Smelly Cat, Smelly Cat!

Question: When is poop an acceptable form of communication? Answer: When you’re a bobcat! You read that right; bobcats (and many other species) sometimes communicate with each other by leaving stinky little deposits around their home ranges.

Smells are incredibly important in the animal world. Certain scents can be picked up days or even weeks after they were made by other individuals of the same species, and they almost act like social media or dating profiles for solitary animals. Some cat species, including the bobcat and mountain lion, use community scrapes — designated areas where members of a species can pass through and scent mark. Can you imagine urination in public parks as a replacement for Tinder and OKCupid?

Bobcats employ a variety of scent marking techniques, including scraping (scratching the ground with their hind feet and sometimes urinating/defecating), urine spraying, body rubbing, and claw marking. Urine plays a pivotal role in bobcat courtship and mating, with male bobcats being able to detect females in heat and consequently visiting community scrapes most often during peak breeding season.

P.S. While it may work out fine for bobcats, we don’t recommend trying any of these things with your human neighbors…

Aaron Huelsman

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