New Jersey Lady Can Keep Her Bobcat

A pet bobcat
“Rocky” — Photo:Tanya Breen, Asbury Park (N.J.) Press
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I am not sure how this situation started but what we do have is a lady, Ginny Fine, who is looking after, what appears to be, a purebred bobcat named “Rocky” (update: Rocky escaped – animal control stepped in). And, as I understand it, in New Jersey, it is illegal to keep a purebred bobcat. The state-by-state laws about keeping wild cats in America are a bit of a mishmash and as a result it is difficult to discover clear information about what is illegal and legal with respect to an individual person’s rights with respect to owning a member of the wild cat species.

Nonetheless, in this situation, we have a cat which to all intents and purposes is a bobcat because he or she looks exactly like a bobcat, which I presume has caused some consternation amongst the lady’s neighbours, which in turn appears to have resulted in her being hauled into court.

As part of the court proceedings a DNA test was carried out on the cat. The test determined that the cat’s mother is a bobcat. The test was unable to determine whether the cat’s father is a bobcat. As a consequence, you will see in the video below, that the judge decided that he is unable to determine that the cat in question is a purebred bobcat and in which case the lady’s ownership of the cat falls outside of the current legislation of New Jersey with respect to the keeping of member of the wild cat species. This in turn means she can take the cat home provided proper facilities are in place and provided she is aware that the situation could change if it is determined in the future that the father is a bobcat making the cat in question purebred. That is my reading of the situation having watched the video.

Sarah Hartwell of (and myself!) has stated that it is possible for an American bobcat to mate with a domestic cat to create a hybrid. I am sure that this is a very rare occurrence. Perhaps in this instance, somebody has put forward the possibility that the cat in question may be a bobcat hybrid. This may have been presented to the judge in the lady’s defence. It appears that her lawyer or herself has stated that the cat in question is a bobcat/Maine Coon hybrid. I presume the cat is somewhat domesticated.

Looking at the cat, as mentioned, I do not see, on a cursory glance, even a glimmer of a Maine Coon in this cat. With wild cat hybrids you expect to see, in the appearance of the cat, a part of each cat. That appears not to be apparent in this individual cat. I’m happy to be corrected if I am wrong. The lady was surprised that she was allowed to keep her bobcat.

1 thought on “New Jersey Lady Can Keep Her Bobcat”

  1. I’m, indeed, no expert.

    But, I went to several sites to get a real good look at Rocky. Naturally, I adore him.

    My opinion is that Rocky is a full bobcat. The entire 38 pounds of him is classic bobcat.

    I would be a little inclined to say that he need not be in captivity if it weren’t for the facts that he has been neutered and declawed. It’s not safe for him to be in the wild at this point.

    I hope all works out for Ginny and Rocky, because any other outcome for him would be horrid since he can’t be turned loose. It would, probably, be a zoo or euthanasia.


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