How To Tell a Cat from a Bobcat

How To Tell a Cat from a Bobcat

How To Tell a Cat from a Bobcat


Domestic Cat in TreeI get emails like this a couple times a week, so I thought maybe people searching the Internet for answers might be able to find this page on their own.

Is this a bobcat? My pitbull attacked the Bobcat while it was busy mating with a domestic cat. I thought it was a house cat till i ordered my dog off it then this massive cat rose up and made a God awful growl before running up tree. Where as i took these pictures keep in mind that is a big oak tree it is up in.

Can you identify it from these pics.  Thanks  D”

Domestic Cat in Tree

My Response

It is a domestic cat. It has a ringed tail, that is too long to be a bobcat. The face is fluffy, but not the typical ruff style of the bobcat and the muzzle is not as square as a bobcat. Urban myths notwithstanding, there has never been documented proof of bobcats mating with domestic cats.

Domestic Cat in TreeIf you call your local humane society and tell them there are cats mating in your yard and you want a rescue group to come trap and fix them, they can usually help. Your dog saved a litter from being conceived last night, but the cats will just find a more quiet spot.  Carole Baskin, CEO of Big Cat Rescue”


What Bobcats Look Like

Below is a photo of two native Florida bobcats.  The one on the left is a “red” bobcat and the one on the right is a “blue” bobcat.  Their coat colors can run anything between the two.



Blue and Red Bobcats

More about bobcats here:


AdvoCat 2015 01

AdvoCat 2015 01

Happy Valentine’s Day 2015

…and AdvoCat MewsLetter

Valentine's Day Coupon

New Store is a Much Better Shopping Experience


Find out why people who are shopping in our new online store are loving it!  We’ve had an online store since the beginning of online stores, but as soon as this one launched last week our sales went through the roof. Check it out to see how much easier it is to find the purr-fect gift for others or yourself and how easy it is to check out.  Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, so you will want to make sure your order is placed in time for that grrrreat gift to arrive.

Give a wild gift this Valentines Day to your sweetheart that will make them roar with gr-r-ratitude!

Coupon Code: BIGCATLUV15 is good for 15% off orders totaling $50 or more. Offer valid 1/28/15 – 2/9/15. Offer only good for first 100 customers to use the coupon code.

We also have these Valentine’s Day products in the shop


Big Cat Updates


Ariel Bobcat Has Been Approved for Longterm Care

The Florida Wildlife Commission agreed to let Ariel stay at Big Cat Rescue in January 2015. Now we will begin working on gaining her trust and making her a part of our happy wild cat clan.


Nikita Tiger has Passed On

Nakita Tiger had been on the observation chart since last March for wheezing. For a long time, he only did it when he was super excited at dinner time, but gradually wheezed more with less activity.  We have tried everything possible to help him, but nothing has helped.

He was too large for any of the local X-ray machines and too sickly to make a 5 hour round trip to Gainesville.  As soon as the new X-ray machine was operational and registered he was X-rayed, and blood drawn and Dr. Wynn and Dr. Justin took another look at his laryngeal folds, which were totally paralyzed. His kidneys were completely shot and had the worst kidney stones I have ever seen. His lungs were in very poor shape. He was crippled from his arthritis. He had refused most food for the past 5 days. Euthanasia was clearly the most humane option for him.


Zeus and Keisha Tigers Introduced

Zeus and Keisha Tigers

Zeus and Keisha are inbred.  Zeus was bred to his own mother to produce Keisha.  This unhealthy and unnatural inbreeding is unfortunately common among private breeders.  They lived next to each other at the awful place in NY that they came from, and have lived next to each other since they arrived here. We noticed that when we separated them to give them each a turn in hte big vacation rotation enclosure, they called back and forth to each other repeatedly across many acres.  We decided then that we would neuter Zeus and try to introduce them to live together. That way they can vacation together too.  See the photos of this introduction here:


Alachua Bobcat has Passed On

Alachua Bob was taken to Ehrlich Animal Hospital to see Dr. Wynn. He had been eating very little for the past few days. Blood work showed that he had high elevations in his kidney values, as well as a high white blood cell count which would indicate either infection or cancer. He had ulcers in his mouth caused by renal failure, as well as stomach ulcers. In addition his pelvic canal had healed narrowly from being hit by a car before he first came to BCR and had arthritic changes that were leading to him being very constipated. With all of these factors stacked up against him and the fact that we think he was 27 years old, euthanasia was the kindest option for him.  When he arrived here in 2003 he already had the teeth of a very old cat and was nearly blind with cataracts.


Simba Leopard Recovering After Amputation

On the day after Christmas, Simba, our 20 year old leopard, bit off the end of his tail. We didn’t see it happen, but he was fine at 9 am and by 9:30 am he was missing more than 6 inches of his tail. There was no sign of a struggle at any edge of the cage, and there had been keepers in the area, so we were dumbfounded.  Find out what happened next:

See photos of the cats getting K-Laser therapy, loading Simba for the MRI trip, big cats getting Christmas Trees and more here:



Sanctuary Updates


Small Cat Vacation Rotation

Thanks to the generosity of so many of you we have raised enough funds to build the small cat vacation rotation enclosure.  The issue now is cage design.  Current Floriday Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) caging rules require a roof for small cats.  However, the FWC is currently reviewing their caging rules and taking public comment and you can help.

We believe that the style of cage we built for the large cats would be far more than adequate to contain small cats.  The cage is over 14 feet tall with an additional 5 foot cantelever and a one foot drape at the end.  It would have the wonderful advantage of letting the small cats see the open sky instead of viewing it through cage wire.

The FWC is taking submissions from the public about changes that should be made in Florida’s wildlife rules from now until May.  We will wait until the new rules are finalized bevore building the new vacation enclosure in hopes that the FWC will approve the style we built for the large cats.

Here is how you can help:

Go to this link  You don’t have to be from Florida or even the U.S.

In the body of the message, please add this language:  

In addition to ending cub handling, I’d like the FWC to adopt the cage style used at Big Cat Rescue for their Vacation Rotation cage for all species of wild cats.  It’s almost 15 feet high, with a 5 foot cantilever and then a 1 foot drape from the top peak.  All of the materials are 9 gauge wire or stronger.


Windsong Memorial Hospital

Thanks to some AMAZINGLY GENEROUS donors and the many of you who have jumped in to help, Big Cat Rescue has completed the exterior of the Windsong Memorial Cat Hospital.  The power is ON and the new X-ray machine is up and running.  There have been many expensive additions to this onsite clinic such as a new tiger size operating table, new cabinetry, new autoclave and leopard print lead aprons to protect our technicians.  Just the lead lined sheetrock for insulating the X-ray room ran us close to $2,000.  It’s been a very expensive undertaking, but has already proved to be worth the money and effort.  See images here:

Nik Tiger being Xrayed

Nik Tiger being Xrayed


Participation in ZIMS

From 2001 – 2009 Big Cat Rescue participated in the International Species Information System, but they raised their rates that year to a level we just could not afford.  After a recent price reduction we were able to rejoin this year.  This allows us to collaborate with zoos all over the world and share our medical findings and learn from others.


Check Out Some Funny Cat Videos Since Last Issue


Free Valentine’s Day Goodies


ValentinesDayCardCatOcelotWe are working to move all of our great resources from our old site to the new one, so pardon our dust.

Check out these free Valentine’s Day cards to email, or download and print and our many Valentine’s Day games, puzzles and fun things to do at these two links:



4,500 People Have Made the Pledge.  Have You?

Make a New Year’s PLEDGE to Never Go to the Circus!!


If you love lions and tigers and elephants, please make it your New Year’s Resolution for 2015 to NEVER go to a circus that has wild animals!

The circus makes big cats and elephants do unnatural tricks like jumping through rings of fire or balancing on balls. We believe the animals perform because they are afraid of the circus trainers, who use painful bull hooks, electric prods and whips. Tigers and lions should not live in tiny circus cages with barely any room to move. And elephants should not be tied up with ropes and chains so short they can’t even walk.

Big Cat Rescue would like to see ONE MILLION kids and adults pledge to live CIRCUS FREE!! We promise to make sure the politicians in Washington know that all of us who LOVE wild animals want the circus to stop exploiting them! Big cats and elephants belong in the wild…not in circus cages and wagons.

And if you visit Big Cat Rescue, we will give you a FREE GIFT for making the pledge to go CIRCUS FREE!!



Top Shocking Incidents of Big Cat Exploitation – January 2015

We hope by sharing a new list with you each month that you will join us in speaking out for the big cats and cubs that are exploited across this country every day. We encourage you to take one small action today and contact one or more of the offenders below to politely express your concern. Together we can be the voice for the voiceless…together we can make a difference. If you learn of exotic cats or cubs being exploited in your area, please contact Susan Bass at

Wild Transport.

No 1. The A&E Network has a new program called Wild Transport. Two of the episodes feature animals owned by the notorious Kevin Antle at his TIGERS “preserve” in Myrtle Beach, SC. One episode is billed as the transport of two full-grown tigers and two tiger cubs from a facility in South Florida to Antle’s facility in Myrtle Beach. For those who don’t know, we believe Antle uses and exploits dozens of cubs each year with his “pay to play” scheme, charging visitors to hold and play with cubs. The Humane Society of the United States describes Antle as “a sort of kingpin of the exotic animal trading world” so it’s not surprising that he is involved with transporting big cats across state lines for the sake of television ratings. We don’t believe the A&E Network should be promoting and publicizing Antle using his big cats and cubs as entertainment and for profit.

Please help us educate A&E by contacting A&E’s CEO/President Nancy Dubuc at and 212.210.1400.

TAG Heuer’s

No. 2 Swiss watch maker TAG Heuer’s new advertising campaign features model Cara Delevingne holding and posing with a lion cub. There is also video of the model with a full-grown lion and of a dozen photographers shooting pictures of the lion cub with their bright lights. It is irresponsible for TAG Heuer to use cubs in their attempt to look cool to young consumers. Please let TAG Heuer’s Vice President of Communications know that animal lovers do not want to see cubs exploited and will not purchase TAG Heuer merchandise unless the campaign is pulled.

Email TAG Heuer Vice President of Communications Francoise Bezzola at

Jimmy Fallon

No 3 Once again The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon has exploited wild cats as entertainment on the program, despite repeated requests to STOP from numerous animal lovers and animal welfare groups including Big Cat Rescue. Two weeks ago a handler brought this lynx kitten on the show. Please help us continue to politely educate the producers of The Tonight Show that it is not right to use wild cats as entertainment and ask them to ban such practices. You are the only voices this kitten has!

Email the producers:

Executive Producer Lorne Michaels:

Producer Gavin Purcell:

Producer Katie Hockmeyer:

Liger cubNo. 4  Last week KRCR Channel 7 News in California ran a fluff piece about a “rare breed of big cat” at a local “sanctuary.” What the station and pseudo-sanctuary owner claim is a rare breed is not a breed AT ALL but the result of unnatural breeding between a liger and a tiger. They call the cubs “ti ligers.” The breeding facility owner actually told the reporter “the ti liger will be studied by researchers to find out more about the breed.” HUH?

Please help us educate this station that they should do their own research before reporting such drivel as news! We believe the only reason people breed big cats to make ligers and other unnatural big cats is because unenlightened people will pay money to view and touch them. Their article sends the worst possible message that it is ok for people to manipulate big cats for their own use and profit.

Read the article here:

Email reporter Danielle Radin at

Email News Director Jennifer Scarborough at

Email General Manager Andrew Stewart at


Reminder of New Tour Times


Big Cat Rescue is making major changes to better focus our energy on saving the most big cats possible.  This includes huge changes to our Education Program and Tours, so check out the new tour times and prices here:  Our goal is to end the trade in exotic cats as pets, props and for their parts.  These changes will help us reach that goal along with your continued support.


Please share this AdvoCat newsletter with your friends and family.  Thank you from Carole and the Cats!


Alachua Bob

hear big cats

Male Bobcat

DOB 1988? – 1/11/15

Arrived at Big Cat Rescue 2/4/03


A tribute to Alachua Bob the bobcat here:

Bobcat_AlachuaIf I had to be an animal, I would want to be a bobcat. They are fearless, adaptable, resilient and far stronger than you would expect from a 25-pound cat. They are being hunted for their pelts and sport despite their very important role in keeping the rat and vermin populations in check. They are being pushed from their homes by urban sprawl and often are killed or permanently injured when crossing busy roads to access their hunting grounds. This is when they enter my life.

A call comes in late on a Monday in 2003 from the West End Animal Hospital in Alachua County. A couple of saintly (and amazingly brave) individuals discovered an adult, male bobcat that had been hit by a car and lived to tell the tale. The cat wasn’t going to live much longer though, and had crawled in a hole to die. He was in such bad shape that the Good Samaritans were able to load him up in a dog carrier and drive him to the local vet who was known to take in wildlife. Vets who are willing to take in non-paying customers, who seem all but grateful for the care, are rare enough indeed.

X-rays showed the pelvis to be shattered with little or no hope of full recovery. Setting a broken bone is one thing, but the recovery time that a wild animal needs in order to be back at peak performance before being released can take months and very few facilities are equipped for long term care. The vet assistant called Big Cat Rescue to see if there was any chance that “Alachua Bob” could come to Tampa for recovery. She explained that the bobcat’s injuries were such that he might never be able to hunt and run due to his obvious advanced age and the extent of his fractures. If he had to live a life in captivity, she knew there was no place closer to living free than Big Cat Rescue.

As is the case with sanctuaries, all of our cages are already full of cast offs created mostly by the insanity of the pet trade. There are never enough funds to care for all of the animals that are in need. We have to turn away more than 300 big cats every year due to the lack of space and funding to properly care for them. There is nowhere else to go.

Alachua Bob got lucky and was delivered to our gates the next morning. Overnight, staff and volunteers transformed an old chicken coup into temporary living quarters with lots of places to hide and lots of soft hay. Room service delivers specially prepared meals to try and simulate the bobcat’s typical prey of rats and rabbits. He doesn’t have to drag his old and aching body for miles to reach water now because it’s just a paw’s reach away. He doesn’t have to know the agony of starving to death if he can’t catch his own food. He doesn’t have to be another victim of man’s inhumanity.

You can help Alachua Bob and others like him. You can help put an end to the surplus of large exotic cats needing sanctuary by putting a stop to people profiteering from them in the pet trade.  Take action at the link at left called Cat Laws.

Stopping the overpopulation problem at it’s root enables wildlife rehab facilities such as Big Cat Rescue to devote more space and funds to native wildlife like Alachua Bob. You can also help by volunteering, sponsoring an animal here or touring the facility. Your donations will enable us to provide Alachua Bob with the more expensive, whole prey diet he requires, his continued vet care, and if he cannot be released, the construction of a 1200 square foot Cat-A-Tat full of trees and shrubs and lots of great places to hide.  Donations can be mailed to 12802 Easy Street Tampa, FL 33625

Update: 7/2003 Alachua Bob looked ready for release, so he was transferred to a much larger Cat-A-Tat to be sure he could climb the hills and trees in the enclosure and to be certain that he could catch his own food. Unfortunately, the vet has determined that his limp that is still keeping him from being able to run. The chicken that he was supposed to dispatch has now become his “pet”. The good news is that he loves to swim and is utilizing the pool to work his legs in a manner that we did not think likely.

Update: 12/30/2007 Alachua Bob is still doing well, but never has recovered enough to run.  The chicken crowed all the time and made all of us, including Alachua Bob, crazy so we gave it away.



2014 Update: Alachua Bob has been moved into a new Cat-A-Tat where he will be close the rehab area and may be able to swap some tall tales with the rehab bobcats.

He also has a huge new cave that is 8 feet by 10 feet under a mound of earth, so it is cool in the summer and warm in the winter.  This will also give him a place from which to watch us without being seen.



Alachua Bob at the age of 24

Alachua Bob at the age of 24






You can help feed me HERE


What should I do with an old fur coat

What should I do with an old fur coat

Willow Siberian LynxJust about every day I am giving a tour, or overhearing a tour, or responding to a reporter and discussing the way that Big Cat Rescue started; which was in buying all of the cats off U.S. fur farms to end that trade. Since I am thinking about cats being killed for their coats almost every day, I forget sometimes that there are people out there who don’t realize the cruelty involved in all fur products, until I hear from someone like Leigh.

She wrote to me recently and said, “In going through many belongings, I came across something I’d almost forgotten about. I have a lynx coat which was a gift that I want to “dispose” of. I do not want to sell the coat or donate it to any organization that would resell it or auction it off to anyone that might wear it (as some people have suggested).

I no longer wear fur, have not for a long time, and am very depressed, disgusted and want to cry any time I look at this coat. I do not want to do anything to promote the wearing of it.

Other than burning it, (or burying as some friends have suggested), I’ve tried to think of some way that it can be put to use as an educational tool. I do not even want to think about how many animals went into the making of this thing.”

I was touched by Leigh’s letter. She had obviously learned a long time ago that there is no humane way to part an animal from his skin. I know that I naively believed that animals were shorn for coats and have heard many, many people tell me they thought their fur coats came from animals who had died from natural causes. I think a lot of people just don’t think about where fur comes from in order to justify wearing it.

Leigh obviously had spent a lot of time thinking about the origins of this coat and how to honor the cats who had died. By donating it to our Education Department we can use it as a teaching tool to explain how such coats are made, how to tell real fur from faux and to contrast how beautiful our lynx are and how ugly a person wearing their fur is to those who have respect for life.

In talking with Leigh we told her that our presentations are limited to cat issues, so if the fur turned out to be made of fox or other animals, then the only use we would have for it would be to cut it up for nesting materials for our rehab bobcats. Her response was as beautiful as she is, “I do not even want to think of how many beautiful lynx died to make nothing more than an embellishment for the human willing to pay for it. I’d rather them become animal bedding than that.”

Who knows how many precious animals may be spared the horrific lives of being farmed for their fur or trapped and killed for the trade because of Leigh’s thoughtfulness?

For years I had mink coats, that had been purchased as gifts for me by my late husband, in the back of my closet. I didn’t know what to do with them either. I wouldn’t think of wearing them, but didn’t want to give them away and have others stimulate the demand for fur by wearing them either.

Part of me; that part that was raised to eat everything on my plate because children were starving in China, was sickened as I took scissors to the coats and made them into cat beds, but by the time I was done, I felt liberated. I believe that if I had been the mink who were turned into those coats, I would be happy to be set free from the awful design that took my life and glad to be back in the circle of life that enables the survival of wildlife.

We only rehab bobcats here, and very few each year, so we have all the coats we can use, but if you have a fur coat in your closet there are a lot of wildlife rehabbers, or even domestic cat foster homes, who can use the fur for bedding.  You can get more information on those organizations here:


Now at Big Cat Rescue New Years Eve 2014

Now at Big Cat Rescue New Years Eve 2014

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Friends from Brazil who rescue native wild cats in their area.

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Karma and Becky administer K-Laser therapy to Jade the Leopard

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Karma and Becky administer K-Laser therapy to Jade the Leopard

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Karma and Becky administer K-Laser therapy to Jumanji the Leopard

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Karma and Becky administer K-Laser therapy to Jumanji the Leopard

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Karma and Becky administer K-Laser therapy to Jumanji the Leopard

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Karma and Becky administer K-Laser therapy to Little Feather the Bobcat

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Karma and Becky administer K-Laser therapy to Raindance the Bobcat


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Karma and Becky administer K-Laser therapy to Jade the Leopard

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Karma and Becky administer K-Laser therapy to Jade the Leopard

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Jamie administer K-Laser therapy to Jumanji the Leopard

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Simba Leopard bites his tail, so he is moved inside and later taken to Animal Care Institute for an MRI

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Simba Leopard bites his tail, so he is moved inside and later taken to Animal Care Institute for an MRI


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Simba Leopard bites his tail, so he is moved inside and later taken to Animal Care Institute for an MRI


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Simba Leopard bites his tail, so he is moved inside and later taken to Animal Care Institute for an MRI


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Simba Leopard bites his tail, so he is moved inside and later taken to Animal Care Institute for an MRI


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Simba Leopard bites his tail, so he is moved inside and later taken to Animal Care Institute for an MRI


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Simba Leopard bites his tail, so he is moved inside and later taken to Animal Care Institute for an MRI


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Simba Leopard bites his tail, so he is moved inside and later taken to Animal Care Institute for an MRI


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Simba Leopard bites his tail, so he is moved inside and later taken to Animal Care Institute for an MRI


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Simba Leopard bites his tail, so he is moved inside and later taken to Animal Care Institute for an MRI



‘Tis the season for all the good cats…and they are ALL good cats, to get Christmas Trees


‘Tis the season for all the good cats…and they are ALL good cats, to get Christmas Trees


Mickey Cougar gets his first Christmas Tree


Mickey Cougar gets his first Christmas Tree


Mickey Cougar gets his first Christmas Tree


‘Tis the season for all the good cats…and they are ALL good cats, to get Christmas Trees

Now at Big Cat Rescue Dec 11 2014

Now at Big Cat Rescue Dec 11 2014

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Arizona the Serval is 25 years old but had to be spayed today due to a tumor in her uterus.


Reisa Cougar welcomes back her neighbor, Natasha the Siberian Lynx, after her chemotherapy.


Natasha the Siberian Lynx is glad to be back home after her chemotherapy for a tumor in her throat.


Skipper the Canada Lynx gets sub q fluids to help him pass a blockage.

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Skipper the Canada Lynx gets sub q fluids to help him pass a blockage.


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Skipper the Canada Lynx gets sub q fluids to help him pass a blockage.


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Thurston the Bobcat gets a log cabin made of cardboard by the Enrichment Committee.

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Bengali used to perform in a circus.  Now he is the master of his own domain.

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Bengali Tiger basks in a sunny spot in the Vacation Rotation enclosure.

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Bengali Tiger catchs a sun ray.


This monitor was donated to help us track our cats under anesthesia.  Thanks!!!