Pet Bobcat Legal and Illegal States 2024

The Bobcat is a medium-sized cat that lives throughout North America. They are listed as 'Least Concern' on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List, meaning they are not critically endangered. Bobcats, which are about twice as big as a domestic cat, may look cute and cuddly, but these wild felines are actually fierce predators that can leap as far as twelve feet to catch prey.

A pet bobcat

Nevertheless, Bobcats are kept as pets by many people in the United States, even though it is widely advised they shouldn't be kept as pets. In many cases, people who have kept a Bobcat as a pet described the feline as highly affectionate. In addition, they are said to have a bond with their owners and can coexist with dogs, which makes them great pets for the right owner.

However, before considering a pet Bobcat, you may want to know if it is legal in your state. While it is legal to own a pet bobcat in a few states without a permit, many states do require a permit or registration. In other states, it is totally illegal to keep a Bobcat as a pet. So if you are considering a pet Bobcat, you'll find out in this article whether or not it is legal in your state.

4 States in Which Pet Bobcats are Legal To Keep as Pets

As of January 2023, only four states allow Bobcats to be kept as pets without a permit. In these states, bobcats are deemed suitable pets. These states include:

  1. Alabama
  2. Nevada
  3. North Carolina
  4. South Carolina

16 States in Which a Permit is Required To Own a Pet Bobcat

In sixteen U.S. states, you need to obtain a special permit to own a pet Bobcat. This permit or license could be subject to housing inspections to ensure your future pet is living in the right conditions and with the right owner. In the state of Florida, for instance, a property of at least 2.5 acres is required to apply for a Class II license to own a pet Bobcat.

The states wherein a permit is required to own a pet Bobcat include:
  1. Arizona
  2. Delaware
  3. Florida
  4. Indiana
  5. Maine
  6. Mississippi
  7. Missouri
  8. Montana
  9. North Dakota
  10. Oklahoma
  11. Pennsylvania
  12. Rhode Island
  13. South Dakota
  14. Texas
  15. Wisconsin
  16. Wyoming

31 States in Which it is Illegal To Own a Pet Bobcat

As of January 2023, it is illegal to keep a Bobcat as a pet in the following states, according to World Population Review
  1. Alaska
  2. Arkansas
  3. California
  4. Colorado
  5. Connecticut
  6. District of Columbia
  7. Georgia
  8. Hawaii
  9. Idaho
  10. Illinois
  11. Iowa
  12. Kansas
  13. Kentucky
  14. Louisiana
  15. Maryland
  16. Massachusetts
  17. Michigan
  18. Minnesota
  19. Nebraska
  20. New Hampshire
  21. New Jersey
  22. New Mexico
  23. New York
  24. Ohio
  25. Oregon
  26. Tennessee
  27. Utah
  28. Vermont
  29. Virginia
  30. Washington
  31. West Virginia

Owning and Caring for a Pet Bobcat

Domesticated Bobcats are deemed exotic animals in most states. Acquiring a Bobcat kitten in the US can cost you anywhere from $900 to $2,500. If you are considering a pet Bobcat, you must be willing to fully expect behavioral problems like spraying and aggression and the need for outdoor enclosures. In addition, you need to make modifications to your home to accommodate potentially destructive behavior. You should also keep in mind that pet Bobcats require specialized vets as they require a specialized diet.

In the wild, Bobcats feed mainly on squirrels, rabbits, hares, and rodents. As pets, Bobcats need to be fed a researched raw food diet. Further, indoor and outdoor housing is required for Bobcats. Bobcats may be affectionate, but these felines can be feisty at times or have bad bathroom habits. To avoid this, Bobcat owners should have a safe place for their animals to retreat so they can have their own space. Moreover, exotic cats generally need a designated space.

Bobcats' Lifespan

On average, Bobcats live for up to 10 years in the wild and up to 25 years in captivity. The longest a wild Bobcat ever lived was 16 years. The oldest captive Bobcat on record was 32 years old. In 2016, a bobcat named Rufus died at the age of 22 at a California zoo.

Bobcat Alternative

A Pixie-Bob Cat
A Pixie-Bob Cat

In case you love the Bobcat but it is illegal in your state, you should consider the Pixie-Bob Cat, a breed of domestic cat claimed to be a cross between a Bobcat and a Domestic Shorthair. This unique-looking feline is known for its playfulness and friendliness.

Videos of Bobcats as Pets


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