Although seldom seen, bobcats are the most abundant species of wild cats in North America.
They are not very large in size, but how do they compare with other cat types?
Measuring up to four feet in length and 30 pounds in weight, bobcats are medium-sized felines larger than house cats but smaller than lynxes and mountain lions. An easy way to identify the species is by measuring the paw print size. Bobcat tracks are round, with no visible claws, and measure approximately 2.25 inches across.
The table below shows a quick size comparison between bobcats, other cat species, and humans*:
|Factors||Bobcat||House cat||Lynx||Mountain Lion||Human|
|Height||15 inches||9 inches||24 inches||30 inches||5.2 to 5.9 feet|
|Length||2.3 to 4 feet||1 to 1.25 feet||2.6 to 4 feet||3.25 to 5.25 feet||n/a|
|Weight||11 to 30 pounds||10 to 15 pounds||22 to 44 pounds||70 to 170 pounds||170 to 198 pounds|
|Paw size||2.25 inches||1.5 inches||3.75 to 4.75 inches||3.5 to 5 inches||6.8 to 7.6 inches (hand)|
*Data in the table above was sourced from scientific publications and other official sources. All data refer to average ranges for each species. For comparison purposes, we considered the American shorthair breed characteristics for the house cat column and the average height and weight of US nationals. Factors may vary for subspecies or people of other nationalities or races.
Bobcat Size & Comparison Facts
Bobcats, scientifically called Lynx rufus, belong to the same genus as lynxes.
Even though they are separate species, bobcats and Canadian lynxes are similar in appearance. The main difference between them is the size.
Bobcats are medium-sized felines about twice the size of house cats.
Like most felines, bobcats have round paws with retractable claws that don’t leave a mark on the ground.
This is an important distinction when trying to differentiate feline tracks from canid ones, such as bobtail vs. coyote or fox.
Like most cat species, bobcats are subject to sexual dimorphism, with males being around 30% to 40% larger than females.
Bobcat Size Comparison To House Cats
Bobcats are about two times larger than most domestic cats.
The American shorthair, which is one of the most common breeds in the US, can grow up to 1.25 feet in length and reaches a shoulder height of nine inches, on average.
These cats usually weigh between 10 and 15 pounds, and they don’t have long ear tufts.
Cats also have smaller paws, typically not exceeding 1.5 inches in diameter.
An exception is the Maine Coon cat breed, which can sometimes look like a miniature bobcat from a distance (depending on coat color).
Cats of this breed can grow over three feet long and reach shoulder heights up to 16 inches. The average weight ranges between eight and 18 pounds. However, larger individuals can weigh up to 35 pounds.
Telling the difference between Maine Coons and bobcats is easy, though.
These giant cats are tabbies with coat colors similar to all other tabby house cats, whereas bobcats’ fur ranges in color from buff to brown.
The coat pattern is also less visible in bobcats, often resembling a ticked tabby pattern which is specific to Abyssinian breed cats.
Maine Coons also have long and fluffy tails and ear tufts in the color of the fur. Bobcats have short tails and black ear tufts.
Lynx Vs. Bobcat Size
Lynxes and bobcats are closely related, but what people commonly call lynx is Lynx canadensis (Canadian lynx) in North America or Lynx lynx (Eurasian lynx) in Europe and Asia.
Bobcats only live in North America, and they can sometimes share a habitat with Canadian lynxes.
The two lynx species are often mistaken for one another due to their color similarities. However, Canadian lynxes are typically larger.
They can vary in size from 2.6 to 4 feet. The tail adds another four to eight inches to their length, and they typically reach a shoulder height of 24 inches.
Lynxes are also heavier than bobcats, weighing up to 44 pounds – Eurasian lynxes grow to even larger sizes.
Canadian lynx tracks are similar to that of bobcats but slightly more oval and typically measure between 3.75 to 4.75 inches across.
Bobcat Vs. Cougar Size
Mountain lions are the largest wild cats in North America – about two times larger than bobcats.
Typically, mountain lions grow to shoulder heights up to 30 inches and measure between 3.25 and 5.25 feet in length.
The tracks have a rounder shape compared to lynx tracks, measuring around 3.5 to 5 inches across.
Size aside, the difference between bobcats and mountain lions is also evident from a visual standpoint.
Cougars resemble smaller lionesses, whereas bobcats look more related to house cats than African lions.
Bobcat Size Comparison To Humans
Bobcats are the most common wild cat species in North America; yet, they are seldom seen. These cats are typically shy and avoid people.
When they feel threatened, though, bobcats can become aggressive.
Even though bobcats are large enough to cause injuries, they aren’t large enough to actually kill adult people.
Adult bobcats have canine teeth that are about one inch in length. Their claws are about the same size.
They are also about two times smaller than the average human when standing on hind legs and over seven times lighter than humans.
However, just because they can’t kill you with one bite or paw swipe doesn’t mean that bobcat injuries aren’t serious.
These wild cats can carry rabies, a virus that can lead to severe brain and spinal cord inflammation. The disease progresses rapidly, leading to coma and death.
While bobcats are larger than domestic cats – with some exceptions – they are some of the smallest wild cats in North America.
Lynxes and mountain lions are both larger than bobcats. Bobcats are also at least two times smaller than humans when standing on their hind legs.
On all fours, they are about five to six times smaller, and their rather short teeth and claws prevent them from killing adult humans in a fight. However, bobcats can transmit life-threatening diseases, such as rabies, so their injuries can be serious.