Bobcat Symbolism & Meaning & the Bobcat Spirit Animal

Bobcat symbolism and meanings include self-reliance, perception, moxie, stealth, friskiness, beauty, and affection. Because bobcats are native to North America – ranging from southern Canada all the way to Mexico – they are subjects in the cultural mythology of these regions. In addition, the bobcat spirit animal is a figure who appears in the spiritual belief systems of many Native American tribes. In this post, you’ll learn about commonly shared bobcat symbols as well as the bobcat spirit animal and totem. (If you are interested in learning about the bobcat’s close cousin, be sure to visit my post on lynx meaning and symbolism.)

What does the bobcat symbolize?

  • Self-reliance
  • Perception
  • Moxie
  • Stealth
  • Friskiness
  • Beauty
  • Affection

Detailed Bobcat Symbols and Meanings

Two Bobcats in the Snow

While they are small in stature, bobcats are nonetheless powerful felines. They represent some potent traits that are every bit as intriguing as what lions or tigers symbolize. Here are some details on bobcat symbols and what they might mean in your life.


Like owls, bobcats are solitary animals who spend their time hunting, sleeping, and living alone except when it comes time to mate and raise their kittens. In addition, bobcat kittens grow up fast, learning to hunt at three months. By the time they are eight months old, they set out on their own.

Thus, bobcats are powerful symbols of self-reliance. When the bobcat is your spirit guide, you are a person who is independent and who has worked hard to make it on your own.

By the same token, if you never thought much about bobcats until one suddenly captures your attention, it can be a sign that you need to work on building more autonomy for yourself. This could include your relationships, your financial situation, or even the way you approach your life.

The bobcat spirit animal embodies the famous quote penned by Shakespeare:

“This above all: to thine own self be true.”

The bobcat reminds you that learning to trust yourself and to stand on your own two feet is an important part of your spiritual growth.


One of the bobcat’s more distinctive qualities is the tufts of fur in their ears, with the dark tips that emanate from the tops. The Native Americans viewed this unique trait as the bobcat’s ability to receive secret wisdom and information from spirit guides.

Because of this special quality, bobcats are also symbols of perception and awareness. In fact, unlike baboons who love to be vocal, bobcats are very quiet animals who rarely vocalize.

The bobcat spirit guide reminds you to listen before you speak. As the saying goes, “Still waters run deep.” The bobcat spirit guide reminds you that in silence, the most wisdom is gained.


Fierce Bobcat Kitten

Though they are small, weighing around 20 pounds, bobcats are known to be tough animals who don’t back down from a fight. They are also quite territorial, with the females being especially so. In addition, bobcats can live in a variety of habitats, including the mountains or desert. Furthermore, they are adept at not only climbing trees, but also swimming if they have to. In essence, bobcats are animals who have a lot of chutzpah, or moxie.

When the bobcat is your spirit guide, you are able to summon the self-confidence required to achieve what you want in life. Even if you feel insecure inside, the bobcat reminds you to “fake it ’til you make it” or “act as if.” When you have the desire to achieve certain outcomes, summon your inner bobcat to make it happen.


Bobcat Sneaking Up

As they are most active during twilight and dawn, bobcats are rarely seen in the wild by human beings. Unlike wolves, who chase their prey, bobcats are more like crocodiles in that they are ambush hunters. They might stalk, but then they wait patiently to pounce.

In this way, bobcats are also symbols of stealth and discretion. Whether in matters of love, business, or creativity, the bobcat spirit guide reminds you to keep things under wraps until the time is right. Discretion is a skill and a virtue.


While they are skilled and focused predators, bobcats are still kittycats who love to play.

This video from conservation biologist Janet Pesaturo of a mother bobcat and her kitten shows how much they love to play:

So, the bobcat spirit animal is here to remind you to let your frisky inner kitten come out every now and then. Life isn’t just about hunting to put food on the table and keeping your den tidy. Just as the bobcat mom plays with her kitten to provide her with the skills she’ll need to survive on her own, making sure you have some fun in your life will provide the balance you need to be happy, healthy, and productive.


Beautiful Bobcat

Bobcats are also symbols of unique beauty. Every bobcat’s coat is unique – like a human fingerprint, no two are exactly alike. And their natural eyeliner and glowing eyes make them real showstoppers in the animal kingdom.

However, like fox’s beauty, the bobcat’s exquisiteness can be the source of jealousy and covetousness in others. People hunt bobcats for their fur, just as they hold foxes in captivity for it.

The bobcat spirit animal reminds you that beauty alone is never enough. But beauty and wits are a winning combination. You were born to shine brightly in your own unique way. If others try to make you feel badly about that, always remember to never lower your vibration to theirs. Use your wits to overcome their negativity energy. Jealousy always stems from people not putting enough effort into realizing their own full potential and purpose in life. It’s their problem, not yours.


Just like your companion cat, bobcats are known to purr loudly when they are pleased. They are also extremely affectionate. Thus, bobcat symbolism also means warmth, cuddliness, and affection.

When the bobcat is your spirit animal, you are fierce but also extremely loving and affectionate.

And if you don’t consider yourself to be a bobcat person, but one suddenly enters your life, it can be a sign that you need to demonstrate more care and affection in your relationships. Don’t be all fangs and claws! Put love and affectionate energy into the world and it will come back to you exponentially.

Bobcat Symbols and Meanings in Mythology and Folklore

Bobcats (Lynx rufus) are part of the lynx family, which includes species from all over the world; however, only bobcats are native to North America. Thus, bobcat symbolism and meanings appear in the mythology of many Native American cultures.

Native America Bobcat Meaning

Bobcat on rock cliff

In Native American culture, bobcat symbolism can have both positive and negative connotations. However, in general, Indigenous cultures revere animals and nature, and overall, the bobcat is a powerful and positive symbol.

Bobcat Clans

Most Native American tribes are based around a clan system, which is a community organization that it rooted in maternal family lines. Each clan is associated with a specific animal, including hummingbird clans, bear clans, fox clans, wolf clans, and others.

Tribes with bobcat clans include the Creek, the Chickasaw, the Seminole, and others. For these clans, the bobcat serves as a special guardian who protects the members of the clan.

Hopi Bobcat Symbolism and Meanings

In Hopi spiritual beliefs, there are numerous kachinas who are ancestral spirits. Kachinas teach and protect the members of the tribe. Tokotsi is the name of the wildcat kachina, and he embodies the bobcat’s (or mountain lion’s) energy. Tokotsi is a somewhat angry spirit guide enforces discipline, especially in lazy workers.

Zuni and Mohave

For the Zuni and Mohave tribes, in addition to the Hopi, the bobcat spirit guide, whom they also called Toho, was a hunter kachina. (Toho is also depicted as a mountain lion in some stories.) These tribes believed that Toho would grant them superior hunting skills.


For the Shoshone People, the bobcat is a sacred animal along with the wolf, cougar, and  fox. In Shoshone tradition, these animals are never to be hunted.

According to Shoshone legend, once a very violent and bloodthirsty tribe invaded their territory. So the Shoshone sought out the help of their medicine man. During a vision quest, the medicine man spoke to the cougar who told him that he, the wolf spirit animal, the fox spirit, and the bobcat would protect the Shoshone People on the grounds that they would never hunt them. Thus, a pact between the Shoshone and these power animals was made.

Bobcat Totem

In Native American cultures, animal totems encapsulate the protective powers of the animal they represent. Thus, the bobcat totem serves as a helpful symbol for manifesting power in your life related to what the bobcat symbolizes. The bobcat totem is a helpful symbol when you need to be more independent or need more self-confidence. It’s also a helpful symbol when you need to maintain discretion in your endeavors.

Bobcat Spirit Animal

Bobcat Leaping

If a bobcat makes themselves known to you in real life or art, literature, or the media, pay attention. There are no coincidences. Your spirit animal serves as a guide, bringing you messages from the Universe to help guide you on your soul’s journey.

If a bobcat crosses your path or makes themselves know to you, it can mean that you:

  • Should work on building more autonomy for yourself in your relationships, your emotional life, your finances, or even your creative life.
  • Need to remember to be playful and affectionate with those you love.
  • Practice more discretion, keeping your cards closer to your vest instead of over-sharing.

When the bobcat is your spirit animal, you have a powerful guide on your side who offers protection above and beyond their pint-sized stature.

If you’re curious about other animals who might be your spirit guides, you can take UniGuide’s spirit animal test in my overview post about spirit animals.

Bobcat Power Animal

The bobcat power animal can be an especially useful symbol in situations where you need to protect yourself and excel in areas such as independence, being more discreet. and have more self-confidence.

Summon the bobcat power animal when you:

  • Have a great idea that has not yet reached fruition, so you need to keep it under wraps.
  • Want to attract opportunities and need to amp up your personal magnetism and charm.
  • Need to bring life back into a relationship by remembering to be more playful, loving, and affectionate.

Bobcat Dream Meaning

What does bobcat symbolism mean in your dreams? Of course, dreams and dream interpretations are personal, so there is never one answer that fits all. However, analyzing the emotions you felt during your bobcat dream can shed light on what the dream is trying to tell you.

For example, if you dream of a bobcat attacking you, it could mean you have fears and anxieties around a situation that you’re not fully addressing in your conscious, wakeful state. Bobcats are small compared to other wild cats, like lions and tigers. Thus, while bobcats can seriously wound a human being, it’s important to remember their size compared to your own. The bobcat dream can be a reminder that you have the strength and wherewithal to deal with and overcome an issue in your life even though it scares you and causes anxiety.

By the same token, a dream of a bobcat that leaves you feeling content and happy can be a sign that you need to create more creature comforts, beauty, and affection on your life.

Our dreams are our subconscious or our super-conscious sending us messages about things that we might be overriding or ignoring in our conscious state. Yet the emotions you experience in the dream are often consistent with your feelings about a situation in your conscious state. Hopefully, insights into bobcat symbolism and meanings can shed light on what your dream means.

Bobcat Tattoo Meanings

Bobcat Tattoo Meaning

A bobcat tattoo can be a positive symbol that tells the world that you are self-reliant and fierce, but also affectionate and playful. It can also demonstrate power, confidence, and ferocity even if you’re “the little guy” in business, in competition, or in another situation. While tattoos are personal to each individual, understanding commonly shared bobcat symbols can hopefully imbue more depth and meaning to your tattoo.

How You Can Help Bobcats

Like so many wild animals on Earth today, bobcats face a number of threats. To begin, human development has shrunk their natural habitats, making it more difficult for them to find food and a mate. In addition, humans hunt bobcats for their fur and also because they view them as a menace.

If you care about bobcats, please do what you can to protect them. Here are some organizations that are helping to protect wild bobcats and their habitats:

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26 Responses

  1. Greetings! GRATITUDE for you and ALL the sharers. I have had a bobcat in my yard twice in the last couple of days. I too feel blessed and inspired. GRATITUDE to the Universe for these encounters, I REALLY REALLY needed this reminder and magic to confirm my present ELEVATING and EXPANDING direction. Like everyone else I have A LOT going on in my life. GRATITUDE for All of Nature including the Bobcat! Peace and Love to ALL!

  2. Woke up to find a dead rabbit very near the sliding glass floor on the Balcony outside my bedroom, looked up, saw a Bobcat in the tree near my house, then saw the Mother, lounging on the portal of the balcony. They were both sleeping, woke up when I first drew back the curtains. I got incredible photos of both of them. They left, then came back about 3 hrs. Later to retrieve the rabbit. More great pictures.

    1. I’m sorry to hear about the poor bunny! But how lucky you are to have seen two bobcats together! So cool. I am guessing the mother was showing her kitten how to hunt. They are really cool because they look so much like pet cats – they are very relatable!

  3. My husband and I jumped up when we heard screaming in our backyard. Just outside the kitchen window/door a bobcat had jumped a smaller bobcat. There was a struggle, and finally the small one died. He carried it under s tree in our yard and started “working “ at it, devouring some, and returned in the nect few days to finish the meal. We left the skeleton where it was. I thought that was the end, but this morning I looked out and saw it lying there, calmly. I even went outside, keeping my distance, did some chores. I wonder what the significance of this would be!

    1. Yikes! This sounds like a horrible thing to witness. Sometimes nature is brutal. I think this just demonstrates the nature of competition. In many ways, we humans try to make things fair. And that is a good part of our nature. However, we have to admit the reality that the world is a competitive place on so many levels. I think we have to acknowledge this aspect of life as we try to make the world better.

  4. I was hunting and saw a bobcat. I thought about shooting it, safety off and in the cross hairs of my scope and decided not to shoot. I watched it and he stuck around for a while, even laying down by a tree for a few minutes. I had never seen a bobcat for such a long time and would had several pretty easy opportunities for a shot but never did.
    The next time I hunted I saw the bobcat watching me as I walked out. It was at the edge of a field, 30 yards or so away. I had him in the scope again but just to watch, didn’t even think of shooting it. After a few minutes, gave him a nod and walked on to the truck.
    Not sure if or what meaning this has but I am going through a lot of life stuff right now and have never seen a bobcat so close and for so long. If nothing else happy to share my land with it and awesome to watch.

    1. Hi Patrick, Thanks for sharing this. BTW, you and my brother share the same first name. Well, I am very glad to hear that you didn’t kill the bobcat to say the least. (Sadly, predators except humans are pretty much in sharp decline these days.) I’m a vegan myself, so I don’t hunt and the idea of hunting bums me out! But I am very glad you found my site and from my spiritual beliefs, I’ll venture to say that you had a soul connection with the bobcat. I believe that divine energy moves through all living things, so that connection is something that I hope you will treasure.

  5. I’m a UPS driver, I keep seeing bobcats when I’m on route! I didn’t think anything of it until a friend said, it’s pretty rare to see them during the day, maybe try and see what it could mean (spiritually). What a wonderful surprise!

    1. So cool! You are so lucky to see them on your route. I especially love how the Native Americans say that the bobcat’s ears enable them to tune into secret wisdom. Thanks for sharing your experience!

  6. On the night of June 26, 2022
    I went out on my porch in my huge apartment complex and thought I saw one of the neighborhood cats I often feed. Upon further examination, I noticed the coat was a totally different color. The cat I feed is white with light brown spots. This one was black and a really dark Grey from where I was and also so furry and mated looking. It turned it’s head to the side and that’s when I noticed the super pointy triangular ears clearly closer together and the beard. The hair underneath the chin and around the face was so long. It just looked at me and layed down comfortably at the bottom of my stairs. Then I noticed the incredibly long whiskers and how long it’s length was and the stubby, thick but short tail. I completely froze in shock questioning myself. I was petrified. It definitely was young because at first glance I mistook it for a cat until it stretched out and got comfortable.

    1. Isn’t it awe-inspiring when wild animals are so relaxed around us and we’re the freaked out ones? It’s like the tables finally get turned! There is a bobcat who is often around this hiking trail I frequent and he is just so nonchalant, laying in the middle of the trail or walking by! He’s a cool dude. :o)

  7. April 28 2022 I just saw a bobcat in my backyard, this is the second time I saw this same bobcat, at least it looked the same. Does it mean anything?

    1. I think that’s cool that he/she came back! Obviously, the bobcat is comfortable in your area. I think that sometimes the universe shows us repeating signs to make us think harder! It’s like – hello!?! This happens to me when I see hawks! They jog my brain!

  8. I saw what I thought was a big cat out the window on our farm. I never seen a cat that big, “I thought “, so I went outside quickly and softly and got to where I saw it last. The big cat was going down the road away from me towards the woods. I clapped my hands and it turned around and looked at me for several seconds, then I knew I was in the presence of a beautiful Bobcat! I feel lucky to have seen it. The Bobcat slowly turning and walked off into the woods!! First and only Bobcat I’ve seen in my life!! What a great way to start a new year!!

    1. It’s interesting that I have had a few people tell me they saw a bobcat just as they begin the New Year! I think that’s a positive sign and a reminder of the magic in the world. Keep the faith!

  9. I encountered a beautiful bobcat while taking my dog for a walk. I was overlooking a small bridge when the bobcat emerged by the river below me. We locked eyes and I just marveled at its beauty and its calmness. I took this as a symbol of a good year ahead. The bobcat slowly walked away. Such a beautiful sight

  10. Hi there! On New Year’s Day a bobcat appeared in our back yard. I happened to see him because I was standing at my patio door talking on the phone. We have seen them several times before in the neighbourhood but never with such an incredible opportunity to get a good photo, which I did. I feel that its appearance, especially on New Year’s Day, has a special significance. Thank you for your article.

  11. Hello,
    I just walked out in my back yard and a bobcat walked through my back gate and quietly padded to the other side of my lawn. when she felt my presence she stopped and we stared at each other. At first I thought it was my cat Mollie because it looked so much like her. Stripes. Seemed young. We stared at each other for a few seconds and it felt like she/he wanted to walk around me to get to the other side of where I stood, but I could see she changed her mind and decided to go the other way, so turned around and jumped over the hedge in the back yard into my neighbor’s cherimoya orchard. I don’t know why I’m calling her a she, but I felt feminine energy(?) I don’t really know. Just a feeling. Anyway, I had no fear at all, was just marveling at how beautiful she was and felt so amazed that we stared at each other for several seconds. I read your analysis and it seemed so right, plus I’ve been having these goosebumps ever since the encounter.

    1. How cool! Bobcats are so similar to our domesticated cats, aren’t they? Sounds like a very cool connection you had! I hope your own kitty is safe though! I see a bobcat every now and then on a hiking trail near where I live. I’m always impressed by how cool, calm, and collected he/she is – totally unafraid of me and going about their business!

      1. So the night of the lunar eclipse 5-15-22. I had been thinking about starting down my spiritual journey. I went outside after the eclipse and doing my first Chakra alignment. I sat in my driveway and a bobcat came and sat across the street from me maybe 15 feet away and just sat there for a good 15 minutes. It was beautiful and I felt a soul connection with it. We would look at each other and then the moon and just enjoying the night. No fear from either me or the bobcat. It was a surreal experience. After some time it walked off into a street light where I could clearly see it was a bobcat. It made a few calls and went on its way! I just knew it had to be a sign

        1. Wow! Soul connection – and on such an auspicious evening. Sometimes signs are subtle – other times they are in a bright spotlight (like your street light. :o) I love this story!

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Kristen M. Stanton

Hello. Thanks for visiting UniGuide. My name is Kristen and I started UniGuide as a tribute to nature, animals, and spiritual exploration. I hope you enjoy your experience here!