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How Much Does a Pet Bobcat Cost?

Last Updated on February 7, 2024
Written by CPA Alec Pow | Content Reviewed by Certified CFA CFA Alexander Popinker

Owning an exotic feline like a bobcat can seem thrilling, but it requires extensive research and planning to provide a healthy home. This in-depth guide examines the costs, responsibilities, and rewards of sharing life with these rambunctious yet endearing wild cats.


  • Initial purchase price – $1,500 to $12,500
  • Permits and licenses – $100+ application fee, $50+ annual renewal
  • Habitat setup – Often thousands of dollars
  • Monthly care/food – $200 to $300
  • Vet costs – $200 to $500 annual checkup, $1,000+ for illnesses/injuries
  • Total first year cost – $10,000 to $30,000
  • Annual cost after first year – $5,000+
  • Commit to 10-15 year lifespan

How Much Does a Pet Bobcat Cost?

The first major investment is purchasing your bobcat companion. Captive-bred kittens and juveniles from reputable breeders typically cost $1,500 to $12,500. Several factors influence price:

  • Age – Kittens under 1 year are most expensive, while 1-3 year olds are more affordable.
  • Gender – Unspayed females often cost more since they can breed.
  • Genetics – Rarer coat colors or bloodlines fetch higher prices.
  • Breeder Reputation – Renowned breeders command premium rates.
  • State Laws – Scarcity drives up costs in states restricting exotic pet ownership.

After picking your bobcat, expect additional permit application fees exceeding $100. Some states prohibit private ownership altogether. Where legal, annual permit renewals cost around $50+. Home inspections and proof of expertise may be required.

Exoticanimalsforsale.net writes that Bobcat kittens, males and females of various ages available for $1,800 to $2,500.

According to Bigcatrescue.org, exotic cats range in price from a $900.00 Bobcat to a $7,500.00 tiger cub.

Accounting for Habitat Setup and Maintenance

Bobcats need enriching habitats with ample space to climb, swim, and explore. Minimum enclosure dimensions are often regulated, starting at 10′ x 15′. The most economical setups cost $2,000-$5,000. Optimal habitats with pools, toys, and accessories can exceed $10,000.

You might also like our articles about the cost of an ocelot, a lion, or a cheetah.

Outdoor enclosures require:

  • Sturdy fencing (chain link, barbed wire, electric line)
  • Dig barriers (concrete, fencing buried underground)
  • Rain and sun shelters (sheds, tarp covers)

Indoor cages need:

  • Scratching posts
  • Elevated perches
  • Hiding boxes

Expect regular maintenance expenses for repairs, cleaning, landscaping, and improvements.

Monthly Care and Supplies

Bobcats are obligate carnivores requiring whole prey diets (rabbits, chickens, quail). This natural sustenance costs around $200-300 monthly. Commercial raw meat formulas are easier to obtain but less nutritious.

You’ll also need:

  • Food and water bowls
  • Litter boxes and litter
  • Toys (balls, tunnels, puzzle feeders)
  • Cleaning supplies
  • Grooming tools (brush, nail clippers)

Altogether, plan on $300+ in monthly care costs.

The Importance of Specialized Veterinary Care

Bobcat vet visits are inevitable and expensive. Annual checkups cost $200-500. For ailments or injuries, bills often exceed $1,000 per visit.

Why so much?

  • Exotic specialty – Most vets lack proper training.
  • Diagnostic tests – Extensive imaging and lab work may be needed.
  • Anesthesia – Required for examinations and minor procedures.
  • Surgeries – Invasive treatments come at a premium.
  • Hospitalization – Round-the-clock observation is sometimes necessary.

Finding experienced exotic felid vets is also challenging. Don’t cut costs using unqualified doctors.

Licensing Requirements and Insurance Options

USDA exhibitor licenses cost around $150 annually. While not mandatory for pets, they simplify housing inspections and interstate transport.

Pet insurance helps offset unpredictable medical bills. Most providers charge premiums ranging from $200 to over $500 per year. Some insurers decline exotic animals, so shop carefully.

Homeowner’s insurance may also increase with a bobcat, if allowed at all. Disclose your pet to avoid canceled policies.

Supporting Bobcat Conservation

Bobcat CloseupBobcats face declining populations, largely due to habitat encroachment. The exotic pet trade can also promote unsustainable poaching.

As a prospective owner, consider:

  • Researching breeders carefully to avoid trafficked animals.
  • Making contributions to bobcat conservation funds – 5-10% of the purchase price is recommended.
  • Encouraging habitat preservation through political activism or nonprofit support.

Your passion for bobcats should align with protecting wild populations.

Planning for the Long-Term Commitment

Bobcats live 10-15 years on average. Be realistic about the sustained investment required:

  • First year costs often reach $10,000-30,000.
  • Annual costs after the first year remain around $5,000+.

Expenses stack up through years of food, supplies, healthcare, maintenance, and more. Can you make this financial commitment?

Budget conservatively to avoid skimping on care later. Your bobcat depends on you for life!

Is a Pet Bobcat the Right Choice?

Sharing life with a bobcat can be profoundly rewarding. But it also brings serious financial and ethical responsibilities.

Be sure you can provide:

  • An adequately sized, enriched habitat
  • Whole prey nutrition without fail
  • Lifelong veterinary care from specialists
  • Proper handling precautions
  • Meaningful enrichment and exercise
  • Protection of wild bobcat habitats

Final Words

If you can meet all of a bobcat’s complex needs with patience and compassion, then perhaps you’re ready for this adventure. First, extensively consult an exotic feline veterinarian.

If they confirm you can offer a healthy home, the bobcat companionship you’ve dreamed of may await. Just be sure to prepare and budget for the long yet magical road ahead.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can a bobcat be a pet?

Bobcats are wild animals that have not been domesticated, so they do not make good pets. While it is possible to purchase a captive-bred bobcat kitten or juvenile from an exotic animal breeder, keeping a bobcat as a pet requires specialized knowledge, permits, facilities, and ongoing costs.

Bobcats have strong instincts to hunt, roam, and mark territory that make adapting to life in captivity very challenging. They need large enclosures with climbing structures, swimming water, and enrichment activities.

Additionally, very few veterinarians are qualified to provide medical care for exotic felids. While bobcats are beautiful animals, prospective owners must carefully consider if they can realistically provide a healthy, stimulating environment before attempting to keep a bobcat as a pet.

Can I buy a lynx?

It is generally not legal or ethical for private individuals to purchase and keep lynxes as pets. In the United States, Canada lynx are classified as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act, so owning one would violate federal law.

Eurasian lynxes are also protected internationally due to declining populations from habitat loss and poaching. Some European lynx captive breeding programs supply animals to zoos, but not private owners.

A few breeders may sell bobcats or hybrid bobcat-lynx kittens misrepresented as pure lynxes. However, legitimate lynx breeders do not sell to unqualified buyers.

Overall, lynxes are sensitive wild animals unsuited to be pets. Prospective exotic pet owners should carefully research applicable laws and only purchase captive-bred animals from reputable breeders.

Can bobcats bite you?

Yes, bobcats can inflict serious bite wounds if provoked or improperly handled. They have sharp teeth and powerful jaws evolved for hunting live prey and tearing meat. Even captive-born, hand-raised bobcats retain these natural instincts.

Bobcats generally avoid humans, but may bite if they feel cornered or threatened. Well-socialized bobcats may tolerate some gentle petting from known owners, but are still prone to biting or scratching if spooked or overly stimulated.

Owners should never interact with bobcats without supervision from experienced handlers.Anyone considering a pet bobcat must be prepared to provide safe handling using thick gloves and restraint devices. But ultimately, bobcat bites remain an inherent risk of keeping wild felids in captivity.

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