Bobcat in snow- US Fish and Wildlife (public domain)

CLICK TO PLAY BOBCAT SOUNDS (MP3) Expressive growls made by an individual bobcat- copyrighted by Lang Elliott, used by permission. See his website at

Bobcats exist in Connecticut, but are rarely seen. They are the only wildcat known to be living in the state. These beautiful cats have tawny fur, white underneath, with faint to more distinct spotting. There are black bars on the legs and tail. They have ruffs of fur along their cheeks and each large ear has a white patch on the back and a small "lynx tip" of black fur at the apex. These cats have long legs and short tails around 6 inches long. Their retractable claws measure about 3/4 inch. They weigh 14 to 29 lbs.

Bobcats used to range throughout the continental US, and still can be found in most regions although populations are now spotty. They are no longer found in parts of the midwest where heavy farming has removed most of their habitat. In Connecticut most Bobcats live in the state's northwestern corner but there are populations throughout the state. Bobcats prefer scrub and brushy areas or regions with intermittent forest. They may be found near farmland, in wetlands, and in dry rocky or brushy land. Bobcats are mostly nocturnal in the warm season, but it is not uncommon to see one about in daytime, especially when a mother is hunting for her young kittens in the spring. In the winter they will be active both in the day and the night.

Bobcats are carnivores. They prey on smaller animals such as mice, voles, birds, and squirrels but are more predators of medium-sized prey such as rabbits, hares, woodchucks and raccoons. Deer are hunted only rarely and then usually very young or very weak animals are taken. Very infrequently a Bobcat will take poultry or other small domestic animals. After eating their fill, Bobcats will cache a larger kill by covering it with leaves and vegetation and return for future meals.

Bobcats mate in New England beginning around February but breeding can continue into May. A litter of 2 to 4 kittens is usually born in April to May, ocassionally late-season litters can be born through the late summer. Bobcats are polygamous and the mother cares for the babies alone. They will stay with her for almost a year.

Bobcats use a den for raising kittens and use more temporary dens for resting places throughout the year. The family den is lined with dry leaves or grasses and is often in a cave, rock crevice, or hollow log and may be reused for multiple seasons.

Bobcats are solitary except during the breeding season and for mothers with young. Resting den sites can be rock ledges, brush piles, hollow trees or other natural shelters. Bobcat territories here in the Northeast will range from 8 to 20 square miles. Bobcats can swim.

Bobcats are usually quiet, but they can make sounds. The vocalizations made by Bobcats include meows, growls, snarls, hisses, yowls, caterwauls, squalls and screams. A piercing scream of a Bobcat can sound like a woman screaming. They are particularly noisy when mating when the cacophony can be amazing and sound like the animals are killing each other.

Bobcats are shy and elusive. People rarely observe them.

Neat Fact

One way to distinguish Bobcat tracks from those of pawed predators such as coyotes and foxes is to look for impressions made by claws at the toes. Bobcats, like most felines, have retractable claws and the clawmarks are not visible in the track. Their tracks will also be more rounded than those of canids and are much larger than those of common housecats.