Can bobcats be black?

Yes bobcats can be black but they are very rare. I think there have been twelve reported sightings, the majority in Florida. A better description is ‘melanistic’ which is more like dark charcoal. Bobcats can’t be a jet black.

Melanistic bobcats have been reported by:

  • FA Ulmer Jnr in Melanism in the Felidae, with special reference to the genus Lynx. J Mammal 22: 285-288 – in 1941
  • TW Regan and DS Maehr in Melanistic bobcats in Florida. Fla. Field Nat. 18: 84-87 in 1990

Ten black bobcats have been reported in Florida. Oswald McFadden trapped a rare black bobcat on Christmas Day near Cocagne, in southeastern New Brunswick, Canada. This cat is the one in the photo above. You can see that he is not jet black but a nice solid black nonetheless.

Below is another snapshot of a black bobcat taken in Texas and uploaded to

Black bobcat

Black bobcat. Photo taken in Texas by Reddit reader.


Useful tag. Click to see the articles: Cat behavior

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Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 74-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in many jobs including professional photography. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare. If you want to read more click here.

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15 Responses

  1. Albert Schepis says:

    To see this cat again is such a treat. What an awesome looking cat. I’d give just about anything to hang out with this guy.

  2. Sarah says:

    I currently have a black Siamese bobcat kitten. I do have to say she is very different. She is very full of energy and loves to climb everything. But at times she is my terrorizor and other times she is my sweet princess.

  3. Dee (Florida) says:

    In all of my years and adventures here in Florida, I’ve never seen anything close to a black bobcat.
    I suppose it’s possible that I did but I never recognized one as a bobcat.
    If I had come across the cat in the second pic, I wouldn’t have seen a bobcat, because the jaw and ears aren’t what I have grown to expect.
    The second cat looks like he has a left ear tip also.

  4. Albert Schepis says:

    Interesting in another way too, that the cat appears to be conscious in the first photo. No matter when it was taken it’s okay with being handled, which is remarkably tame for a wild cat. I’d like to hear the story behind that, out of curiosity. Beautiful cat!

  5. Frances A Danna says:

    Very Interesting article. I love black cats. Bobcats intrigue me. I have never seen a bobcat here east central in Florida, but I have read that they are in every county in the state, just very elusive.

  6. Johnny says:

    Really interesting. I’ve actually never even seen a bobcat before!

  7. Eva D.R. Force says:

    WOW_this cat looks like the wild cat that mated with my ragdoll wild mix in Florida 18 years ago*Bur he had dark markings with the dark coat.

    Mama cats name was Robin and I had to literally abduct her away from him by ingenuity and sheer force. Robin had one large Kitten I named SAMSON* He was spotted/stripped orange and white underneath and on his paws. Mama Robin was black with orange and white spots-white underneath with long fur and white paws.

    SAMSON lived 16 years* He had a long thick body and tail. He had a very robust build and a strong immune system. His mother took him out everyday when the weather was fair and taught him how to hunt. If it moved; they carried it home LOL but true !!! Eva

    • Michael Broad says:

      Hi Eva. Great comment.

    • Michael J. Lee says:

      Eva, I would be grateful if you’d share your story on my Facebook page for Texas Big Black Cats?

    • I’m pretty sure that what I saw earlier was a black bobcat. After weeding in the back yard for about 10 minutes, I walked toward the woods to dump them. That’s when I saw an animal watching me, sitting around 50′ away, which immediately leapt over branches and headed deeper into the woods. It was too tall and long for a house cat, too agile for a bear, definitely not a deer, raccoon, or dog. I didn’t notice a tail, it was long and lean like a cat, weighing maybe 30-35 lbs.

      I moved to this rural area outside Elkin, in northern North Carolina, last year and am still getting to know the “neighbors”. This didn’t freak me out, although I will be more cautious in the future. Come to think of it, there have been no rabbits in the yard for the past couple of weeks!

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