He looks sweet, but this bobcat isn't 'showing his love'
This popular YouTube video of a bobcat rubbing his cheek on a boy has elicited 'awws' from many viewers, but this big cat isn't showing affection — he's marking his property.
Fri, Jun 13, 2014 at 11:44 AM
About a million people have viewed this video titled "A bobcat showing his love," where the large pet cat grabs the boy’s shoulders and rubs its cheeks on his face.
But as sweet as the interaction may appear, this rescued bobcat isn’t showing affection.
"This bobcat is telling the world, 'This toy is my territory, and I'm marking my scent all over this toy because I don't want any other bobcats to come along and take this toy away from me,'" Carole Baskin, CEO of Big Cat Rescue, told The Dodo.
Like all cats, bobcats have scent glands in their cheeks, which they use to mark their property — including you.
If you have a pet cat, you've likely noticed how your feline friend will rub against your legs or even the couch.
While it might seem like your kitty's way of showing love, he's actually marking you with a scent undetectable by humans.
"It’s telling other cats, 'This is my human. Stay away from my toy, my provider of cat food,'" Baskin said.
Domestic cats do demonstrate affection for us, but not by rubbing against us. Instead, they'll give us the slow eye blink, show us their bellies and sit in our laps.
Cats communicate in many ways, using everything from their tails to their sounds, and it's important to understand this when it comes to the bigger felines of the animal world.
By misinterpreting this bobcat's check rubs as a sign affection, it can give people the idea that wild animals make good pets.
According to National Bobcat Rescue and Research, bobcats — even ones that have been raised by humans since they were young — make dangerous pets.
"The typical bobcat is extremely strong-willed and will bite or scratch when stressed, even owners attempting to help them out of a dangerous situation," the NBRR website reads. "Instinct is very strong in them regardless of how long they've been a pet or how they were raised."
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