10 States Where Bobcats Are Thriving: Over 200% Increase in U.S. Population

Imagine stepping out into your backyard, only to lock eyes with a wild bobcat staring back at you. For an increasing number of Americans, this once rare encounter is becoming a reality.

Bobcat sightings are on the rise across the United States (over 200%+ from 1981 to 2010 ¹), signaling a remarkable comeback for this resilient feline. Their populations, once threatened by habitat loss and over-hunting, are now flourishing thanks to conservation efforts and the cat’s incredible adaptability.

These ten states are where bobcats are not just surviving, but flourishing, and discover the factors contributing to their success.

1. Arizona: A Desert Haven for Bobcats

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Arizona’s diverse desert ecosystems provide an ideal habitat for bobcats. From the Sonoran Desert to the sky islands of the southeast, these adaptable felines have found a home in the Grand Canyon State.

According to a study by the Arizona Game and Fish Department, bobcat populations in the state have remained stable or increased in recent years (ref). This is largely due to the bobcat’s ability to adapt to a wide range of habitats and prey on a variety of species, including rabbits, rodents, and even deer.

2. California: Bobcats Thrive in the Golden State

Image Credit: Zack Frank/Shutterstock

California, with its varied landscapes ranging from coastal forests to inland deserts, supports a robust bobcat population. Despite increasing urbanization, bobcats have managed to carve out a niche in many parts of the state.

In fact, bobcats in the greater Los Angeles area have adapted remarkably well to urban environments. These urban bobcats have learned to navigate the city’s fragmented habitats, as well as find food and shelter in parks, golf courses, and even residential areas

3. Florida: Swamplands Sanctuary for Bobcats

Image Credit: Mihai_Andritoiu/Shutterstock

Florida’s vast wetlands, including the iconic Everglades, provide an ideal habitat for bobcats. These elusive cats have adapted to the state’s unique environment, thriving in the dense vegetation and abundant prey.

The University of Florida IFAS Extension estimates that the state’s bobcat population is stable and healthy (ref). This is partly due to the bobcat’s ability to coexist with other predators, such as the Florida panther, and its adaptability to changing environmental conditions.

4. Maine: Bobcats Flourish in the Northeast

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Maine’s expansive forests and rugged terrain have long been a haven for bobcats. Despite historical hunting pressure, the state’s bobcat population has rebounded in recent decades.

The population is now estimated to exceed 2,000 individuals.

5. Michigan: Great Lakes Bobcats

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Michigan’s vast wilderness, including the Upper Peninsula’s dense forests, provides an ideal habitat for bobcats. They have thrived in the state’s diverse landscapes, from the shores of the Great Lakes to the interior woodlands.

Bobcat populations in Michigan have been increasing steadily in recent decades. This growth can be partly attributed to the successful management strategies implemented by the state.

7. New Mexico: Adapting to the High Desert

taos pueblo new mexico
Photo Credit: DepositPhotos.com.

In the high desert plains and mountain ranges of New Mexico, bobcats have found a way to thrive. They have withstood the state’s arid conditions by obtaining moisture from their prey, minimizing their need for drinking water, as well as utilizing the desert’s rocky canyons and arroyos for shelter and denning.

8. Oregon: Cascade Cougars

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The Cascade Mountain Range of Oregon provides a perfect habitat for bobcats. They thrive in the region’s diverse landscapes by:

  • Hunting a wide range of prey, from snowshoe hares to mountain beavers
  • Utilizing the dense forests and rugged terrain for cover and denning
  • Benefiting from the state’s abundant water sources, such as mountain streams and lakes

These factors have contributed to the health and well-distributed nature of the state’s bobcat population.

9. Texas: Bobcats in the Lone Star State

Image Credit: Lorna Henry/Shutterstock

Texas, with its vast size and diverse landscapes, supports one of the largest bobcat populations in the United States. From the Piney Woods of East Texas to the desert scrublands of the west, bobcats have adapted to the state’s varied ecosystems.

10. Wisconsin: Northwoods Bobcats

Image Credit: Jacob Boomsma/Shutterstock

Wisconsin’s extensive forests and wetlands, particularly in the northern part of the state, provide an ideal habitat for bobcats. They have particularly thrived in the Northwoods, finding shelter in dense vegetation and an abundant prey base.

Embracing Nature’s Resilience

rocky mountain national park
Photo Credit: DepositPhotos.com.

As we journey through these major states where bobcats continue to thrive, one thing becomes clear: these felines are a testament to nature’s remarkable adaptability. 

But their success is not without challenges. Habitat loss, urban sprawl, and other human-driven factors pose threats to bobcat populations in various regions. It is our collective responsibility to prioritize conservation efforts, preserving natural habitats and promoting coexistence with these remarkable felines.


  1. https://meridian.allenpress.com/jfwm/article/1/2/169/206731/Bobcat-Population-Status-and-Management-in-North
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Davin is a jack-of-all-trades but has professional training and experience in various home and garden subjects. He leans on other experts when needed and edits and fact-checks all articles.