Bobcats can be found in almost every state in the nation, but they are very elusive creatures and the chances of seeing one in the wild are relatively low. Some domesticated cats bear a striking resemblance to housecats, and it may leave cat owners wondering how to tell if their cat is mixed with a bobcat.
Bobcat & Domesticated Cat Hybrids
The most important piece of information to keep in mind is that the interfertility between a domesticated house cat and a bobcat has yet to be scientifically proven. There have been reports of possible breeding between house cats and bobcats, but the evidence is circumstantial and anecdotal.
To this day, there are no confirmed cases that have been genetically tested and proven. A DNA test is the only way to determine the genetics of your cat. While it is highly unlikely any bobcat DNA would show up on a test, you can still learn some interesting information regarding your cat’s ancestry.
The bobcat is a wild cat native to North America. Their range extends from southern Canada, throughout the United States, and even into some parts of Mexico. They are very elusive creatures that are rarely seen by humans despite having a wide range and large population.
The name bobcat comes from their tail that looks as though it has been cut or “bobbed,” the tail also has a distinct black tip. Bobcats have long legs and very large paws. They are typically brown or brownish-red in color with white underbellies and have tufted ears. Their body is patterned with darker spots that tend to be more visible near the lower body and limbs.
Bobcats are medium-sized and can weigh anywhere from 9 to 40 pounds and stand 12 to 24 inches at the shoulder, with male specimens being much larger than females.
The bobcat is exclusively carnivorous like all species of cat both wild and domestic. Bobcats are highly evolved hunters that feed on rabbits, rodents, birds, fish, insects, and even lizards. These ambush predators have been known to take down larger prey as well, including deer and foxes. They have even been recorded preying on domesticated dogs and cats if the opportunity presents itself.
Though bobcats roam much of North America, they are very elusive and seldomly seen. These cats are nocturnal and adapt well to very diverse habitats including forests, deserts, swamps, mountains, and have even made their way into suburbia.
Bobcats are solitary creatures except during mating season. They are typically most active beginning at dusk, throughout the night, and into the early dawn. Their territory is maintained through marking, with males maintaining territories double or triple the size of their female counterparts.
Bobcats share their habitats with other predators such as foxes, coyotes, wolves, mountain lions, ocelots, and the Canada lynx.
Housecats Resembling Bobcats
You may not be able to have a bobcat-domesticated hybrid but some cats bear some resemblance to these beautiful wild predators that lurk among us.
If you own a Pixie-bob, you own the closest domesticated cat resembling and possibly bearing relation to a bobcat. The Pixie-bob is a breed of domestic cat that is claimed to be a naturally occurring hybrid between domesticated cats and bobcats, however, DNA testing has failed to detect bobcat genetic markers and therefore the Pixie-bob is left with complete domestic status.
According to the American Cat Fanciers’ Association, the Pixie-bob breeding program’s goal is to create a domestic cat that bears a striking visual similarity to the North American bobcat. They do note that no wild cats are used in the breeding program and genetic testing is completed to ensure there is no bobcat or wildcat ancestry.
The American Bobtail
Another domesticated cat that bears a significant resemblance to the bobcat would be the American Bobtail. Noted for its “bobbed,” stubby tail, this breed was initially developed through natural selection. A population of feral domestic cats possessing a natural bobtail was where it all began. Breeders worked hard to establish this breed into the Cat Fanciers’ Association-recognized breed it is today.
DNA Test Kits
If you are interested in learning more about your cat’s genetics, there are several DNA test kits on the market today that are geared specifically for cats. Not all DNA tests cover all the same bases. If you are looking into your cat’s breed history, some tests give you just that and more.
Some of these kits can test for all breed groups and breed similarities with top cat breeds as well as different genetic conditions and traits. It’s a great way for cat owners to learn more about their cats.
While bobcat-domesticated cat hybrids have been suspected, it has never been scientifically proven that bobcats and domesticated house cats are capable of interbreeding. Some cat breeds bear a striking resemblance to the bobcat, however.
If you are looking into the breed history and want a closer look into your own cat’s ancestry, a DNA test kit made specifically for cats is a great way to learn more about your feline family member.
Featured Image Credit: COULANGES, Shutterstock