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Are Bobcats Dangerous & Do They Attack People?

Bobcats are dangerous, but not to humans. Bobcats are some of the most versatile and practical hunters in their environment. They rarely attack humans but are dangerous to pets and anything they consider prey.

Like most other wild animals, bobcats have an innate fear of people. Humans are dangerous to bobcats, regularly hunting and trapping them for their fur.

Bobcats are generally not aggressive to people, but they can be violent when defending themselves or when they are affected by diseases.

In this article, you’ll learn how to avoid bobcat attacks, protect your pets, and what bobcats hunt.

Are Bobcats Dangerous?

Bobcats are dangerous animals, like all other wild cats. But they do not attack humans. You still shouldn’t try and touch one. Bobcats can take down prey much larger than themselves, so they are stronger than they look.

Bobcats are effective predators. They hunt and catch prey much larger than themselves, like deer and even elk.[1]

They usually aren’t a danger to humans, as they avoid us as much as possible. Attacks from bobcats are so rare that they are almost unknown.

They are only aggressive towards us when they feel threatened or if they have rabies.

Dangerous Bobcats

Bobcats With Rabies

Bobcats don’t normally attack humans, but one of the most common reasons for an attack is rabies. Bobcats with rabies lose their self-control and will lash out violently, even at humans.[2]

99% of rabies causes are lethal once symptoms show up. If you have had an encounter with an infected animal, you need to seek medical attention immediately.

Cornered Bobcats

Cornered animals, especially predators such as bobcats can be dangerous. Even if it’s almost impossible for a bobcat to kill a human, it can badly hurt you. 

They won’t actively look for humans to hunt, but that doesn’t mean bobcats don’t defend themselves when they feel threatened.

A female with kittens will also try and defend its kits as much as possible, so don’t try to pick up bobcat kittens.

Are Bobcats Friendly?

No, bobcats are not friendly to humans. Bobcats are wild predators and actively avoid contact with other species. They can be dangerous to us, even if raised in captivity. Bobcats are shy and elusive. They prefer being alone and avoid humans whenever they can.

Bobcats aren’t friendly. They are wild animals and avoid contact even with their own species. 

They are solitary predators, so it’s in their nature to keep away from other creatures at least if they are not prey.

While not recommended, bobcats are sometimes kept as pets. But even when they seem friendly, they can change in an instant. They are very different from domestic cats and are much more dangerous when they turn aggressive.

Are Bobcats Friendly

Are Bobcats Aggressive?

Yes, bobcats are aggressive towards their prey or threats. It is unlikely for them to act aggressively toward humans unless provoked. They can be aggressive towards pets, like cats and smaller dogs, because they see them as prey.

Bobcats are predators. Aggression is in their nature. But this is mainly towards their prey, as they tend to keep away from humans or other predators.

They are shy and elusive ambush hunters that pounce and kill smaller and medium-sized animals.

Do Bobcats Attack Humans?

Bobcats virtually never attack humans. They avoid people as much as they can and will stay out of our way. 

There are no know fatalities caused by bobcats, and attacks are rare. Domestic dogs and coyotes are more likely to kill someone than bobcats.[3]

So while bobcats can attack people, it rarely ever happens. When an attack does happen, the biggest risk is getting rabies.

Do Bobcats Attack Pets?

Yes, bobcats do attack pets. They often kill domestic and stray cats and are known to attack small and medium-sized dogs. While they are not a danger to us, bobcats can be lethal to pets.

In the wild bobcats prefer hunting small to medium animals like rabbits and other rodents. 

Many of the animals they hunt in the wild are similar in size to some of our pets, so bobcats see them as an easy meal.

Bobcats have adapted very well to living close to humans. They steal food from our yards, especially pet food that has been left outside. They also attack pets and domestic animals if they see an opportunity, seeing them as potential prey.[4]

Do Bobcats Attack Pets

How To Avoid a Bobcat Attack

Prevention is key to avoiding a bobcat attack. Don’t hike alone at night or during twilight hours, and be mindful of your surroundings. If you happen to see a bobcat, back away slowly. Don’t turn your back on the animal. Be as loud as possible and make yourself look bigger.

Bobcats are unlikely to attack you. But if you encounter one on a hike, you should act as follows:

  • Don’t move closer to the animal.
  • Back away from it slowly.
  • Don’t turn your back on the bobcat.
  • Maintain eye contact with it.
  • Be as loud as you can.
  • Make yourself look bigger (Raise your hands; Stretch your clothes; etc.).

Bobcats are generally not aggressive towards humans so they are easier to intimidate than the much larger mountain lion.

If you go for a hike, try to avoid doing so at night. Bobcats prefer being active when it’s dark or twilight.

What Do Bobcats Hunt?

Bobcats hunt small to medium-sized animals. They prefer rabbits and other rodents but are opportunistic and will catch prey they can easily find. They even attack pets and domestic animals as large as sheep and goats.

Bobcats are ambush predators that generally prefer hunting for small or medium mammals, reptiles, and birds.[5] 

Their preferred prey across most of their range is rabbit, either snowshoe hare up north or cottontail rabbit in the south.

They catch smaller animals quite easily and do so regularly. If the prey is scarce, bobcats are known to hunt deer and elk, though they usually hunt juveniles of these species. 

They eat as much as they can from those larger animals and hide the rest so they can return later.

Apart from wild prey, pets and livestock is also targeted by bobcats. They usually attack smaller animals and juveniles, as they easily kill poultry, lamb, and kid goats. 

Bobcats living closer to human farming areas adapt and prey more on domestic animals because it’s easier.

Pets also fall victim to bobcats. Cats, small dogs, birds, and others are caught and killed by bobcats. They see pets as easy meals and will snatch cats from backyards as happily as hunting rabbits.

What Do Bobcats Hunt

Can You Tame Bobcats?

Bobcats can never be fully tamed. They are wild animals and their wild tendencies will show even if you raise them as kittens. They can be legally kept as pets in some places, but it’s not a good idea to do so.

Bobcats are wild animals. No matter how tame they seem, they will never be as predictable or tame as domestic cats. 

Keeping them as pets easily turns dangerous.

Some states in the US are more permissive than others in allowing you to keep bobcats. Even if it is legal, it does not make it a good idea. 

Bobcats are bigger, fiercer, noisier, and more unpredictable than a housecat. They also need a lot of space and a diet of raw meat.[6]


Bobcats are dangerous predators, but they are not a real danger to humans. They hunt pets and livestock but avoid contact with people directly. There has never been a fatality as a result of a bobcat attack, as this elusive feline does not see us as food. They will however come into our yards and take whatever food we leave outside.

Bobcats are great hunters and aren’t particularly friendly. They will thankfully avoid contact with humans as much as they can, and in case of a confrontation, they are unlikely to badly hurt us.

While they can be kept as pets, this isn’t the best idea, as they are wild animals and their instincts easily take over. They can easily turn aggressive towards their “owners” and other pets.


Can Bobcats Kill Humans?

No, bobcats can’t kill humans. They can hurt you if they feel cornered or they have rabies, but there are no known deaths as a result of bobcat attacks.

Are Bobcats Afraid of Humans?

Yes, well maybe not afraid but they avoid us as much as they can. They are shy and elusive hunters and they don’t see us as prey.

Are Bobcats Dangerous to Pets?

Yes, bobcats can be dangerous to pets. They are known to hunt cats and smaller dogs and can even hurt bigger ones. They are powerful wild animals and you shouldn’t let your pets interact with them.

Are Bobcats Dangerous to Toddlers?

Yes, bobcats can be dangerous to toddlers. While it’s unlikely bobcats can attack children playing in backyards or on hikes. A bobcat is capable of badly hurting or even killing a baby or toddler. Keep watch over children playing outside.

About Codrin Frunzete

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