Domestic cats are beautiful animals, naturally graceful and loving towards their owners…in their very own way. Granted, felines of every kind are truly majestic, yet, we can’t hope to have a big cat at home like a tiger or a jaguar. Still, depending on your state laws, location and disposition you may have all the needed criteria to own a relatively big cat at home.
Exotic pet lovers and particularly wild cat lovers can find a pet for them in a lynx. There are different varieties of lynxes; ones are more open to human interaction than others. Here at Pet Comments, we’ll focus on the Canadian lynx and the bobcat, the most common lynx of choice for exotic pet lovers.
Lynx basic information
The Canadian lynx (Lynx canadensis) and the bobcat (Lynx rufus) are both species from the lynx genre and the felidae family; they are also the smaller ones of their kind. They can live up to 7 years in the wild and can very well live past 10 years in captivity.
Both the bobcat and the Canadian lynx live in North America, Asia, and Europe, but prefer different habitats. The Canadian lynx as the name states is originally from Canada and can be found in Alaska too. Canadian lynx population can also be found in parts of North America. The bobcat, on the other side, favors woodlands but is not limited to it. Unlike the Canadian lynx, the bobcat doesn’t completely isolate itself from the human population.
The bobcat inhabits the mainland of the United States, Mexico, and southern Canada. At times they can be seen in people’s backyards, especially in areas where the human territory meets their natural territory.
Both the Canada lynx and the bobcat share many features; still, we can find differences between the species that help us differentiate them.
The Canada lynx is between 31 and 39 inches long from the head to the base of the tail, stands 19 to 22 inches tall and weighs around 11 to 40 lb. The males of the species are bigger and heavier than the females. Their forelimbs are shorter than their hind limbs, giving them a distinctive silhouette.
The Canada lynx’s coat differentiates them from other lynx species. Depending on the season of the year their coat can be of a very light brown but not quite yellow, and sometimes black or gray. Their coat is also perfect for the colder weather, being dense and thick even down to their paws.
The bobcat is the smaller one in the lynx family looking like an oversized cat, measuring 18 to 32 inches long from the head to the base of the tail, standing 12 to 24 inches tall and weighing approximately 14 to 40 lb. Their coat is not as dense as the Canadian lynx, it is of a variable color depending on their habitat and can be of a lighter color or a darker color. It has a black spotted pattern on its fur that functions as camouflage. The bobcat has a strong body, but the Canadian lynx overpowers it in strength.
Is it possible to have a Lynx as a pet?
Yes, it is! Many have thrown themselves at the adventure of having a lynx as a pet, either for scientific purposes or because they simply love the animal. Lynx are wild animals that should be respected and cared for as such. When raised by caring owners they bond strongly with “their” humans and other domestic animals around like domestic cats or friendly dogs.
As a matter of fact, a bobcat or lynx raised since very young with children, domestic cats and dogs are the gentlest of all. They can be potty trained, love to cuddle, and play with other pets.
Between the Canadian lynx and the bobcat, the bobcat is the most open to human interaction and bonds the strongest with their human owners. Lynx and bobcats can also be disciplined, but not the way domestic cats or dogs are though. Experienced lynx and bobcat breeders have found that water pistols make an effective cat’s bane. It’s a quick and understandable way for them to understand when something is not correct.
Do Lynx make good pets?
Depends. Are you the right owner for a lynx or a bobcat? Lynx and bobcats can definitely be trained to be around humans and domestic animals, and they can even be fond and affectionate towards them. Regardless of this, wild cats are wild cats and meant to be in the wild.
An adequate owner will carefully and lovingly provide an appropriate space for the lynx or bobcat; taking into consideration its particular needs, vet attention (before acquiring a lynx or a bobcat we strongly advise you to investigate if there is veterinarian willing and specialized in big cats near your area), afford an sustainable and healthy diet for the big cat, and have enough time to bond with the lynx. A piece of cake for exotic pet lovers!
An important factor to have in mind is that every lynx has its own personality traits, one may be fonder of humans and pets than others, and others may be quieter and reserved. Either way, even if the lynx does not bond with the human, if raised since young, it will absolutely imprint on the human; meaning the lynx will see the human as its parent figure.
Therefore, separation is hard for these fellas and it is like separating a child from their parent. Before obtaining a lynx or a bobcat as a pet, be sure you can absolutely keep it.
Is it legal?
The laws regarding exotic animals vary from state to state. As a result of this, you must contact your state department of animal welfare, as many states require a special permit or license while others completely ban exotic pets of any kind. Consequently, you might need to fill those legal requirements before preparing yourself and your home to receive a pet lynx.
Let's say you live in Nevada, the state of Nevada classifies bobcats as fur-bearing animals and does not allow the possession, transportation, importation or exportation of the said animal without a permit.
Laws change, always check that all the procedures done to obtain your lynx or bobcat are completely legal. And when you do, make sure all the effort of having an extraordinary lynx at home is worth it.
References and further readings:
- Popular Science, Living with a lynx
- bobcatsmt.com, Keeping a Bobcat or Canadian Lynx as a Pet
State Laws Relating to Private Possession of Exotic Animals:
- Born Free USA, Summary of State Laws Relating to Private Possession of Exotic Animals
- BigCatRescue, State Laws Exotic Cats
- FindLaw, Exotic Animal Laws by State