Bobcats: Cuddly house cats or vicious carnivores?
What exactly are bobcats like in captivity? Well, since Jasper is older and our first bobcat, we don’t have much experience raising one. However, we have worked with them in the past and didn’t just jump in blindly to owning him. As with any animal, research on a pet bobcat’s care is critical for success, and we had done lots of research on bobcats, so when we were contacted about him, we knew we could provide for his special needs. As with any wild animal or exotic, please research before getting them and please make sure they are legal where you live. I haven’t created a map for pet bobcat friendly states yet, but as soon as I do it’ll go here first. If you find a wild bobkitten, please find a rehabber, do not take wild animals and try to make them your pets. .
So if you are serious about getting a pet bobcat, you need to figure out housing. In my experience, bobcats do really well outdoors, but it’s possible that you could have them both indoor and out. The thing is, both sexes of bobcat will mark, and even fixing doesn’t stop it completely. As for keeping your pet bobcat outdoors, they need a very heavy duty, escape proof enclosure. The absolute minimum enclosure size I’d recommend for a pet bobcat is 24x24x12ft as they need lots of space, and the taller the better as long as you can build them structures to play on, because what cat doesn’t like heights? Your pet bobcat’s enclosure also needs a full top and bottom of at least 8ga welded wire, and a catch door system so you don’t have any issues with escaping
Bobcats, like any cat, are obligate carnivores, meaning they only need meat in their diet, so it’s best to feed them a full meat diet. They really don’t do well on commercial food only, and while you can supplement with a good, commercial carnivore diet, some won’t eat it even if it’s offered. Therefore, a balanced raw meat diet is essential. By balanced, I mean either whole prey or around 80% muscle meat, 10% raw bone, 5% liver, and 5% other form of offal. On top of a raw diet, it’s best to give a supplemental vitamin powder, and I give several supplements, including taurine powder and wild trax powder. As with most animals, pork is one food item that should be given sparingly if at all, but otherwise bobcats can have about any meat.
Before you get a pet bobcat, it is important that you make sure you have an exotic pet veterinarian on board willing to see one. Bobcats need specific vet care, and can be a lot for a vet to handle. Veterinarians who specialize in domestic dogs and house cats won’t see a pet bobcat, nor will most exotic pet vets. Do your research, and find a vet who specializes in zoological medicine and has experience with bobcats and lynxes.
Since pet bobcats are still wild animals, they are experts at hiding their illnesses until it’s too late. Because of this, it is also important to find more than one vet if possible, in case one isn’t reachable when you need them most. If you start young and make the vet visits a positive experience with your pet bobcat, it will make visits more bearable and safer for everyone involved.
Spaying or neutering your pet bobcat is highly recommended, as this cuts down on hormonal aggression and spraying. This can be done at nine months. However, these behaviors will not stop entirely, and behaviors like territory marking should be expected of all pet bobcats.
Pet bobcat kittens should be vaccinated at 6-8 weeks with a FVRCP vaccine and receive their boosters as needed. This vaccine protects against feline viral rhinotracheitis, feline calcivirus, and feline panleukopenia. Bobcats should be vaccinated for rabies using a killed vaccine. Keeping your pet bobcat healthy requires annual vaccines as well. Ensure you keep your pet’s vaccines up do date with yearly rabies and FVCRP vaccines.
Do not declaw your pet bobcat. Declawing any kind of cat is the equivalent to cutting your own fingers off to the first knuckle. Declawing bobcats leads to a lifelong disability, a lower quality of life, chronic pain, and an increased risk of obesity due to losing the ability to properly exercise. If you do not want a pet bobcat with claws, then you do not want a pet bobcat at all.