Home Animals What Do Bobcats Sound Like? (Various Reasons)

What Do Bobcats Sound Like? (Various Reasons)

what do bobcat sound like

The bobcat is a nocturnal hunter, stalking its prey through the shadows of night. Although it is seldom seen by humans, its presence is often felt in the form of blood-curdling screams that echo through the darkness. 

These screams are thought to serve as a warning to others bobcats, marking their territory and helping to keep rival males away. To our ears, they are eerie and unsettling, but to the bobcat, they are simply part of everyday life.

what do bobcat sound like

Bobcats are relatively small cats that are found throughout North America. They are known for their spotting patterns and their distinctive black bars on the sides of their faces. One of the most interesting things about bobcats is their vocalizations. They produce a variety of sounds, including meowing, purring, hissing, growling, and screaming. The screams are typically produced during the breeding season, while the cough-bark sounds are often used to threaten larger predators. Bobcats usually remain relatively quiet when they are hunting prey, so as not to alert their potential victim to their presence.

Read on to know various Bobcat sounds and what they indicate.

Bobcat Sounds And Why They Make Them

What Sounds Do Bobcats Make 

The lynx, or bobcat, is a North American wildcat that belongs to the Felidae family. This family includes 37 cat species in total, such as the well-known cheetah, leopard, lion, and domestic cat.

The lynx gets its name from its most distinctive feature – a short “bobbed” tail.

Bobcats are generally nocturnal creatures that are very elusive and shy away from humans. Although they are mostly active at night, it is not uncommon to see them roaming around during the day in search of prey.

Bobcats tend to be relatively quiet animals, but they do make various sounds depending on the situation. Many of their vocalizations are similar to those of a domestic cat, but they also have a unique scream that can be quite unsettling.If you are in an area where bobcats are known to live, keep your ears open for their screams – especially at night!

High-Pitched Bobcat Scream

Bobcats are shy, elusive creatures that are seldom seen by humans. These solitary animals are most active at dawn and dusk, and they change shelters on a daily basis. Females with litters will have several dens that they rotate between for their kittens.

Bobcats come together during the mating season. These animals are noisiest during mating season, which falls generally from January through May.

It is during this mating time that bobcats produce a sound called caterwauling. This sound has been described by many as sounding like a woman screaming for help, evil-sounding, or a child crying.

In addition to caterwauling, bobcats may also growl, hiss, or growl while mating or in competition over a female.

This video demonstrates bobcats’ sounds while interacting with each other.

The exact purpose of caterwauling is not known, it is thought to serve as a way for potential mates to assess each other’s fitness and strength. Ultimately, only the strongest and most fit bobcats will be able to mate and produce offspring.

Cough-Bark Bobcat Sound

The sound of a bobcat’s cough bark is unforgettable. It’s a short, sharp sound that carries far and wide, instantly alerting other animals to the presence of a predator. 

Bobcats will use this sound to warn away potential threats, including mountain lions, owls, wolves, coyotes, and humans. While the bark may serve as a deterrent to some predators, others will see it as an invitation to hunt. As such, the bark is not always effective in preventing predation. 

bobcat in wild

Growls, Hisses, Howls


Bobcats are excellent hunters, capable of detecting both prey and predators with their sharp senses. Bobcats typically hunt at dawn and dusk, when the light is low and their prey is most active. If a bobcat feels threatened by a predator, it will make a coughing bark sound to warn the predator away. These sounds are used to scare the predator off so that the bobcat can escape to safety. Bobcats are also excellent climbers, and will often climb trees to escape predators or to get a better view of their surroundings. Thanks to their hunting skills and keen senses, bobcats are able to survive in a wide range of habitats.

Bobcats are incredibly adaptable predators, capable of stalking and hunting a wide variety of prey. Their excellent hearing, vision, and sense of smell help them to detect both prey and predators from a distance.

Bobcats tend to be twilight (crepuscular) hunters, stalking their prey at dawn and dusk when visibility is low. If they are confronted by a predator, bobcats will use a variety of vocalizations to scare the predator away. These sounds include growling, hissing, and howling. By making these noises, bobcats can buy themselves time to escape to safer ground or climb a tree. 


Bobcats are territorial animals, and they will often use vocalizations to mark their territory and warn off other bobcats. These vocalizations can take the form of growls, yowls, chirps, smirks, and spit sounds.

They are most commonly found in forested areas, but can also be found in deserts, scrublands, and coastal swamps. Bobcats are very tolerant of human disturbance and are often able to live in suburban areas. One interesting fact about bobcats is that they use vocalizations when claiming or fighting over territory with other bobcats. These vocalizations help them to assert their dominance over other bobcats and help to keep their territory safe.

bobcat on tree

The bobcat is a medium-sized wildcat that is found in areas from southern Canada, throughout the 48 contiguous United States (except Delaware), and into southern Mexico. Bobcats are approximately twice the size of a house cat and have a muscular build with short legs and large paws.

Bobcats are solitary animals, and each individual has his own home range. A female’s territory is typically 6 square miles, while a male’s area can range up to 60 square miles.

Although bobcats were once hunted for their fur, their population is now increasing due to conservation efforts. It is estimated that there are over 23 million bobcats present in the United States alone.


Mating Bobcat sounds

While Bobcats are generally shy and solitary animals, they can be quite vocal during mating season. The male will let out loud, raspy screams in an effort to attract a mate, while the female will typically respond with occasional growls and hisses. 

Meows And Squalls

Meows and squalls may not seem like the most ferocious of sounds, but for bobcats, they play an important role in communication. 

These sounds are often used by females to call for their kittens, or by the kittens themselves to call for their mother. In addition, meows and squalls can be heard before the louder breeding calls start. 

While they may not be as intimidating as a roar, bobcats use meows and squalls to effectively communicate with one another.


All cats purr, but did you know that not all cats can roar? It’s true! Smaller cats, like bobcats, can purr but they cannot roar. The reason behind this is that they have delicate bones called hyoid bones that are connected and run from the back of their tongue all the way to the base of their skull.

When a cat vibrates its voice box (larynx), these hyoid bones allow them to produce a continuous sound – and this is what we hear as a purr.

Some people think that the theory behind purring is that a mother’s purr camouflages the mewing sound of her nursing kittens from any predators that might be nearby. 

Silence (No Sound While Hunting)

When hunting, bobcats will stealthily stay quiet most of the time, pouncing on the animal and grabbing its neck in order to cut its spinal cord. 

If the bobcat eats its fill, it will store and cover the remaining food in a cache and come back for more later. 

Most of their diet consists of small to midsize animals such as birds, squirrels, fawns, raccoons, and rabbits. However, bobcats are not above taking down larger prey if the opportunity arises. 

Why Do Bobcats Scream?

Bobcats are known for their blood-curdling screams, which they use for a variety of reasons. During mating season, bobcats use screams to attract mates and scare off potential competitors. Males also scream when fighting over mates.

In addition, bobcats scream when they feel threatened by predators. The screams serve as a call for help and an attempt to intimidate the predator. 

Why Do Bobcats Scream in the Night?

Bobcats are nocturnal animals, meaning they are most active at night. Although they are technically crepuscular, bobcats still prefer to hunt and mate during the nighttime hours. This is one of the reasons why you rarely see or hear a bobcat during the day.

If you’re out walking in the wilderness after dark or during nighttime, you’re more likely to hear the scream of a bobcat.

This is because males typically fight over females during mating season, and the screaming can be quite loud. Information source

Mating Sounds on Bobcat

Bobcats are known for their wide range of vocalizations, which they use to communicate with other members of their species. During the breeding season, male bobcats will emit loud sounds in order to assert their dominance over territory and attract mates. These sounds can include snarls, hisses, squalls, and screams.

In addition to these aggressive noises, male bobcats will also produce softer sounds known as “chirps” when they encounter a female bobcat that they are interested in breeding with. Female bobcats typically respond to these chirps by either moving away or staying put, depending on their level of interest in the male. Once a pair has been formed, the two bobcats will often make cooing and purring noises to strengthen their bond.

However, it is believed that bobcats are actually at their loudest during the spring breeding season. From January to May, male bobcats will let out blood-curdling screams in an effort to attract mates. These calls can be heard for miles, and often serve to alert other animals of the bobcat’s presence.

Are Bobcats Loud In The Wilderness?

Bobcats are not typically considered to be noisy animals. In fact, they are quite the opposite. Bobcats are very quiet and stealthy animals, which is one of the reasons why they are such successful predators. When they are hunting, they will often stalk their prey silently before pouncing on them. However, there are times when bobcats can be quite vocal. For example, during mating season, males will use their distinct call to try to attract mates. They will also make noise if they feel threatened or are trying to defend their territory. So, while bobcats are usually silent creatures, there are occasions when they can be quite loud.

Do Bobcats Scream At Night?

Yes, bobcats scream during night hours. They are active during the night to hunt their prey and also mate with their female favorite.

Do Bobcats Make Sounds While Hunting?

No, Bobcats do not make any noise while they are hunting, instead relying on their stealth to help them take down their unsuspecting prey. Even their footsteps are carefully planned; bobcats will step in the same places in order to avoid making any noise that could give away their position. 

As a result, these predators are able to get close enough to their prey to make a successful kill. In the world of the bobcat, silence is most definitely golden.

Final words

Bobcats are one of the most fascinating animals in the world. Although they are typically quiet, they are capable of making a variety of sounds, including purring, meowing, hissing, and growling. They also produce cough barks and other aggressive sounds to threaten larger predators. Most notably, bobcats create a loud, scream-like night-time vocalization during the breeding season from January to May. Bobcats are an amazing species, and we should all do our part to protect them.

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A motivated philosophy graduate and student of wildlife conservation with a deep interest in human-wildlife relationships, including wildlife communication, environmental education, and conservation anthropology. Offers strong interpersonal, research, writing, and creativity skills.

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A motivated philosophy graduate and student of wildlife conservation with a deep interest in human-wildlife relationships, including wildlife communication, environmental education, and conservation anthropology. Offers strong interpersonal, research, writing, and creativity skills.


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