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Are There Wild Cats in Nevada? What to Know!

Luxifa Le

By Luxifa Le

close up of a bobcat

Domestic cats are a popular household pet across the United States, and Nevada is no exception for feline lovers. However, with domestic cats come the feral cats that result from overbreeding of domestic pets either accidentally or on purpose. Nevada is also home to two wild cat species, the bobcat and the mountain lion. Read on to learn more about the cats that call Nevada home!

Feral Cats: Are They a Problem in Nevada?

While they are present, feral cats have not been noted as an outstanding problem for Nevada’s wildlife. Their introduction is almost certainly a negative for the ecosystem at large. Still, it has not presented Nevada’s wildlife organizations with any significant trouble, perhaps because of Nevada’s rather harsh climate.

The Nevada Humane Society’s “Community Cats Program” focuses on a trap-neuter-return method of controlling the state’s feral cat population and has thus far been relatively successful at keeping the feral cat population under control.

feral cat hiding from human
Image Credit: dimitrisvetsikas1969, Pixabay

What Wild Cats Can Be Found in Nevada?

Nevada is home to two native wild cat species, the bobcat and the mountain lion. While both are present in the state, it’s important to remember that sightings of these animals remain rare. The endemic wild cats of America are somewhat elusive animals that prefer to make their homes as far away from humans as they can. Let’s take a look at these two cats.

Mountain Lions

mountain lion resting
Image Credit: 3031830, Pixabay
  • Species: Puma concolor
  • Range: Western North America, most of South America
  • Conservation Status: Least Concern

Mountain lions, also known as cougars or pumas, are big cats that are endemic to North and South America. Mountain lions used to be present in all contiguous North America south of the Arctic. Still, its populations in the Eastern part of the United States of America have been hunted to extinction.

Mountain lions remain a common part of the ecosystem in Western North America and Canada, throughout Mexico, and most of South America.


Florida bobcat
Image Credit: William Falla, Shutterstock
  • Species: Lynx rufus
  • Range: Contiguous USA, Southern Canada, Mexico
  • Conservation Status: Least Concern

Bobcats are also found in Nevada, as they are in all the states of the contiguous United States of America. They are best known for their short, bobbed tails, and long face fur. Bobcats are very shy cats that stay well away from human society.

Humans very rarely see both bobcats and mountain lions. Even while enjoying outdoor activities, the chance of encountering a bobcat or mountain lion remains slim. The prospect of an encounter drops further if you’re in a developed area, as both bobcats and mountain lions shy away from human civilization.

What to Do If You Encounter a Wild Cat

Should you encounter a wild cat while partaking in outdoor activities, you should keep a few tips in mind. Here’s how to stay safe during a wild cat encounter.

1. Don’t Run Away

feral cat outdoor
Image Credit: Dimitris Vetsikas, Pixabay

If you run, you may accidentally trigger the cat’s prey drive and cause them to chase you. Don’t make any sudden movements. Move slowly but deliberately.

2. Don’t Turn Your Back to the Wild Cat

Keep facing the wild cat and back away slowly. Don’t turn your back to the cat until it’s lost interest. Putting more distance between you and the cat will encourage it to move on and find something new to entertain it.

3. Make a Lot of Noise or Throw Water at It

a feral cat lying under a car
Image Credit: dimitrisvetsikas1969, Pixabay

Wild cats don’t like water much more than domestic cats do. If you have water, throw water at it to spook it. Additionally, make as much noise as you can. Call your mother-in-law and start an argument. Loudly discuss your weekend plans with the fir tree next to you. Discover your passion for mariachi trumpets. Most likely, any of those will frighten the cat, and they’ll leave you alone.

Final Thoughts

Whether endemic or invasive, wild cats can be a problem for anyone. These tenacious little monsters will destroy anything in their way when they’re determined. Luckily, neither feral nor wild cats have gotten out of hand in Nevada, and the Nevada Humane Society is taking care of the feral cat population like their own!

Featured Image Credit: xivic, Pixabay

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