Home /


/ Bobcat Sounds: What Does a Bobcat Sound Like? (w. Video)

Bobcat Sounds: What Does a Bobcat Sound Like? (w. Video)

Bobcats make a variety of sounds, even though they are generally quiet animals. They hiss, growl, and produce blood-curdling screams. They make sounds as a response to their environment and threats.

Bobcats, like other animals, make a variety of sounds. They hiss and growl to try and intimidate other creatures. 

They also meow, bark, and can scream or yelp when they feel threatened.

If you want to learn when and why bobcats make these sounds, as well as what they mean, keep reading this article.

What Do Bobcats Sound Like?

Bobcats sound like large housecats. They make the same types of sounds as cats, but because they are bigger, their vocalizations are more powerful and deeper. Not all bobcats make the same sounds: some bark and others meow.

Bobcats sound similar to domestic cats. The variety of sounds they make is also made by pet cats, although they sound different.

Bobcats have a rougher, wilder sound. They are louder and sound fiercer than cats thanks to their size.

Not all bobcats make the same kind of sounds. Their “voices” can be different, but while some make certain sounds like barks or yelps others don’t.

What Sounds Do Bobcats Make?

Bobcats make many sounds, including hisses, growls, snarls, meows, barks, and more. They even howl, screech, or scream at times. Roaming around the wilderness at night you can sometimes hear a bobcat’s scream, similar to that of a child or a woman.

Bobcats make a lot of sounds, often compared to those of cats, dogs, foxes, and other similar animals. 

Their screams are even compared to a crying baby or screaming woman.

Their sounds are generally split into the following categories:

  1. Meows and chirps
  2. Hisses, growls, and snarls
  3. Barks
  4. Screams, screeches, and yelps
  5. Yowls and howls

1. Meows And Chirps

The meows bobcats make serve the same purpose as domestic cats. Meows are a cry or a request for attention. A chirp sounds like a bird chirping but it’s used like a meow.

Ault bobcats don’t meow as much as pet cats. Bobcats don’t have anyone to demand food from, so they don’t meow. But they do chirp.

Bobcat kittens meow a lot. This is one of the ways they attract their mother’s attention. When they need food or feel in danger they meow and momma bobcat shows up to help.

Not all meows are the same. They also do the same silent “meow” that domestic cats make sometimes, especially when resting or walking.[1]

2. Hisses, Growls, And Snarls

Bobcats hiss, growl, and snarl when trying to intimidate others and defend themselves. They especially do this during meals or when facing bigger animals. 

These sounds are used interchangeably and often occur in the same situations.

Hisses, growls, and snarls are associated with spitting to deter animals from approaching. They are not sounds meant to show aggression towards something. They are used for defense.


Hissing is a prolonged “s” sound that most felines make. It’s used by bobcats as a defense mechanism to try and scare things they consider dangerous.


A growl is a low, guttural sound that many animals make to show aggression or to defend themselves. Bobcats growl defensively. They keep dangers away by showing their willingness to fight.

Bobcat kittens also growl. They growl when playing or wrestling with their siblings or when they feel threatened.


Snarling is a step up from growling, used if the growls and hissing don’t scare the dangers away. A snarl is a growl but with a show of teeth, and sometimes snapping.

If ignored, snarling escalates to a physical confrontation. Bobcats will defend themselves by attacking, especially if they feel cornered.

Baby bobcats also snarl at each other, and even at their mom while playing.


Bobcats make a cough-bark sound. They forcefully expel air in short bursts. It is a distinct sound that can be mistaken for a deer’s threatening snort.

This sounds different from dogs’ barks. 

Bobcats’ bark is used as a normal form of communication, and many bobcats “bark”. It acts like an alarm to alert other animals of another predator’s presence. It is also used when they feel threatened.[2]

3. Screams, Screeches, And Yelps

Bobcats’ scream is a very distinct sound. They mostly scream during mating season as males fight more this time of year. Screaming is normal “courtship” behavior for bobcats.[3]

The scream, or the higher pitched screech, is one of the scariest sounds you can hear when alone in the wild. It resembles a horrifying scream of a woman or child.

Yelps are essentially a short scream. Bobcats yelp and scream for a number of reasons, including when threatened or in relation to mating.

When bobcats feel threatened, a yelp or a scream acts similarly to a bark. It alerts nearby animals that a predator is nearby.

It is also used to try and intimidate the danger from further away than a growl or snarl.

4. Yowls And Howls

Yowls and howls are different from screams. Like pet cats, bobcats howl when they are distressed. If they are hurt and in pain, you can hear a yowl that is similar to a prolonged meow.

Female bobcats also yowl and howl to call their children if they can’t find them. They use these calls to find each other in the few social interactions they have.

Baby Bobcat Sounds

Baby bobcats, or kittens, make the same sounds as adults. They meow and howl for their mom and they growl and snarl at one another while playing. The sounds they make are similar to domestic kittens, but with deeper vocalizations.

Baby bobcats make the same sounds as adult individuals, but not always in the same situations.

Here are the sounds bobcat kittens make and when they make them:

SoundWhen They Make It
Meows and chirpsTo attract their mother’s attention, mainly at feeding time
Cries or howlsWhen feeling in distress and calling their mom
Hisses, growls, and snarlingWhen playing with each other and their mother
Barks, screams, yelps and moreAs they grow they start making the same noises as adults

While they sound similar to domestic kittens it’s important to remember that baby bobcats are still wild animals and can be dangerous.

Why Do Bobcats Scream?

Bobcats scream during mating season to attract mates and scare off the competition. They also scream when threatened, acting as a cry for help from other bobcats or animals. Males scream when fighting.

Bobcats males scream a lot around mating season. Screams are used by bobcats in courtship rituals and when fighting.

Bobcats also scream when feeling threatened. When they feel the presence of a predator, a scream acts as a call for help and an intimidation attempt.

Why Do Bobcats Scream

Do Bobcats Scream At Night?

Yes, bobcats scream at night. They are usually most active at night and around the twilight hours so this is when they are generally heard.

Do Bobcats Make Sounds While Hunting?

No, bobcats don’t make sounds while hunting. They are ambush predators. Stealth is important for their success. They even step in the same places to actively avoid making noise.

There aren’t any reasons for a bobcat to make sounds while hunting. They need to be sneaky to make sure they catch their prey by surprise.

Bobcats even walk in their own tracks (they step in their front paw track with their back paws) to make less sound and leave fewer tracks.


Bobcats are quiet hunters, but they can be very loud, especially when mating or feeling threatened. They make a variety of sounds from hissing and growling to screaming depending on the situations they find themselves in.

About Codrin Frunzete

Looking for something?

Try searching our website!