10 U.S. States Where Having Wild Cats as Pets Is Possible & Legal!

Is it possible to have wild cats as pets? Well, apparently it is in some states. However, before taking a huge step like this one you should consider that like the rest of the cats these too are territorial. Wild cats spray their territory, they mark it, they need a larger outdoor space that needs to be caged, they need a zoo experienced vet and it may be impossible for you to travel since you are the only one they trust.

Current States Where Wild Cats Are Legal as Pets…

In some of these states, all big cats are legal. In others, only certain ones are. The following list includes U.S. States where most exotics are not regulated. Note that many of these countries have strict insurance policy and minimum caging requirements.

1. Indiana 2. North Carolina
3. Mississippi (only small wild cats) 4. Missouri (only with a permit)
5. Montana (only lynxes and bobcats)  6. Nevada
7. North Dakota 8. South Dakota
9. Texas (most counties have banned it) 10. West Virginia

Having Wild Cats as Pets


These are probably the most lovable and human companion wild cats that a man can have as a pet. They are short but very strong and muscular. Bobcats are capable of bringing down a deer so one can suspect they can attack a human. Records show this hasn’t happened, but best to be kept away from children. They like other animals, especially dogs and are very adoptable, but they need an outdoor cage that will have a roof.

Canadian and Siberian Lynx

Photo Credits: U.S. FWS via Flickr

Unlike the bobcat, these felines are not eager for human companionship, but they are considered to be easygoing and pretty adjustable to new surroundings. They love climbing and you should provide them with a higher outdoor caged space. One of their disadvantages is their coat, they shed a lot, and this can be very messy. They are very energetic and lively, they like walking on leash and they have a dog-like manners.

Serval (Savannah Cat)

Photo Credits: Sonja Pauen via Flickr

Wrongly recognized as the cheetah for its spotted fur, servals are quiet, tolerant animals, not a threat to their human parent, but maybe to a bird or a rodent. They bite when cornered or scared and this is something that you should be aware of.

Caracal Cat

OMG! I did not expect that sound! This is the cutest thing ever! ? This baby is a wild caracal cat.For more info ====>

Posted by Cats Life on Sunday, February 12, 2017

Similar to the Servals, but these felines are more well-mannered and less threatening. They are playful at their timing and very destructive with household objects. Just like Servals they eat 2 to 3 pounds of meat per day.


Photo Credits: Mark Dumont via Flickr

Ocelots are very similar to domestic cats and are very rare, not very social and not obeying commands. They have a strong odor so you better think twice before having these wild cats as pets!

Fishing Cat

Photo Credits: Cliff via Flickr

These felines belong to the Red list of Threatened species and have been introduced to private pet owners by illegal way. There are not many inside information about these cats.

Jungle Cat

Photo Credits: Tambako via Flickr

One of the largest cats and one of the most nervous ones, they are very fragile and want privacy. Jungle cats are not endangered, but according to the latest info their population declines.

Geoffroy’s Cats

Photo Credits: Tambako via Flickr

Geoffroy’s cats are the smallest of their kind and regarding their birth country they can endure extreme cold or heat. They are rare in the pet trade and used for a hybrid breed called the Safari cat. They are very shy, but may become very aggressive once come to a breeding age.

Asian Leopard Cat

Photo Credits: Tambako via Flickr

These wild cats as pets are very shy and very hard to get, poor on companionship unless the human parent spends a lot of time with them. Most of their subspecies are illegal and need documentation as evidence that they are not the endangered ones.


Photo Credits: Galawebdesign via Flickr

*Savannah cat also known as the Ashera cat combination from Serval and domesticated cat;
*Chausie combination from the Jungle cat and domesticated cat;
*Jungle bob combination of Jungle cat and Pixie cat a domesticated breed;
*Bengal cat combination from Asian leopard cat and domesticated cat;
*Safari cat combination of Geoffroy’s cat and Egyptian mau or ocicat

Source & More Info:

Pet Helpful
Wild Cat Sanctuary

Featured image credits: Fiona Yerst & Max Pixel


Leave a Reply
  1. People can’t even do the right thing with domesticated cats, and yet they want to foist themselves on wild animals that deserve to remain free. Caging and assuming these cats will always be docile is just wrong!

  2. I love to watch the veterinarian shows on TV. It sickens me to see the exotic pets that these people bring in to the veterinarian office. Two-thirds of these animals should be out in the wild and not caged up in somebody’s house as a quote, exotic pet! These beautiful cats should be allowed to roam in the wild where they belong not tamed down or attempted to be. Let them hunt and catch their food like they’re meant to be. Humans are so selfish at times.

  3. Absolutely agregious that Caracals or any exotics are being bred and sold. Worse that someone wants to hide that behind the idea of conservation. That is not conservation. It’s irresponsible and immoral to buy or have one of these or other wild cats alike. Education is obviously needed here for this person and those who don’t see this as wrong.

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