobcat and other family members, and ensure everyone follows the same safety rules.

Why You Must Understand Bobcat Temperament

Bobcats are wild animals
Bobcats are wild animals and solitary in nature.

Bobcats are wild animals with distinct personalities and behaviors that can be difficult to understand. For this reason, it’s essential to understand their temperament before deciding to adopt them.

Bobcats are timid creatures and may be easily frightened by sudden movements or loud noises. They are also very territorial, so you will need to provide them with enough space and hiding places so that they feel secure. Bobcats should be provided with enough stimulation like toys or puzzles and human interaction to stay healthy and happy.

Bobcats are naturally curious, so it is essential to ensure their environment is safe for them to explore. Supervising them closely is also necessary to ensure they don’t get into trouble. Additionally, it’s important to remember that bobcats are solitary creatures by nature, so you should refrain from attempting to house two bobcats together.

Bobcats have solid predatory instincts, so keeping them away from other animals, such as cats, dogs, and birds, is essential. They also need to be socialized correctly to be comfortable around humans. With the proper care and training, bobcats can make excellent pets, but it’s essential to understand their behavior and temperament to provide them with the best home possible.

Vet Care for Bobcats

If you are planning to keep a bobcat as a pet, it is essential to understand the necessary veterinary care they require. Bobcats should be taken to a licensed veterinarian for their shots and annual physical exam. A vet will check the cat’s health and ensure they are up to date on vaccinations.

Additionally, they can provide treatment for any medical conditions that arise, such as parasites or infections. It is also essential to be aware of potential risks from wild animals and to ensure your bobcat has been vaccinated against any diseases that could be present in the wild.

Finally, regular check-ups and veterinary appointments will ensure your bobcat remains healthy and happy throughout their lifetime.


For shelter, bobcats prefer wooded areas with dense vegetation, thickets, and rocky crevices.

It is possible to house-train or tame a bobcat, but it can be challenging as they are independent and stubborn creatures.

The cost of keeping a bobcat can range anywhere from $2,000 – $4,000, depending on the breeder and location.

Bobcats are usually solitary animals except during breeding season.

Final Verdict

The bottom line is that while keeping a bobcat as a pet is possible, some stringent laws and regulations must be followed. Depending on the state you live in, you may need to get special permits or licenses to own one. Additionally, it would be best if you must be surface of the resources and knowledge necessary to care appropriately for the animal being said; if you can meet all the requirements and provide a safe and loving home for a bobcat, it can be a great exotic pet.

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