What is the Difference between a Cougar and Bobcat?

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Similar to lions and tigers, both the bobcat and cougar belong to the Felinae family. Despite them being of the same family, they are two very different species. The question to tackle on this piece will be what the difference between a cougar and bobcat is. The main difference between the two being their sizes, the cougar is more prominent than a bobcat.

These two species tend to share a few physical similarities; however, the differences between them are enough to distinguish with one look. Their looks and behaviors are different as one of them is spotted while the other has a uniform color. Each of these species has different tastes when it comes to their diet. Before getting to understand their different characteristics, you need to have the general knowledge of each of these animals.


The cougar is a native species to the Americas, going by its scientific name Puma Concolour. This is an adaptable species, and because of this feature, it is spread out through most American habitats. The cougar goes by a handful of names in different regions. It’s currently holding the Guinness world record of the species having the most names.

The cougar is the second heaviest specie in the cat family, the first being the Jaguar. It is an ambush predator feasting on a variety of prey, but it’s favorite prey being the deer. Despite being an obligate carnivore, they do not consider humans as prey.


Scientifically, the bobcat goes by Lynx Rufus. It is a medium-sized cat and is a native to southern Canada and North America. This species stopped being considered as endangered back in 2002; currently, they are abundant in the wild and are widely distributed.

Its name is from its black-tipped tail. The overall size of the bobcat is about twice that of a domestic cat and mostly prefers woody habitats. They are also found in semi-deserts and quickly adapt to their surroundings. Rabbits and hares are their preferred source of food; at times, they prey on insects, chicken, geese, and small deer.

Differences between the Cougar and Bobcat


The bobcat has a tan to grey- brown coating entirely covered with black streaks and spots. On its legs and tail, there are dark bars. This spotting on its fur is the main feature distinguishing it from most cats in the wild, as they also act as camouflage. Its ears are short, black-tipped, and pointy.

An off-white coloring is visible on the bobcat’s lips, chin and underparts. Those that inhabit the desert and colder regions tend to have a light coating as compared to the darker layers on those inhabiting humid regions. The kittens are born already spotted, and this spotting is maintained even after maturity. It has a pink-red nose and round black pupils grace their eyeballs.

On the other hand, the cougar has plain coloring. Spots are only visible on young cubs, and they tend to fade away depending on the maturity of the species. It has a tan coating resembling that of a lion, and this is where the name mountain lion was derived. This species has lighter patches on its underbody, including its chin and throat.