Do bobcats eat cats?

Do bobcats eat cats? This is another question that people ask on the Internet. I have to presume that “cats” means domestic cats, in which case the answer is, Yes, the bobcat is certainly able to attack, catch and eat a domestic cat. My guess is that it is rare, however, for a bobcat to attack and eat a domestic cat unlike, for example, the coyote. There are far more stories of coyotes attacking domestic cats for food than of bobcats.

Bobcats have a wide range of prey which includes domestic stock such as chickens, piglets, turkeys, sheep and goats. These are domesticated animals and therefore it is an easy step to include the domestic cat in this list.

However, the domestic cat is not mentioned as a prey item in the premium book on wild cat species, Wild Cats of the World. That said, there is a story today on the Internet about a bobcat in El Dorado County, California. The story says that the bobcat weighed 50 pounds and had killed three domestic cats.

Jeff Duke, of Nuisance Wildlife Control and Removal, said that the bobcat had come back to finish off the remains of the domestic cats that he had been killed. That implies (although it was not stated) that the bobcat had eaten part of the cats already. Mr Duke trapped the bobcat and killed him. He was proud of that. I’m not so sure that he should be proud of what he did because I do not consider the bobcat to be a nuisance as indicated in the name of his business.

The problem is not the bobcat but people letting their domestic cats go outside in an area where there was and is a possibility that a bobcat might attack them.

There is not some sort of silent, ancient agreement between all cats that they should not prey upon each other. It would be nice if there was but there isn’t. The lion, for example might prey upon a cheetah in Africa. It’s just a question of size, dominance and survival.

As I said, I have not until today read a story about a bobcat attacking and eating domestic cats. Even today’s story, the one I mentioned above, is not completely conclusive in my opinion that the bobcat ate part of the domestic cats that he had killed. My thoughts are that it is quite rare for a bobcat to kill and eat a domestic cat but it is no doubt well within the bobcat’s capabilities and desires.

A bobcat would probably consider the domestic cat a tougher animal to catch and kill than some other prey items on his menu and therefore the domestic cat will not be a priority.

Useful tag. Click to see the articles: Cat behavior

5 thoughts on “Do bobcats eat cats?”

  1. It’s not a crime to hunt bobcats, and they are out of control here in Oregon and are hard on birds such as grouse and turkey and chucklers and the cats are fun to hunt and pursue and hunters are the best control along with trappers to control predators so other wildlife has a chance to survive as well. Bobcats are able to kill and eat small deer as well. Here in Oregon we have a bad predator problem and deer and elk numbers are down because of it, due to the wolf and cougar explosions and anti hunters like you getting reasonable means of managing them curtailed. Why shouldn’t a hunter like myself be able to kill a deer and or elk to fill a freezer with quality lean meat for table fare rather than have our big game herds desiccated and wildlife managers only managing the hunter instead of managing the big game herds and being able to manage the predator

  2. I just witnessed my 15lb domestic cat go nearly nose to nose with a very large bobcat, they were less than 2 feet apart. While my cat was growling and puffed up, the bobcat was not and at that distance could have easily killed my cat. It is not the first encounter my cat has had with bobcats and it usually ends with each staring at each other from afar.

    1. Thanks for that. It’s what I’d expect. I’d expect these two species of cat to respect each other normally except under exceptional circumstances. From the bobcat’s point of view it’s foolhardy to try and attack an adult domestic cat because there is a chance of getting hurt and that may mean the gradual starvation of the bobcat.

  3. Cats aren’t a preferred morsel for a bobcat.
    Perhaps, out of desperation when rabbits, chickens, etc. are scarce, they may consume.
    A starving human has been known to consider that too.
    As for Jeff Duke, of Nuisance Wildlife Control and Removal, He can kiss my _ss!

    1. I agree! He didn’t have to kill the bobcat! I had cats killed by coyotes & as upset as I was I didn’t go hunt them down for doing what’s in their nature. I learned a very hard lesson abt predators vs. house pets. It’s safer to keep domesticated animals indoors.

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