Can You Own A Bobcat In Your State? (Quick Info)

Disclaimer: The information presented below is for general informational & educational purposes only. Always consult with animal professionals in case of specific concerns.

You may be wondering, can you own a bobcat in your state or country?

The answer is yes – depending on where you live.

In the United States, bobcats are considered game animals and can only be hunted with a license.

However, each state has its own laws and regulations when it comes to owning a bobcat.

So, before you decide to add a bobcat to your family pet collection, be sure to do your research.

In this blog post, we’ll take a closer look at the laws governing bobcat ownership in different parts of the world.

Stay tuned.

What states allow and disallow bobcat ownership?

According to the State Laws for Private Ownership of Big Cats, these following states all allow bobcat ownership:

  • Alabama
  • North Carolina
  • Nevada
  • Wisconsin

The following states require special permits to own a bobcat:

  • Arizona
  • Florida
  • Delaware
  • Indiana
  • Mississippi
  • Maine
  • Missouri
  • Oklahoma
  • North Dakota
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • Texas
  • Idaho
  • South Dakota
  • Montana

The remaining states ban bobcat ownership.

What are the laws and regulations for owning a bobcat?

Keep in mind that each state may have specific regulations with regards to owning a bobcat.

For example, Arizona requires pet owners to obtain an Intensive Animal Registration permit for bobcats (costing $250), and Delaware limits residents to one pet bobcat.

Can I have a permit for owning a bobcat?


Some states require pet owners to obtain permits for owning a bobcat.

Also, be sure to inquire with your local zoning laws – some cities and counties place restrictions on owning wildlife.

To acquire the permit, you often must:

  • Provide proof of legal ownership (i.e., purchase receipt, bill of sale)
  • Have a valid state hunting license
  • Be sure to ask your local Department of Fish and Wildlife for more information on how to acquire the permit

What’s the advantage of obtaining a permit?

Permits typically give pet owners an added sense of security by legally permitting them to own their bobcats.

For example, permits make it easier for pet owners to transport their bobcats across state lines and take part in certain events such as exhibitions and races (in accordance with state laws).

On a side note, bobcats are also considered fur-bearing animals.

In certain states such as South Dakota, it is illegal to own a live bobcat or its parts.

However, pet owners can usually obtain a permit for harvesting and selling the bobcat’s pelts under strict conditions.

What’s more, some states may require fur harvesters to obtain a special license, trapping permit, and/or other documentation.

How much does it cost to purchase one?

The cost of purchasing a bobcat varies.

On average, you should expect to pay $900-$2,500 for a pet bobcat and a bit lower for a bobcat kittens.

The price may be higher or lower depending on the color/patterning, rarity of the bobcat, and geographic location of sale.

What’s the average monthly cost for a pet bobcat?

The average monthly cost of owning a bobcat is about $35 to $50.

This includes maintenance and care such as food, supplements, vaccinations, and veterinary visits.

What do I need to consider before adding one to my family?

can you own a bobcat

There are several things to consider before bringing home a new pet bobcat:

Space requirements

Bobcats are solitary animals by nature and generally only want the company of their humans.

Therefore, bobcats may become dangerous to you and your belongings if you already have other pets or children.

Transportation restrictions

Since bobcats require permits to be transported across state lines, owners must think ahead about moving to other states (or countries).

For example, if you live in Arizona and plan on moving to California, it may be difficult for you to transport your pet bobcat.

Legal restrictions

Different states may place different legal restrictions on owning a bobcat.

For example, some cities and counties (such as San Francisco) ban the ownership of wildlife.

Special food and haircuts

Bobcats eat a meat-based diet and, unlike domestic cats, require “roughage” to assist their digestion (i.e., fur).

Also, bobcats need haircuts every few months to remove excess hair from their faces and paws (which can cause matting); otherwise, the bobcat may suffer from painful ingrown hairs and infections.

Where can you buy them from?

Sources for obtaining bobcats are plentiful.

A typical place to buy a pet bobcat is from an animal rescue center or shelter, but you can also purchase them online at places such as eBay.

Where do they come from?

Pet bobcats typically come from fur farms where they are bred for their fur.

However, some people may also purchase them from zoos and animal refuges.

What to keep in mind when you own a pet bobcat?

First, bobcats are carnivores, which means they eat meat.

As a result, you’ll need to feed your bobcat special pet food formulated for carnivores.

Second, it’s important to remember that bobcats are wild animals and are therefore more difficult to care for than domesticated pets such as cats or dogs.

For example, if you plan on keeping a bobcat as a pet you should be prepared to:

  • Spend long hours each day caring for your bobcat (e.g., feeding, grooming, and playing with it).
  • Create an appropriate enclosure for your bobcat (e.g., outdoor pen or cage) that’s large enough for the animal to move around freely.
  • Install proper fencing around your bobcat’s enclosure to ensure the animal doesn’t escape and harm others outside of its pen.

Next, most states require you to obtain a license, permit, or documentation to keep a bobcat as a pet.

Licenses are typically obtained from the state’s health department or wildlife management office.

Depending on your location, you may also need to obtain special permits for housing your bobcat outdoors (e.g., barns and cottages).

In addition, many states have strict regulations for owning a pet bobcat.

These regulations may include:

  • Whether the bobcat is subjected to certain vaccines and preventive care before being sold.
  • Whether the bobcats can be hunted legally in your state.
  • Restrictions on how long you’re allowed to keep a bobcat as a pet (e.g., two to five years).

In some states, bobcats must be accompanied by a “Certificate of Veterinary Inspection” from a licensed veterinarian.

This certificate certifies that the animal was examined by a veterinarian within 10 days prior to leaving for its new home.

To obtain a permit, you’ll need to submit a “Fur Dealer’s License” and/or “Wildlife Holding License” to your state’s wildlife or health department.

In addition, some states such as Massachusetts require you to purchase your bobcat from a licensed out-of-state pet dealer.

What about safety concerns?

While owning a pet bobcat is exciting, it also brings with it certain concerns not typically encountered when keeping domesticated pets.

For example, you should always keep your bobcat enclosed in an outdoor pen to prevent escape.

It’s especially important that the pen has to be sturdy to ensure your bobcat can’t climb over fences and get out.

If you plan on housing your bobcat indoors, the fencing must be strong enough to prevent escape through a window or other opening.

In addition, because bobcats are wild animals they may lash out and cause injury if they feel threatened.

Because of this risk, it’s important to understand how to best handle a pet bobcat should an emergency arise.

What is the average lifespan of these animals?

The average lifespan of a bobcat in the wild is between 7-10 years, with 16 being the oldest ever recorded.

A bobcat’s lifespan in captivity will depend on its living conditions and whether or not it receives proper care from an experienced pet owner.


While owning a pet bobcat can be exciting, it also comes with certain responsibilities.

Before you decide to purchase a pet bobcat, make sure you are aware of the state and federal regulations that apply to owning these animals.

It’s also important to understand how to properly care for your new pet and what safety concerns you need to be aware of.

And remember to always consult with a licensed veterinarian to ensure your bobcat receives proper care and attention.