Bobcat Sounds | What Does A Bobcat Sound Like? (w. Audio and Video)

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Creatures in the wild have always carried a little bit of mystery around with them. It’s rare to get a glimpse into that world. You may have been wondering, what does a bobcat sound like?  

As someone who has spent many hours viewing and observing bobcats, I’m going to answer all of your questions on that and provide you with in-depth answers about the types of sounds that a bobcat makes when it is out in the wilderness.

But first, check out the video below to hear the sounds of bobcats!

Bobcat Sounds Video With Audio

What Do Bobcats Sound Like?

Bobcats sound like a woman screaming, or a baby crying. They make noises such as growling, hissing, meowing, yelping, screaming, howling, squalling, and barking. Bobcats communicate with multiple vocalizations in response to fear, mating, anger, and nearby predators.

The video contains examples of:

  • Bobcat noises
  • Bobcats screaming
  • Bobcats hissing
  • Bobcats growling

Do Bobcats Sound Like Regular Cats?

Bobcats make many sounds that resemble noises made by regular house cats. These can be meows, hisses, growls, and more. They are not just limited to sounding like regular cats though, bobcats have a deep tone and a loud high tone that you would never mistake for a regular cat.

You would most likely realize very quickly that the bobcat was not just an ordinary cat. The sounds can be very haunting sounding even.

It might be easy to mix up a bobcat and a domestic cat because they do sound very similar. They have the same pitch when making a sound and that might confuse their ‘meow’ with the sound of another nearby cat. In the next section, we’ll take a closer look at what each of these sounds means and take a look at some of the other details. 

Bobcat Sounds and What They Mean

You most commonly would likely hear a bobcat meowing out in the wilderness. This is common and probably won’t cause you any alarm if you hear it. In some cases, you might hear a bobcat screaming or howling. This is fairly common during their mating season although it’s likely that you might find it difficult to ignore that awkward noise. 


Types of Bobcat Sounds

Here are the types of bobcat sounds that you may hear, as well as what these sounds could mean. Keep in mind that the noises a bobcat makes can vary between animals.

Bobcat Sounds Chart 
HissHisses usually happen when they are upset or on alert.
GrowlGrowls can come when they are angry or when they are moody.
ScreamA bobcat’s scream can mean that it is hungry, angry, annoyed, and more.
HowlBobcats can howl from time to time for various reasons.
SnarlIf you hear a bobcat snarl it could mean that it’s annoyed by something.
MeowingBobcats meow to communicate when they are comfortable or want something.
SquallYou can sometimes hear bobcats squalling as if they were babies, even when they are older.
BarkBobcats have also been known to bark. This is unusual but they have a wide range of vocal communications.
PurrBobcats have been known to make a purring noise similar to a regular cat. These noises can be low or high range.

Bobcats can also hiss, scream, yelp, or even bark when they are believed to be in danger from a nearby predator. This is sort of like a call for help because it can alert nearby animals that a predator is approaching. There are some other reasons that bobcats also make these sounds but most of the time they hunt by remaining stealthy and therefore they try to remain as quiet as possible and are rarely heard by people. Source.

It is generally extremely rare to come across bobcats in the wilderness, so it might surprise you to see or hear a bobcat in your region. Many people actually come fairly close to bobcats without even knowing it because bobcats are so capable of remaining stealthy and hidden. 

Bobcat Hunting Sounds 

When on an offensive hunt, bobcats are capable of remaining extremely quiet. They have the ability to move stealthily and they generally hunt in dark conditions around sunset or sunrise. Sometimes they are seen roaming around in the middle of the night, but they don’t usually make sounds at this time of the night. Bobcats use their sight and hearing for hunting.

If bobcats are being hunted and they can sense a predator approaching, they might start calling for help by growling, hissing, screaming, or howling. They try to make sounds that could deter the predator from continuing its hunt and sometimes their sounds can scare off predators or distract predators for a short period of time. 

Bobcats are extremely intelligent and they know when they are in danger. They will make noises and take actions that they believe are in their best interest for survival. These are instinctive tactics that allow them to survive in dangerous conditions with other predators around in the nearby wilderness. 

Bobcat Mating Sounds

Bobcats can make very specific sounds during their mating season. These sounds can include snarls, hisses, squalls, and screams. Male bobcats can make slightly more aggressive sounds as they battle for territory over a specific female bobcat. 

It is believed that bobcats are at their loudest during this time of year. Their breeding season generally occurs at the beginning of the year in January and stays in effect until around May. This is the period of time where you are most likely to hear bobcats making these sounds out in the wilderness. 

Some have said that the sounds bobcats make while mating is like a woman screaming or babies crying, which can be hard on the ears.

See our article for Bobcats Mating Season

Are Bobcats Loud In The Wilderness?

Now that you are completely aware of all of the different types of sounds that a bobcat might make in the wilderness, you’re probably wondering if they are loud or quiet. The answer is that bobcats can be fairly loud during certain seasons of the year and you might hear any of these mentioned sounds throughout their breeding season in the first quarter of the year. 

It’s important to be aware of the sounds the bobcats make if you do come across one. Understanding the significance of these sounds can help you to understand if the bobcat is in distress. It’s never a good idea to approach a bobcat that may be growling, screaming, or hissing in your direction. It’s extremely important to take safety precautions because bobcats can be dangerous if they feel like they are being attacked or in danger. 

See our article for Are Bobcats Dangerous?

Why Do Bobcats Scream in the Night?

Bobcats mostly hunt in the night and this is when they are most active. Bobcats have nocturnal habits even though they are more crepuscular than nocturnal these days. This is one of the reasons people hardly see or hear a bobcat during the day. You are more likely to hear a bobcat scream if you are walking around the wilderness after dark or during twilight hours.

Bobcat mating usually happens during the night as well. You will most definitely hear bobcats screaming loud and making noise at night during this season because the males fight over the females. Source.

See our article for Are Bobcats Nocturnal?

How Far Can You Hear a Bobcat Scream

Bobcats have very different sounds that they make for certain reasons. Sometimes they are very quiet sounds that build up to a louder sound. Chances are if you hear what you think could be a bobcat, then you are closer than you want to be.

You would not be able to hear a bobcat from a mile away, however, you would be able to hear a bobcat scream from 100 yards if it was screaming loudly. Mostly though, they have low-toned screams that only those close by can hear.

Bobcat Chirping Sounds

Because they have a wide range of different sounds they make, bobcats sometimes make chirping noises. They can sometimes be confused with birds nearby, however, they usually end in a long growl or high-pitched hiss, letting you know that it’s definitely not a bird!

You can hear examples of bobcats chirping in the video examples above.

Baby Bobcat Sounds Example.

Baby Bobcat Sounds

Baby bobcats sound a lot like kittens sound. They meow, they hiss, and they growl when they are angry. Bobcat kittens, or, bob kittens, as they are called, will let their mothers know that they are hungry, annoyed, upset, and anything else, with a wide variety of yelps, meows, hisses, chirps, and more.

When it comes to baby bobcats, the sounds they make will depend on what their current needs are. You can expect a hungry bob kitten to whine and cry until it can feed.


Now that you have a general understanding of all of the types of sounds that bobcats can make, you should have all of the information that is necessary in order to protect yourself from them if you ever happen to have a standoff with a bobcat.

These sounds should not be mistaken with other types of animals in the wilderness.  Bobcats have a very unique vocalization of the types of sounds that they make. If you hear a bobcat nearby, it’s not always a great idea to interfere unless you can guarantee that it is safe to do so. 

By understanding the different types of bobcat sounds, you will have a better understanding if a bobcat is in the process of hunting, being hunted, or breeding during certain times of the year.  

Chad Fox