Outdoor PestsWildlife

What Smells Do Bobcats Hate?

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Bobcats, known for their elusive nature and predatory skills, are a common sight in many parts of North America. While they largely avoid humans, these wild cats can be a nuisance and pose a threat to pets and livestock. If you’re looking to deter bobcats from your property, you might be interested to know that certain smells can keep them at bay. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the smells bobcats hate and how you can use them as a natural deterrent.


Bobcats are deterred by the smells of wolf urine and ammonia. Wolf urine triggers an instinctual fear response in bobcats, causing them to avoid areas where the scent is present. Ammonia mimics the smell of another bobcat’s urine, signaling a territorial claim that the bobcat may want to avoid. These smells can be used as deterrents by spraying wolf urine or scattering ammonia-soaked rags around the areas you want to protect.

The Science Behind Smells and Bobcats

Before we delve into the smells that bobcats hate, it’s important to understand the biology and behavior that drives their aversion. Bobcats, like other animals, associate certain smells with danger or territorial claims.

The Fear Factor: Predator Odors

Bobcats have an innate fear of certain predators, including wolves. The smell of wolf urine triggers a fear response in bobcats, causing them to avoid the area where the scent is present. This is a survival instinct that helps them avoid areas where their natural predators may be present.

Territorial Claims: The Role of Ammonia

Bobcats are solitary and territorial animals. They mark their territories with urine, feces, and scent markings to ward off other bobcats. When they encounter the smell of another bobcat’s urine or scent markings, they may avoid the area to prevent conflict over territory. Ammonia mimics the smell of another bobcat’s urine, making it a useful deterrent.

Effective Smells that Deter Bobcats

There are two primary smells that have been found to be effective in deterring bobcats:

  1. Wolf urine: As previously mentioned, this scent triggers an instinctual fear response in bobcats. You can purchase bottled wolf urine and spray it around your property to create a “pee-rimeter” that signals danger to bobcats.
  2. Ammonia: Scattering ammonia-soaked rags around the area you want to protect can deter bobcats. The strong smell of ammonia gives off the impression that another bobcat has claimed the territory.

How to Use Smells to Deter Bobcats

Here are some practical ways to use these smells to keep bobcats away from specific areas:

  • Spray wolf urine around the perimeter of your property or areas you want to protect.
  • Scatter ammonia-soaked rags around the area. Remember to replace them regularly as the smell of ammonia fades over time.
  • Use these smells in combination with other deterrent methods for greater effectiveness. These include installing motion-activated lights, trimming bushes and trees to remove potential hiding spots, and installing a tall fence.

Are These Smells Harmful to Humans or Other Animals?

While these smells can effectively deter bobcats, it’s important to consider their potential effects on humans and other animals. Ammonia, for instance, can cause irritation to the eyes, nose, and throat, and may lead to headaches and complications for preexisting health conditions. Always use these deterrents responsibly and consider the potential impact on your household and local wildlife.

Remember, the aim is not to harm the bobcats but to encourage them to stay away from your property. Always check local regulations before using any deterrents, as some methods may be restricted in certain areas.


While bobcats are an integral part of our ecosystem, it’s understandable that you may want to keep them at a safe distance from your home, pets, and livestock. Using smells that bobcats hate, like wolf urine and ammonia, can be an effective and natural way to deter these wild cats. But remember, these methods should be used responsibly and in conjunction with other deterrents for the best results.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where can I purchase wolf urine?

Wolf urine can be purchased online from various wildlife control and hunting supply stores.

Can I use ammonia from my household cleaning products to deter bobcats?

Yes, you can use household ammonia. However, ensure that it is plain ammonia without any added fragrances or cleaning agents.

How often should I replace the ammonia-soaked rags?

The frequency of replacement depends on several factors, such as weather conditions and the size of the area. But generally, replacing the rags every 2-3 weeks should be sufficient.

Are there other natural deterrents I can use to keep bobcats away?

Yes, other natural deterrents include installing motion-activated sprinklers, using noise-making devices, and planting vegetation that bobcats dislike, such as thorny or prickly plants.

Is it safe to use these deterrents if I have pets?

Yes, but use them with caution. While wolf urine is generally safe, ammonia can be harmful if ingested or inhaled in large amounts. Always ensure that your pets cannot access the areas where you’ve placed ammonia-soaked rags.

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