Bobcat showing his love, or possibly just tasting his next meal (video)

I’m not entirely sure if this bobcat is “showing his love,” as the video is titled, or tasting his next meal.

bobcat-loveI’m pretty sure I wouldn’t let a kid play with a wild animal that looks not so warm and cuddly anymore.

Perhaps you cat-people could weigh in, but it looks like the bobcat is marking the boy as his, no?

I still think the animal is pulling a Homer: “Mmm… boyburger…”

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Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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49 Responses to “Bobcat showing his love, or possibly just tasting his next meal (video)”

  1. Randy Dixon says:

    I’m not convinced this is love but rather dominance play..this wild animal could eventually turn on its owner.

  2. Rick Roberts says:

    This is similar to how all the animals we live with today were domesticated. Besides, a bobcat is not big enough to kill that boy. He could hurt him, yes, but not kill and eat him.

    If we did this routinely with bobcats, they would be domesticated within just a few generations.

  3. corsair82 says:

    This is incredibly dangerous. Bobcats lack the domestication bred into “house cats” over millennia of human intervention. This one is merely tame, but still quite capable of all the violence of an actual bobcat. As someone who grew up in the Northern Midwest, in bobcat habitat, I can tell you that this boy’s parents are idiots and endangering his life and safety by allowing this.

  4. cminca says:

    I didn’t mean to suggest that having a Bobcat is a good idea. Not at all.
    The cat is showing affection NOW. I agree–doesn’t mean it won’t become aggressive later. Because it is a wild animal–no matter how “domesticated” it seems.

  5. H1184 says:

    No big cats belong in homes as pets. It is simply unfair to the animals. Almost no one is prepared to properly care for them and the vast majority of their lives end in tragedy and pain. These animals are wild and deserve to be free. Obviously those reared in captivity can never be free but we can stop breeding more to live in cages. We have bobcats at our rescue center that were loved and treated well by their families but were then abandoned once they hit maturity and became more aggressive. They were the lucky ones to end up at a rescue. Far too many have much sadder endings.

  6. H1184 says:

    Bobcats can purr (as can all lesser cats) but it makes no difference. I have worked with bobcats for many years. They are NOT pets. Their basic genetic makeup makes them impossible to domesticate. I am not saying that they always turn but the vast majority of the time when sexual maturity hits they become far more aggressive. It is not about how much you love, hug, and cuddle them. It is about instinct and genetics.

  7. cminca says:

    What really surprises me about this is the cat does not seem to be purring.
    The cat is obviously showing a great deal of affection, no matter how else you interpret the “marking” behavior. I’ve had cats most of my life, and when they are in this much of a cuddle mood–they are usually purring louder than a Mack truck.

    I know most cats purr–does anyone know if bobcats don’t?

  8. evodevo says:

    It looks like a young cat to me – wait till it hits physical/sexual maturity and we’ll see whether they consider it a suitable “pet” ….. a lot changes. I also can’t tell if it’s male or female. A lot of difference there, too. And the boy may take liberties later on that don’t sit well with a mature wildcat – they don’t put up with teasing very well. Check in again in two years and we’ll see how “adorable” this is, or whether they’ve had to “donate” it to a wildlife preserve or whatever. Our redneck drug dealer neighbor kept a male lion as a druggie “watchdog” – raised it from a cub, ran around in his mobile home playing with his two-year-old daughter, etc. etc.. All was “fine” until it hit sexual maturity at the age of 4 and he ended up shooting it when it attacked him. Not a happy ending for the cat, to be sure. Wild is wild.

  9. Mary D says:

    Bobcats are fierce and dedicated hunters. Bobcats hunt small mammals, rodents (mice and squirrels) and rabbits, but they can also overpower larger animals, like deer, if food is scarce. Bobcats are most active hunting at dawn and dusk.

  10. maxstar says:

    Kitty loves the boy. The color of their fur makes them look like siblings.

  11. ebolaoutkast says:

    The cat is at least 4 years old, so that shows how much you know.

  12. ebolaoutkast says:

    Perfectly safe for a person who knows what they’re doing.

  13. karmanot says:

    Looks like the Bobcat is a zombie.

  14. Yeah I’ll have to google again what happened with S & R incident.

  15. That’s very interesting.

  16. LOL that’s funny, probably because I wrote that the cat wanted to eat him :)

  17. mirror says:

    I think the reciprocal aspect of the behavior is often overlooked, like, by me. Thanks for mentioning it. They assume you are marking them with scent from your glands too…

  18. mirror says:

    Here’s a good article on what they call “bunting behavior” that I found in the comments of the video.

    I have a cat that will do this, including the getting up on his hind legs, but he seems especially “affectionate” when it is getting close to time to eat. He used to sometimes literally grab and hold my head and lick my hair when he was younger. His forelegs are really long, but nothing like the legs on this bobcat. That grip must be really tight.

  19. ninjakiller says:

    Scent marking him is just a show of familiarity/affection.

  20. Naja pallida says:

    The vast majority of the time it’s not a matter of the “wild comes out”, but the human makes a stupid mistake. Complacency is one of the biggest problems people have around wild animals. When you analyze the behaviors involved with some of the more publicized cases of owners being harmed by their exotic pet, they’re always characterized as an “attack”, but the animal is just acting in a perfectly normal, and even predictable, manner. Which more often than not does not involve any kind of attack at all. Like the Siegfried and Roy tiger.

  21. pappyvet says:

    LOL!!!! Just under the vid is an ad that starts “Eat this never diet again .”
    John are you sure you have nothing to do with ad placement ;]

  22. smoof says:

    when you saw the video of christian the lion reuniting with the two humans that raised him after living in the wild for a year, did you think he was prepping for his next meal?

    unless they’ve declawed this guy, this is totally a display of affection because the claws are being kept safely retracted–bigger cats are more careful with their claws than small cats. lions and tigers never release their claws with each other unless they are truely fighting.

    head-rubbing is how cats show affection with each other. cats know the difference between a human’s head and it’s body, and this guy is deliberately rubbing the boys head.

    no cat no matter how small is truly domesticated–you can spot cat owners by the tell tale scratches on our hands and arms. the danger with keeping larger cats is that an irritated or playful swipe can lacerate your arm. big cats rarely mawl their human companions, if or when they do mawl a human, as boy did when he was quite old, it is almost always a stranger and due to severe stress. boy did not mawl george, he mawled one of the employees, and it was after he had been severely injured by a wild lion.

    the biggest problem with keeping a big cat is being able to afford feeding it.

    also, not all big cats are as amenable to being human companions, but some are highly amenable–wild cheetahs will bond with humans much more readily than feral “domestic” cats. bobcats are on the more difficult scale, so this is really quite amazing.

  23. The_Fixer says:

    I think there’s three things going on here.

    One is genuine affection. Notice that the cat closes his eyes while rubbing the kid. That’s a sign of affection and trust. If you want to let a cat know that you like them, slowly blink a few times and turn your head off to the side. That’s cat-speak for “I like you”.

    Another is scent marking for ownership. That’s pretty obvious, the cat is rubbing itself all over the kid.

    The third is status. Notice that the cat is trying to climb onto the kid’s head. Cats (and some other animals) equate height with status. I have had a couple of cats that would climb up on me, and actually try to stand on my head, or stand on my back, making me crouch down. It’s the same thing as when a cat sits on top of a refrigerator, or some other high place. It wants status. It’s also an advantage when it comes to spotting both predators and prey.

    Regardless, this may not end well with a wild animal like this. They can go for years seemingly domesticated, and one day, the wild comes out. When that happens, it’s not pretty.

  24. milli2 says:

    I think he’s marking his territory. Cats have glands in their cheeks and when they rub up against something with their face they leave their scent. I don’t think the bobcat thinks this boy is his next meal – the kid is way to big for that.

  25. HeartlandLiberal says:


    Cats are also very sensitive to scents. Their sense of smell is about
    200 times stronger than the human nose, and they also have the ability
    to sense pheromones with a small organ on the roof of their mouth. Cats
    also have scent glands all over their body, quite a few of them on the
    head: the forehead, cheeks, chin and lips. Other scent locations are at
    the base of the tail and along the length of the tail, on the feet and
    the flanks. When cats rub their scent glands on people, objects and
    other animals, they are transferring scent. Interestingly, some people
    have observed that cats seem more likely to mark people and other cats
    with the forehead and cheek scent glands and will mark objects with the
    scent glands on the lips and chin (called “chinning”).

    We have had domestic cats who were extreme in their behavior in this regard, very affectionate, and closely bonded.

    Still and all, this is NOT a domestic cat, and I am not sure how much longer this will be a safe behavior for a human interacting with that wild animal.

  26. lilyannerose says:

    I would interpret the behavior of the cat as instinctual as it seems to be “marking” territory.

  27. cole3244 says:

    no doubt a little cat love but its still a wild animal and raising it to be comfortable with humans isn’t doing it any favors.

  28. Jim Olson says:

    Yes, we live only to serve them. All hail our Feline Overlords.

  29. Jim Olson says:

    If Nasdaq and Sushi nose and head rubbed you, they thought you were ok. Not bad for someone who doesn’t think of himself as a cat person.

  30. Jim Olson says:

    This appears to be a juvenile animal, who is clearly bonded with this teenager. An unwise pet, even if raised from a very small kitten by humans. They’re still ‘wild’ animals; without the fight or flight bred out of them as with many domesticated cat species. This one seems to be pretty well adjusted, but when he’s full grown, he’s a 40 lb cat with razor sharp claws and teeth that can snap through that kid’s arm bones quicker than anything.

  31. BeccaM says:

    It’s Kitteh-speak for, “Hey, I kinda like you. Here’s some of my corner-spit, which means you’re mine. I’ll take some of your smell with me, too. That means we’re buds.”

  32. Bomer says:

    If I remember right he passed away from old age.

  33. Or it’s a ruse to lull you into a sense of security before they take a swipe at you!

  34. OMG, what finally happened to it?

  35. Oh, I figured it was more the marking thing, like I own you – rather than I like you. Chris’ cats used to do that to me, so I guess I was cat-loved.

  36. Bomer says:

    It was one of the perks of living in the sticks in Southern Arizona. My great-grandmother had a pet javelina that thought it was a dog and loved doughnuts.

  37. pappyvet says:

    My cat Uncle Fester has no problem whatsoever with the question of who is the pet. And it aint him.

  38. BeccaM says:

    Neat! I’m jealous.

  39. Bomer says:

    Yup. One of my cats does this to me all the time. My parents had a bobcat when I was little. It used to sleep in my crib and let me carry it around the house (okay, more like drag) and never once hurt me even when I tripped and fell on it.

  40. pappyvet says:

    Tastes like chicken?

  41. judybrowni says:

    The wild animal thing does seem a big risk, but one commenter explained.

    “he is trying to show other bobcats that he is part of his family. If a cat rubs his face onto you, he is both giving you his scent and getting yours on him. Cats do this when they meet other cats that are in their family. It’s also a sign of affection.”

  42. EdA says:

    It looks to me a cat showing affection and “marking.” But I don’t think that keeping wild animals at home is such a great idea, for either people or animals.

  43. BeccaM says:

    Couple observations: (1) That bobcat is behaving like it was raised domestically from a kitten — not unlike the way a raccoon can and will be quite affectionate if domesticated. (2) The bobcat may have been showing affection, but that rubbing of the side of the face is also a way of establishing ownership. Many felines will do that, including the conventional wee kittehs.

  44. BeccaM says:

    He’s crepuscular.

  45. Indigo says:

    What a cuddly kitty! A little feral, perhaps, but a kitty nevertheless. My dog (now deceased) had a feral cat friend I suspected was a bobcat but the two of them got along well enough.

  46. alleydog says:

    Not Sure who said it first. Might have been Steven Wright. If a dog licks you they’re saying “I love you! I love you! I love you!” If a cat licks you they’re checking to see if you’re done yet.

  47. Dave of the Jungle says:

    Such foolishness.

  48. Reasor says:

    Serpentine, Babou! Serpentine!

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