Bobcat VS House Cat – What Are the Major Differences?

Bobcats (Felis Rufus) may be practically present in every habitat. In their native habitats, they avoid human contact and isolate themselves.

Domestic cats and bobcats have a close relationship. That’s why it’s not unusual for domestic cats to have tufted ears, bobbed tails, or spots, bobbed tails, like bobcats. Nonetheless, how can you tell the difference between a bobcat VS housecat?

Let us closely examine these two feline species and draw factual conclusions on their noticeable distinctions.

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What Is The Difference Between A Bobcat And A House Cat?

We have listed some of the differences below.

  • Bobcats have spots almost all of the time. The spots can appear as misty freckles or leopard-like rosettes.  Furthermore, bobcats can have primarily solid hair with belly markings. Bobcats seldom have completed white or black fur and never exhibit tabby stripes. 
A bobcat with leopard-like rosettes and a short tail

(A bobcat with leopard-like rosettes and a short tail)

  • Secondly, most bobcats have four tail bones in their tails, with some having more. Even though some house cats have short tails, bobcats’ tails are always shorter.
  • Then, bobcat tails have a black tip on the upper side (halfway) and a light or white gray underneath. It’s a trait rarely seen in domestic cats, thus being one of the best ways to differentiate between the two species.
  • Furthermore, a bobcat has black ears with white markings, which act as false eyes. The ‘eyes’ scare rivals when a bobcat crouches to feed and assist bobkittens in finding their mother by providing a visual target. Bengals and Savannah cats have these characteristics, making them different from other house cats.
A Bengal cat

(A Bengal cat)

  • Lastly, a bobcat’s legs and jaws have more clear muscles than those of domestic cats, which are slim and smooth.

Would A Bobcat Kill A House Cat?

Bobcats rarely kill house cats since they’re feline compatibles. They hunt, capture, and eat varied mammals like deer and tree squirrels. Often, they’ll also hunt domestic pets such as dogs, rabbits, and goats.

A bobcat with prey in the mouth

(A bobcat with prey in the mouth)

Like all cats, they have sharp teeth and claws that can do some damage and move quickly and deftly.

Both bobcats and domestic cats obtain calories, minerals, and other food types from the meat of different species as obligate carnivores. Recently, there has been a rise in bobcats attacking pets due to the change in their natural ecosystem and human population growth. As a result, the fast and athletic felines find it easy to attack unattended cats or dogs within small fencing.

Even though they don’t usually go after people, they can be dangerous to livestock, including goats, lambs, cows, and horses. 

Can Bobcats Be Domesticated?

No, you can’t domesticate a bobcat since It will always have wild tendencies, much like any feral cat.  Some weirdos can sometimes sell kitties they call “bobtails” even though they aren’t that. A real bobcat is cute and fun, although it’ll probably turn on a friend or member of your family at some point.

Some laws have forbidden owning a real bobcat, and owning one can incur huge fines and have the animal taken away. The animals should ideally live in the wild, and no one should interbreed or catch them to make products for sale.

Bobcat family in the wild

(Bobcat family in the wild)

Domestication implies that passed-down traits in animals are moved from parents to children over many generations. It has nothing to do with taming a pet.

Bobcat VS House Cat: Can Bobcats Breed With Domestic Cats?

Yeah, housecats and bobcats can breed together (though often unintentionally) to produce a baby called a pixie bob.

A pixie bob kitten

(A pixie bob kitten)

A pixie bob is a half-wildcat that shouldn’t ideally stay indoors as a domestic cat. They can be loving and loyal, but since they only bond with one individual, we would not recommend having one as a pet.

Even though there’s no relation between house cats and bobcats, there are several hybrids between house cats and other wild cats. Likewise, there are hybrids of cats in multiple lineages, like the pumapard. It means that the chances of a housecat bobcat hybrid are significant. 

Interbreeding is very unlikely because bobcats usually treat domestic cats the same way coyotes or wolves treat domestic dogs.

Bobcat VS House Cat: How to Identify Bobcat Tracks?

First and foremost, figure out if the track belongs to a dog or a cat. 

To distinguish between the two, know that for feline tracks,

  • There’s equal width and length or even broader than tall tracks.
  • They seldom show claw marks since cats have retracted claws. The heel pad has three lobes in the back and two in the front. 
Cat footprints

(Cat footprints)

Bobcat tracks are about two inches long and bigger than a house cat’s. Additionally, their rear feet are slightly smaller than their front feet. Bobcats walk sideways and in a straight line so their back feet land within their front paw prints.

The best time for tracking is in winter.

Bobcat VS House Cat: What domestic cat looks like a bobcat?

A bobcat has an almost similar appearance to a bobtail domestic cat though they aren’t a mix of housecats and bobtails.

Bobtail domestic cat

(Bobtail domestic cat)

Bobtail domestic cats didn’t come from a real bobcat. Instead, their existence was due to interbreeding a housecat and a wild cat with bobtail genes from its ancestors. 


To conclude, with the information in today’s post, we hope you’ll be able to tell if a bobcat is nearby. Despite the wild felines having minimal attacks on domestic cats, the latter can be easy prey if the bobcats are nearby. 

As a parting shot, remember to check our website for more educational topics about cats.