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Baby Bobcat: Facts, What They’re Called, & Pictures

Baby bobcats are called kittens. For the first three months, they are completely dependent on their mom. They grow up quickly and become efficient hunters around the age of eight months.

Bobcats look somewhat similar to large housecats. The same goes for baby bobcats.

As housecat kittens, they are born helpless, not able to fend for themselves. So they have to be cared for by their mother.

But what do they really look like? And what are they called? That’s the topic of this article.

What Are Baby Bobcats Called?

Baby bobcats are usually called kittens, but the term “cubs” can also be used.

The term “kitten” comes from your average housecat’s babies. While “cub” is generally used for big felines, “kitten” is often used for smaller felids like bobcats, lynxes, ocelots, and others.

What Do Bobcat Kittens Look Like?

Bobcat kittens look similar to domestic cat kittens. They are larger than a kitten of the same age. Not knowing their age it might be hard to tell the difference. To tell them apart it’s best to use their distinct characteristics, like the short stubby tail.

Bobcat kittens look a bit like a housecat’s kittens.

They are born small, blind, and covered in fur. They have a slightly fiercer appearance when compared to their domestic counterparts, and can be aggressive towards humans.

Related: What Do Bobcats Look Like?

What Do Bobcat Kittens Look Like
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How Big Are Baby Bobcats?

Bobcat kittens are about double the size and weight of an average domestic cat, at around half a pound. If you know their age you can easily see that they are much bigger than cat kittens of the same age. 

They have fuzzy, “wild” fur that makes them look bigger and scarier too, though they are still small.

What Color Are Baby Bobcats?

Like adult bobcats, their kittens have the same coat colors, ranging from a tan-brownish color to a darker brown or reddish-brown color. Kittens, like adults, have dark streaks and spots, which serve as camouflage, all over their bodies.

How To Tell Bobcat Kittens Apart From Housecat Kittens

Bobcat kittens look similar to some domestic cat kittens. You can tell the difference by their tail. Bobcat kittens have short, stubby tails. They are also bigger than cat kittens and have messier fur.

Bobcat kittens can have a striking resemblance to domestic kittens. Because of this, there have been cases when people took them home as pets

This is how you can tell apart bobcat and domestic cat kittens:

  • Bobcats have a short stubby, wild-looking tail.
  • They have black ears with a white spot on them, that look like eyes (Called “ocelli”)
  • The streaks and spots they have are usually darker and contrast better
  • They have facial markings similar to tabby cats but darker
  • Small tufts of fur on the cheeks and ears
  • Fur looks “wilder”, less refined than a domestic cat’s

It’s important that you make sure not to take bobcat kittens from their mom by confusing them with a cat. Look for the distinctive bobcat tail and the ocelli.[1]

How To Tell Bobcat Kittens Apart From Housecat Kittens
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Baby Bobcat Growth & Development

As wild animals, baby bobcats grow up fast. They are dependent on their mother for the first three months but start hunting on their own after six to eight months. After that, they start looking for their own territory and mate.

This is how kittens behave at different times in their life:

After birthTotally dependent on mother for warmth and food. Can’t see yet.
8-12 days oldThey open their eyes and start to see.
2 months oldKittens slowly start exploring their surroundings. They are weaned and start eating solid food.
3-5 months oldThey start traveling with their mother, she teaches them how to hunt.
8-11 months oldThey start being independent and they leave their mother’s range in search of their own.

When Can Baby Bobcats Eat on Their Own?

Bobcat kittens are weaned around the age of two months. After this, their mother starts bringing them solid food. 

At this point, they still aren’t able to fend for themselves as they can’t hunt. They slowly learn over several months until they are around eight months old and they can catch prey by themselves.[2]

How Long Do Bobcat Kittens Stay With Their Mom?

Kittens can stay with their mom for up to a year in some areas. How long they stay depends on a number of factors like climate and how late they were born.[3]

When Can Baby Bobcats Hunt by Themselves?

Baby bobcats start learning how to hunt at around five months old. How long it takes them to get used to the hunt and reliably catch prey depends on their size and talents. 

They master hunting at around eight months old to a year, and shortly after that leave their mother’s range.

When Can Baby Bobcats Hunt by Themselves
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What Do Bobcat Kittens Sound Like?

Bobcat kittens can sound similar to domestic cat kittens, but there are also differences. Like domestic cats, they meow for their mothers. They can also hiss and growl. They don’t sound exactly like domestic kittens, the noises they make being a touch more gravely and rough.

Baby bobcats make a variety of sounds:

  • Meows: They meow from birth to attract their mother’s attention
  • Cries: Similar to meows, used when hungry or scared to attract their mother
  • Growls and Hisses: They can also hiss and growl from a young age, like domestic kittens they use them to try to be intimidating
  • Barks: The characteristic cough-bark that they make is used for intimidation, as a defense mechanism
  • Screams: Bobcats generally only “scream” when looking for a mate

What Do Baby Bobcats Eat?

Baby bobcats drink their mother’s milk until they are big enough to switch to an adult’s diet of meat. When they start hunting, they will first hunt small rodents, insects, and reptiles.

Bobcat kittens don’t eat meat until they are around two months old. They are dependent on their mother to feed them with her milk. 

After they are weaned their mother brings them pieces of meat and small prey so they can get used to it. They slowly transition into the carnivore diet of an adult bobcat.

Dangers to Bobcat Kittens

Bobcat kittens have a dangerous upbringing, like most other young animals facing many different difficulties. The smaller they are the more vulnerable. They can die as a result of many factors, including hypothermia, starvation, predation, and because of humans.

Neglect or Abandonment

Baby Bobcat Neglect or Abandonment
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Baby bobcats are very vulnerable to the environment, especially right after being born. They can’t regulate their own body temperature. 

If an inexperienced bobcat female leaves her kittens alone for too long hypothermia can kill them.


Kittens need food regularly to survive. If they don’t eat enough their growth can be stunned or they can die. 

The abundance of prey is one of the most important factors in kitten survival rates. More kittens die when prey is scarce. The experience of the mother comes into play too as a younger one can make more mistakes and doesn’t hunt as effectively.[4]


Bobcat kittens are more susceptible to predation than adults. Baby animals are easier to catch, especially when they are alone. 

They can be taken by a number of bobcat predators, even ones that don’t target adult bobcats like the great-horned owl. 

Coyotes, wolfs, foxes, hawks, owls, bears, and even other male bobcats can kill kittens.

Disease and Parasites

Bobcats, particularly kittens are affected by parasites and diseases. It’s not known what effect this has on the mortality rates of kittens but it might influence other factors like starvation.[5]

The Human Element

Baby bobcats are not directly hunted by humans, unlike adult specimens. Human activity affects the lives of baby bobcats in other ways, such as pollution and loss of habitat.

 One study connected the increase of mange-caused deaths in bobcats to feeding on poisoned rat meat.[6] Bobcats catch and eat poisoned rodents, and even bring the meat to their kittens.

What Time Of The Year Are Baby Bobcats Born?

Baby bobcats are usually born from March to July, but the exact time of year varies depending on the weather and region.

The time of the year in which kittens are born varies from region to region. They are generally born in April or May but can also be born in June and July. 

The birth of bobcat liters varies wildly and can sometimes happen as late as October.[7]


Baby bobcats are called kittens or cubs. They are completely reliant on their mother when born, being blind and having no means of defense. They grow up quickly and after eight to twelve months they strike out on their own.


When Do Bobcats Have Babies?

Bobcats start breeding in their first two years, females usually in the first and males in the second. Mating generally happens during February and March but can occur much later. Sixty to seventy days after breeding the kittens are born, this can happen anywhere from April to October.

How Many Kittens Do Bobcats Have?

Bobcat litters range from one to six kittens. The litters are usually around two to four kittens with the average being three.

Are Baby Bobcats Dangerous?

Baby bobcats can give you some pretty mean scratches but it’s unlikely that they hurt you badly. Keeping them as pets is still dangerous, they are wild animals and can be unpredictable.

Do Baby Bobcats Have Long Tails?

No, baby bobcats have the characteristic short and stubby tails of adult bobcats.

About Codrin Frunzete

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