The bobcat (Lynx rufus) uses urine and scat to mark important places within its home range. Like house cats, bobcats sometimes spray urine back onto vertical surfaces, such as stumps, trees, and stones. The animal might spray quickly and casually, barely pausing as it walks along. Or, more ceremoniously, a bobcat might stop and scrape with its hind feet, prior to urinating or defecating. Sometimes scraping is sufficient to create a mound of debris upon which excretions are left. But if scraping is quick and subtle, or if the substrate is unsuitable, no discernible evidence is left, other than the excretion.
The video below shows 4 instances of bobcat scent marking:
- Spraying without scraping – A bobcat pauses briefly at a small hemlock tree while walking by. You can see the tail stand straight up and wag slightly from side to side during the pause. That is when the cat is spritzing urine. After spraying, the animal proceeds to cross the pond via a beaver dam at the far left of the frame. My trail camera has captured a bobcat crossing there quite frequently, so I believe this is a well used corridor, lending support to the idea that bobcats spray important locations within their home ranges.
- Spraying after scraping – A bobcat returns to the site of a road killed beaver. After finding and consuming this bonanza, the bobcat returned periodically for a couple of weeks, as if hoping to find another carcass. In this clip, we see the cat pause and scrape with hind feet. It’s hard to see because it happens when the animal is facing directly towards the camera, so watch carefully. Most likely, the cat squirted a bit of urine just after scraping.
- Spraying after scraping -The 3rd clip shows another return to the site of roadkill, and this time it’s easier to see the cat scraping. However, the video (set to record 15 second clips), ends prior to completion of the act, so we can’t see whether the bobcat leaves urine or scat. Since I found no scat at the site, I think the cat probably left urine instead.
- Scatting after scraping – A bobcat visits a ridge top near many caves and crevices. Such areas are often used by bobcats for raising young, and in the past, my camera has captured a bobcat with her kitten at this site. Also, bobcat scats appear on this ridge top from time to time, and in this clip, you can see a bobcat – just its hind end – actually leaving scat, after scraping with hind feet, just as it sometimes does prior to urination.
Video — Bobcat Scent Marking