Should You Keep a Big Cat as a Pet?

Of course, larger cats can make great pets! But what you should consider is how long those cats need to be around before breeding.

There’s no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, because some big cats grow up to be relatively small while others hardly get any bigger. In general, it’s a good idea to start small and see how the animal fares if it isn’t well taken care of.

Can You Own a Big Cat as a Pet?


The Captive Wildlife Safety Act was introduced and passed in the U.S. House of Representatives in 2004 to address the problems of the availability of wild cats as pets.

This law prohibits interstate and foreign trade in exotic cats, including lions, tigers, leopards, cheetahs, jaguars, and cougars for the pet trade. A small number of licensed facilities are exempt from this legislation; federal law does not outright ban ownership however.

Experts estimate that there are thousands of big cats kept as pets in private facilities in the U.S., possibly outnumbering those left in the wild. Reports show fewer people owning big cats in America from 2011 to 2016. The numbers compiled by Feline Conservation Federation show a drop-off in ownership of big cats from 2011 to 2016.


There are a number of unfortunate big cat incidents that result in the pet’s destruction. Thankfully, there are steps you can take to prevent these tragic situations.

You can easily avoid the potential for your pet tiger to end up neglected, abused, or put in an animal refuge by not choosing a wild animal like a tiger as a pet. Big cats have owners just like any other species and some go above and beyond to provide appropriate housing, diet, and care, while others underestimate their ability.

Things to Consider

Before making the decision to purchase a big cat, consider the risks involved. You’ll need to be prepared with veterinary care and enclosures that are safe for both your animal and its potential victims. Big cats take up a lot of space (literally) and will be around for a long time. With careful consideration and consideration, owning one can be rewarding.

Big Cat Behavior & Temperament

All cats have temperaments that vary according to the species and their natural tendencies. For example, bobcats may look like housecats, but they are not at all like them. Different species have different temperaments and needs for socialization and care.

All cats deserve care and respect when taken in as pets because of their potential to cause problems with urine marking, destructive behavior…

Housing Big Cats

Like many other large animals, big cats need a lot of space in order to be happy. This is especially true in captivity, where they require large enclosures with extremely high walls or ceilings. It’s also an enormous commitment and responsibility to properly care for them.

Because of the risk of escape, their enclosures must be secure, and that means giving them plenty of opportunities to burn off lots of energy and explore new things. Big cats need more than just intellectual and physical stimulation; they need mental stimulation as well as socialization with one another.

Stinky Spraying

Big cats naturally behave with their natural instincts. The act of spraying is just a reflex, and it’s impossible to train them not to do so.

Cat urine and excrement can easily ruin a house or your property, so besides the danger and cruelty of keeping it indoors, you will also be losing money by doing so.

What Do Big Cats Eat & Drink?

Big cats are carnivores, requiring meat in order to stay alive. Some species can go through up to 15 pounds of meat per day and require supplements including vitamins and minerals to remain healthy in the wild. Big cats are also adapted for hunting animals such as deer, fish, gazelles, birds, reptiles, mice, and quite a few large mammals.

They feed on all parts of the animal from meat and organs, which provide them with many nutritional benefits. Unfortunately because big cats live for around 20 years on average, feeding one every day is quite costly

Purchasing a Big Cat

If you’re still interested in owning a big cat, there are some questions to ask before meeting with a reputable breeder.Among your questions should be whether or not it’s legal to own these animals in the location where you live (both under local laws and wider regulations).

Many wild cats are illegally kept as pets.You’ll need a vet who is willing to treat your animal because those facilities can be difficult to find legally.There is a high level of responsibility for these wild cats, and the future for many captive cats is neglect and even abuse when owners cannot handle them anymore.

Similar Pets Related to Big Cats

Felines are widely illegal to own as pets because they can be so expensive and dangerous, but if you’re on a budget and in love with felines, here are some other species that might be a better option for your family.

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