How to Tame a Wild Bobcat


Everywhere I’ve lived, there have been bobcats living near home. They are common, though not seen all that often. I’ve also written about them before.
Bobcats are totally gorgeous felines. Their fur is usually tawny to grayish in color, with spots or elongated markings, and in the wild, this cat often grows double the size of a very large house cat. It should never be forgotten that they are wild animals. However, there are ways to tame bobcats.

Bobcat age

One of the top considerations is how old the bobcat is. Even young ones that are only a month and a half old are likely to scratch and hiss at first and their claws and teeth are quite sharp. The older they become, the harder it becomes to tame them. Even older animals can be tamed, though, with enough patience.

Bobcats require the same basic things that any feline would need. Physically, those needs are something to eat and drink, and shelter. It goes well beyond that, naturally. Like most other kittens, as they grow, they need attention and love.

There are many people who believe that love is a human emotion and that we are simply imagining its importance for animals. They obviously haven’t observed cats very closely if they believe this. Mother cats, bobcats included, lavish attention on the young. The attention and love is almost constant as long as the kitten is growing up.

Love and attention is a key for taming bobcats of any age. The young just tend to respond to it more quickly to it, because they tend to be more trusting. As with feral cats, a measure of trust is needed for the animal to become tame.

The right attitude

This falls in line with the idea of giving the cat plenty of love. Even older animals respond to it, they are simply more cautious and it usually takes longer. Trust must be earned, both for the wild cat and the human.

In many places, a three year old bobcat has already learned to distrust humans because of hunting pressures and other man-caused activities. Teaching the cats that not all people are the same can take some time and patience.

The kittens, lacking the experience, adapt more readily, though they are in no less danger if they roam freely. They could even be in more danger, because they can go the other way, trusting all humans, including those who wouldn’t hesitate to hurt or kill them.

Feeding bobcats

Part of the establishment of trust is in giving them food. These are cats that eat virtually anything a domestic cat would eat, and perhaps more. Giving them high protein foods that they enjoy, and letting them eat in peace, can calm them in a hurry. After a time, a person can even sit near the bobcat, making no rapid movements. Soft and reassuring sounds or talking can help. A person is showing them that there is nothing to fear, and the animal can usually sense the intent.

This can evolve into a light pat or petting, never trying to grasp the creature or making them think that the actions aren’t genuine. Touching or stroking the cat at this time does another thing. It leaves a your scent on them. They are normally protective of food, but if a person shows them that there is nothing to fear, that the food is safe and allowing the animal to be able to get the scent as they clean their pelt, the fears can rapidly dissolve.


Bobcats are creatures of the wild, used to ranging freely, coming and going as they wish. They can adapt to home life, but it must be gradual so they never feel they are being confined. With powerful muscles, great hunting instincts and sharp claws, this cat can easily shred any furniture or people who get in the way of getting free. Even with part bobcats, try to always remember that they are usually born free and they will strive to return to it.

That doesn’t mean that they won’t quickly come to love the ‘easy life’, where they have plentiful food, shelter and water. Still, don’t deprive them of freedom. The object is to tame them, not to control them. This is yet another kindness they usually understand. The more kindness and understanding that is shown, the more the wild cat will come to trust and love the person.

This feline is common in forested regions of Oregon and Montana, and several people have raised mixed breed bobcats in the state, confirmed by DNA and other testing. A few people have even cared for pure-bred bobcats. Here in Montana, a family that lives less than 10 miles from my home has bobcats, rabbits, chickens and horses. As unlikely as it might sound to have the wildcats around rabbits and chickens, the tamed and well-fed bobcats cause no harm at all to the other animals. They are, however, fierce protectors of the home and this is one place intruders should stay clear of.

Taming bobcats, both full breeds and mixed breeds, can and has been done many times. It takes a little knowledge, a lot of patience and some understanding about the animal, but it sure isn’t impossible.




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