A video of a young boy interacting with a pet bobcat is making the usual internet rounds today (Update: More than 1 million have viewed the video). Titled "A bobcat showing his love," the video shows the bobcat rubbing its cheeks all over the boy, grabbing him playfully by the shoulders. We called up Carole Baskin, CEO of Big Cat Rescue, the country's foremost wild cat rescue organization, to find out what's really going on.
Bobcats, like all cats, have scent glands in their cheeks which they use to mark their territory and property and deliver a variety of messages. The scent is undetectable to us, but to another cat, it's as clear as when you write your name in Sharpie on your lunch bag. "This bobcat is telling the world, this toy is my territory," says Baskin, "and I'm marking my scent all over this toy because I don't want any other bobcats to come along and take this toy away from me."