10 Legal Small Exotic Cats That Are Kept as Pets

Updated on March 7, 2018
Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa cares for a variety of exotic animals and has completed a certificate in veterinary assisting and a Bachelors Degree in Biology.

A Geoffroy's cat.
A Geoffroy's cat. | Source

Small Wild Cats as Pets

Exotic pets are a hugely diverse group of animals that range from betta fish to Bengal tigers, therefore It is often erroneously assumed that all exotic (or non-domesticated) cats in captivity pose the same threat to the populace as would a lion or leopard. In reality, there are a few small cat species which most people are not even aware exist that make reasonable pets for the right owners.

Tigers, lions, and cheetahs often steal the spotlight in wildlife documentaries and zoos, which can become a problem for the unknown small cat species that are in desperate need of public attention due to their threatened statuses in the wild. However, nearly all of the smaller to medium sized cats that are sometimes kept as pets in the United States are not of the endangered or threatened status, and given their small size and natural history, they are not an animal that would seek to prey on humans.

For pet owners expecting the behavior of domesticated dogs and cats, exotic cats might seem like 'challenging' animals. The differences between owning exotic cats and the typical domesticated cat is much like comparing a sky diver to a golf player. However, for more adventurous pet owners, with the right income, living situation, and permits (or laws not regulating the ownership of the animal), they can be exceptionally rewarding. Electing to care for animals like these is life changing and it is not a decision to be taken lightly.

Before Considering Any Exotic Cat as a Pet, Read These General Rules

For those considering an exotic cat as a pet, make sure you do ample research. As a general rule, know that exotic cats:

  • Mark their territory by spraying. This can include furniture, walls, and their owner.
  • Require large outdoor caging and/or a room dedicated to the animal.
  • Should see a vet experienced with zoo animals, this can become a considerable expense.
  • Range in purchase price from $1500-$20,000.
  • Are illegal in most states, or require permits and licensing often not given to pet owners.
  • May prevent you from traveling.
  • Have a very difficult time being re-homed!

Now that we have out of the way, scroll down and continue reading about 10 small exotic cat species that can be kept as pets.

1. Servals

A serval taking notice.
A serval taking notice. | Source

Servals, which originate from Africa, are probably one of the more popular exotic cats kept in the US.

  • Every once in a while, a pet serval (or Savannah cat, discussed further below) escapes from a residence and is labeled by the news media as a 'cheetah', which it superficially resembles due to its spotted markings and long legs in comparison to its body. The serval however has large pointed ears like a fennec fox and is much shorter than the bigger cat that it shares its range with in the wild.
  • Often people will take a look at a serval and assume it to be a threat to the life of its caretaker, but this medium–sized cat is only interested in small animal prey like birds, rodents, and perhaps a small antelope species.
  • Servals will flee the presence of the average-sized (and perhaps below) humans and have not been recorded killing any member of our species as of yet.
  • As one can guess, a bite from a serval is something that should be avoided. All exotic cats can pose this danger if they feel threatened or cornered.
  • Servals are aloof, quiet, and may be tolerant of other pets when raised in the home.
  • They are also easier to confine, not being avid climbers.
  • Servals are often used as educational animals; you might have sees them being walked on a leash and demonstrating their amazing jumping ability to an audience.
  • Servals are prone to weight gain without adequate exercise and enrichment, so this species needs an owner who'll encourage this.

Video: Serval Cat

Nutrient-dense dry cat food

Orijen Regional Red for Cats 4 Pounds
Orijen Regional Red for Cats 4 Pounds

Wondering what one might feed an exotic cat (or even a domesticated cat?) Many owners feed raw, whole carcasses or wet formulas, but dry food can be included. Orijen Regional Red is a great choice of dry food. The formula includes free range ingredients such as deboned beef, deboned wild boar, deboned goat, deboned lamb, lamb liver, beef liver, beef tripe, wild boar liver, deboned mutton, beef heart, and whole atlantic macker, an amazing assortment of proteins! I feed this and Nature's Variety to my spotted genet.


2. Bobcat

Bobcat in the wild.
Bobcat in the wild. | Source

Bobcats are a stocky, medium-sized cat native to North America. Bobcats may have the best companion animal personality of all the exotic cats because they bond strongly with their owners. However, the catch is that bobcats actually do possess the strength to kill an adult human (has not occurred in recent history from what I can find). They are short, but they are muscular, and they do have success hunting fully grown deer in the wild, making one suspect that they can easily fatally attack humans. Fortunately, this does not seem to have occurred with any captive-bred pet, but it does reveal that this animal should be heavily supervised around children (or kept away from them).

The video below shows just how lovable a naturally solitary, bold, top-level predator like a bobcat can become when it is captive-raised. Bobcats can even be friends with deer when raised with them since kitten-hood.

They also adore dogs and are highly affectionate. Do not think that bobcats are perfectly harmless, as they can have their aggressive moments, and they should, like the others, have a large outdoor cage to retreat to during the periods when they become moody. Being escape artists, these cages should be sturdy and well-designed with a top.

Video: Dangerous Bobcat Protects a Deer

3. Caracal Cat

A walking caracal cat
A walking caracal cat | Source

Caracals are a type of lynx that much resemble servals when it comes to personality.

  • When fully grown, caracals reach a height of 16-17 inches at the shoulder and weigh 30-50 pounds. They are known as the ‘desert lynx’ and are found in parts of Africa and Asia.
  • Like servals, hissing comprises a lot of how they communicate, which can sound threatening, yet caracals are similarly or perhaps more well-mannered than servals. This means that they have a somewhat traditional cat-like attitude, and play and interact with their owners on their terms only.
  • They are not a pet of which a human can initiate affection at any moment. When caracals do play, they are rambunctious and destructive with average household objects and furniture.
  • The life expectancy of caracals is 17 years in captivity (12 in the wild.)
  • Like servals, they will eat 2-3 pounds of meat a day.

Caracal cat lying on the ground.
Caracal cat lying on the ground. | Source

4. Canadian and Siberian Lynx

Siberian lynx lying in the grass.
Siberian lynx lying in the grass. | Source

The Canadian lynx is a thickly-furred feline with a range that stretches across the northern parts of North America (Canada, Alaska, and some parts of mainland US.)

  • These cats possess adept climbing ability, and prefer to be at high points in the home.
  • Unlike a bobcat, they may not form a devoted relationship with their human, but their temperamental fits are less severe. They have been described as easygoing, and are good with strangers, but not as eager to go on walks.
  • Due to their extravagant coat, they shed prominently. Their enclosures should be designed to accommodate a climbing animal.

The Siberian lynx is a bit different from the Canadian lynx.

  • Adult Siberian lynxes reach about 24 inches at the shoulder and weigh 40-80 pounds (weights vary with gender).
  • These animals are very energetic and playful, love walking on a leash, and have a dog-like personality. Their active nature may require a spacious house with no breakable valuables present.

5. Ocelot

Small and elusive, ocelots are rare in private collections.
Small and elusive, ocelots are rare in private collections. | Source

Ocelots are a small wild cat from South America (although they can occur as far north as Texas.)

  • They have large glassy eyes and beautiful markings, making their appeal as a pet obvious.
  • Famously, an ocelot was kept as a pet by Salvador Dali. However, they are now rare in the pet trade and very difficult to acquire (if it is still possible).
  • Ocelots are also, in comparison to the other wild cats, more challenging to maintain as pets. Unlike the more relatively social cats, ocelots will not pay attention to disciplinary commands and have a pungent odor.
  • Ocelots emit a disturbing-sounding mating 'growl' that can be heard in the video below.

Video: Pet Ocelot

6. Fishing Cat

Fishing cat.
Fishing cat. | Source

As the name implies, this cat loves to play in water.

  • Fishing cats are not as common in the ‘pet’ trade either, generally only existing in USDA licensed facilities because they are a felid tag (a wildcat advisory group) managed species. Kapi'yva Exotics maintains the only private collection of these animals (they are accredited by the Zoological Association of America).
  • The 2008 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species lists fishing cats as endangered. They have been introduced to the private pet trade in other countries, however (probably through illegal or unethical means.)
  • Due to their uncommon presence as pets there is little information about them available.

7. Geoffroy's Cat

Geoffroy's cats play fighting.
Geoffroy's cats play fighting. | Source

Geoffroy's cats are small cats native to the southern and central regions of South America.

  • Geoffroy's cats are one of the smallest wild cat species on Earth, at only 4-8 pounds when fully grown, and obviously are no public safety threat to humans.
  • Given their adaptations to native country, they can survive extreme heat and cold conditions.
  • They are also relatively rare in the pet trade and their gene pool is unfortunately limited in captivity. This particular cat is used to make an extremely rare hybrid called the safari cat (discussed below).
  • The Geoffroy's cat's CITES status is Appendix 1, meaning their trade is strictly regulated, but allowed. Despite their extremely small numbers in the wild, they are being phased out in zoos due to lack of room for small cat species. Private owners can assist.
  • This is a cat that, like the ocelot, can be rather timid and less social, therefore making it a poorhouse pet choice as it would require a lot of privacy and little noise pollution. These shy cats can become aggressive in addition to their nervousness, and these qualities may amplify when they reach sexual maturity.

8. Jungle Cat

Jungle cat.
Jungle cat. | Source

Jungle cats are native to Asia, Sri Lanka, Egypt, and they are the largest living Felis species.

  • This is another wild cat species used to produce hybrids with domesticated cats (‘chausie’, ‘jungle bob’).
  • In the wild, this species lives approximately 12-14 years while living 15-20 years in captivity.
  • Jungle cats are also nervous cats that are uncommon in captivity like the ocelot and Geoffroy's cat.
  • They are also fragile cats that would require privacy in a quiet household (or be maintained in a well-sized outdoor enclosure for most of the time).
  • They are not endangered, but their populations are in decline.

9. Asian Leopard Cat

Asian leopard cat.
Asian leopard cat. | Source
  • Asian leopard cats are shy and elusive in nature, being nocturnal and wary of people. They are also poor house pets and do best with substantial time to themselves (and their own large enclosures). They can still be tame enough to interact with their caregivers, but only if they are frequently interacted with.
  • Asian leopard cats are the animal responsible for the existence of the very popular Bengal cat. Bengals are legal in most states depending on the generation.
  • Some subspecies of leopard cat are endangered and require impossible to obtain permits. These subspecies are not legal to own as pets and leopard cats are required to have documentation that proves they don't belong to this endangered group.

10. Hybrids

Hybrids are not ideal for those who do not want an active cat, but perfect for those who do. Savannah cat pictured above.
Hybrids are not ideal for those who do not want an active cat, but perfect for those who do. Savannah cat pictured above. | Source

List of Exotic Cat Hybrids

  • Savannah cat or Ashera cat (serval x domesticated cat)
  • Chausie (Jungle cat x domesticated cat)
  • Jungle bob (Jungle cat x pixie bob, which is a domesticated cat breed)
  • Bengal cat (Asian leopard cat x domesticated cat)
  • Safari cat (Geoffroy's cat x domesticated cat, usually Egyptian Mau or ocicat)

Are Hybrid Cats Bad Pets?

There are hybrid cats that are more challenging than domesticated cats, and they are certainly not for everybody just like all other pets. This hardly invalidates them as an option for some people who want what they have to offer as pets. Just as border collies are energetic and are not for a person expecting the energy level of a basset hound, Hybrid cats are more 'dog-like', making for a more active and outgoing pet, perfect for fans of dogs, felines, and the challenges that come with the husbandry of non-domesticated animals.

Many sites often state that all hybrid cats make bad pets—this is utter nonsense. This claim is perpetuated by organizations that oppose all animals (typically with an exception for domesticated animals) in captivity for ideological reasons regardless of whether or not the animal thrives.

Hybrid cats consist of many species and many generations—it is ludicrous to state collectively that every feline falling under the definition of a hybrid exotic is a bad pet when there are even some hybrids that have such low percentages of wild blood that they are unmistakably domesticated cats with a bit more personality and interesting fur patterns.

A Summary of Exotic Cats as Pets

Cat Name
Litter Box Usage
Social or Well-Mannered?
Destructive Tendencies?
Asian leopard cat
Likes to eliminate in water.
Fair, can even be toilet-trained, but some spray.
Bonds strongly with owners and other pets it's raised with.
Will shred furniture if not de-clawed. Should have baby-proofed house.
Canadian Lynx
Excellent, likes going in water.
Sheds and climbs. Is high energy.
Fair, with work.
Yes, will climb on and chew furniture.
Fishing cat
Jungle cat
Probably fair.
Eats 'furry' things (socks, underwear.)
Siberian lynx
NOTE: Animal personalities vary. Some qualities may change with spaying and neutering (or they might not).

Small genet

Exotic pets that look like cats but aren't

  • Spotted Genet (rusty, small-spotted, large-spotted)
  • Binturong (bear cat)
  • Asian Palm Civet
  • Fossa
  • Tayra

Have you considered any of the cats listed here as a pet?

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    • Melissa A Smith profile image

      Melissa A Smith 2 weeks ago from New York

      Clayton Forrester The cerebellum coordinates muscle control, so what does that have to do with owning exotic pets? On the other hand, I think someone would have to have a damaged cerebrum to judge someone for owning an animal.

    • Melissa A Smith profile image

      Melissa A Smith 2 weeks ago from New York

      MiriD I've addressed these arguments again and again tirelessly. Please stop assuming I'm some idiot who hasn't heard these arguments and is completely naive. You don't think I realize that people incorrectly believe that cats and exotic pets are different? I have at least 5 articles that address this. You haven't written anything compelling, or something that someone with reasonable intelligence wouldn't think of. You're wasting your time parroting the same crap I've refuted for years, and it doesn't make my exotics any less of a pet that I own.

    • profile image

      Clayton Forrester 2 weeks ago

      Enre MiriD, Spot on , well written. As in all discussions there are exceptions, raising orphaned or wounded animals thus giving them a chance of a life, not big cats nor animals you would avoid in the wild, would be in my opinion a humanitarian act. But Invariably most people who have a combination of a large ego and a small cerebellum and raise dangerous animals eventually suffer the consequences. Also when I handed the “zoo attendant” the proper fee she pointed out where I should park.

    • profile image

      MiriD 3 weeks ago

      I created an account to respond to this article.

      I agree with Sara. People like John J., I cannot speak for your experience so I will speak for my own.

      The exotic pet trade is just this - any time you buy one of these animals, you will be supporting the exotic trade that takes these animals from their native territory, upsetting the fragile ecosystems, or breeding them in inhumane conditions within the United States.

      The fact of the matter is that you are also acting as if these animals are pets. They are WILD ANIMALS. They still retain wild instincts. They are not like our cats that were domesticated after hundreds of years of evolution. They can be 'tame', sure, but the fact of the matter is that they need to hunt, they need to mark their territory, they need to reproduce, they have needs that we simply cannot meet. Furthermore, the exotic pet trade also has abundant breeding techniques that result in crazy amounts of deformities in these animals.

      Ask yourself before you think "hey, I can get a wild animal": COULD YOU REALLY PROVIDE A LIFE FOR THIS ANIMAL THAT IT CAN ONLY GET IN THE WILD?

      By the way, it would be difficult as heck to find a vet for an animal like this. And judging by the majority of vets and vet students I know, they will not think highly of you.

      I have worked with predators in the past - in zoos, in rehab facilities, I am getting my Masters in tiger behavior. I have seen what they can do. They will randomly kill because their instincts tell them to. They will attack you because their instincts tell them to. They don't love like a human being loves. And for the love of all things holy, they will never be 'pets'. Or 'tame'. How arrogant are we that we think we can 'own' wild animals?

      I'm sorry. But that's the way the world is.

    • profile image

      Nikki 6 weeks ago

      For everyone confused, the author said "zoo attender" and a reasonable definition would be one who attends zoos.

    • Stephanie36 profile image

      Stephanie 7 weeks ago from Canada

      It's amazing that people actually keep these guys as pets! I'd love to, but not sure I could handle it.

    • Melissa A Smith profile image

      Melissa A Smith 2 months ago from New York

      CatLadyLynn The horror! Definitely worth acting like a lunatic over.

    • profile image

      CatLadyLynn 2 months ago

      A caracal is not “a type of lynx”! You should know better.

    • profile image

      Castrojc722 2 months ago

      Are any of these legal in NJ?

    • Melissa A Smith profile image

      Melissa A Smith 2 months ago from New York

      Thanks John.

    • profile image

      john j. 2 months ago

      I grew up on a farm in the south.

      When I was 11 I found a bobcat kitten in one of our fields while hunting. he was wet, bedraggled, cold and hungry so I naturally put him in the game bag of my hunting coat and brought him home with me. After dipping his nose in fresh cows milk a dozen or so times he learned to lap the milk. and became a truly delight full family pet. "Tom" had a great attitude. He adopted my two younger sisters and became their constant bodyguard and protector when they were playing outdoors. I enlisted in the U.S Army after high school in 1956 and served three years, two of those years on overseas assignment. when I would go home on leave I was greeted by Tom like a lost brother. We were a family of quail hunters. Tom loved dogs and was accepted by all our English setters after a period of sorting out who was boss. By the time he was four years old Tom had grown to 52 pounds on our scales and one hundred percent muscle. It was fun to watch guests who didn't know about our feline family member freeze in their tracts upon meeting him for the first time.

      By now you have probably realized that I am old and gray and spend a considerable amount of time in the past, if so you are exactly right. despite the fact that I have hunted all my life and still do, I love and respect all animals and am a staunch conservationist.

      I choose this venue to tell a story that I've never written before about a bobcat named Tom whom I loved and was loved by him and became a huge part of my youth.

      I read comments where people question the whole idea of bringing a so-called exotic cat into their home.

      Remember to treat them with the respect they deserve and

      earn and let them teach you.

      I do not hold myself up as an expert in the field based on my experience with one bobcat, but, my experience of 7 decades filled with animals I have learned that they are much smarter than we give them credit being.

      P.S. I knew a friend in Panama who had a pair of ocelots who were an absolute joy to be around.

    • profile image

      Herb Walters 3 months ago

      First, I do not believe that Bobcats should be considered exotic in any way, they are a Native species. Second, they average only about twenty pounds so why they are even considered large cats is beyond understanding. As house pets they can be let out during the day and they will always return. They also use a litter box like any cat when inside. They do make good pets and are more affectionate than most domestic cats. other domestic cats such as the Maine Coon are larger in most cases. All wild cats can be vicious and a bobcat is no different. However when raised in a home with people that is unlikely. Even as a child walking through the woods and picking up the kittens I seldom saw and was never approached by an adult bobcat. The only problem that someone may have is when a male is in heat and starts spraying and trying to get out of the house. So have them fixed or let them out.

    • profile image

      Terry 4 months ago

      Sara how DARE you, you disgust me and shut the heck up!

    • profile image

      Isaiah hoge 4 months ago

      Im the kind of pet owner that needs lots of affection likes to cuddle and behaves like a dog. As in easy to train loyal and behaves well. I was wondering bout a bob cat or a Siberian lynx

    • Melissa A Smith profile image

      Melissa A Smith 5 months ago from New York

      Gala, sounds like you didn't have a hand-raised pet lynx. Your post is confusing and makes little sense. Why would you need to move to a "Forrest"? Was your lynx a contained pet or not? Why did you even have one and your experience with one doesn't mean all are the same.

    • profile image

      Gala 5 months ago

      This post is bullshit. I had a pet lynx and needed to move into the Forrest in order to keep him happy. The only way for us to exist was because I let him hunt and allowed him to be what he truly is - a lynx. Lynx never defecate in water. Lynx are not social with people. In fact, I could never have small animals around him or children. No one else could go near him. It is because of posts like these, people get wild cats as pets and soon realize they do not make good pets. Wild animals should never be kept as pets.

    • Melissa A Smith profile image

      Melissa A Smith 6 months ago from New York

      Hi Sara/Abby, you're not the first dumbass trying to pull that scam.

    • profile image

      Abby 6 months ago

      LOL i'm with the other person, wtf is a zoo attender , because any professional zoologist, zookeeper, or other actual professional animal caretaker would not support this at all!

    • profile image

      Sara 6 months ago

      Wow, author is obviously very uneducated and supporting the abuse exotic pet trade. Exotics do not make good pets! DO not buy them! Anyone who owns one does not truly care for ANY animal. Author, your responses to people are not only laughable but appalling. You must have no life and an empty hole and thats why you're filling it with exotic pets. Maybe its because you're ugly? Sad they have to live with someone as shallow as yourself. Maybe a stuffed toy would be better? More materialistic and shallow, you would have lots in common. Also, mentioned declawing??? shows just how ignorant you are!! If you actually knew anything you're be writing in science journals not a free website any crack head can write on! Thanks for making my day with your laughable stupidity!!

    • profile image

      Mr denko 6 months ago

      Attracted to caracals :3

      Btw how about their manner with other domestic cats

    • Melissa A Smith profile image

      Melissa A Smith 7 months ago from New York

      Like, omg "Hana" you didn't need to comment 3 times pretending to be different people. That's the point, I have no shame in being a zoo attender or exotic pet keeper and if you really do have a degree it shows they will dole them out to any halfwit. Also I'm smarter than you, bye Felicia. ;-D

    • profile image

      Hana 7 months ago

      I'm dying you call yourself a "Zoo attender" omg. I have a degree in zookeeping, biology and pre-vet reqs and work as a wildlife rehabber. What the hell is a zoo attender? You have no exotic experience at all really right? and don't call yourself anything related to a zoo person-an actual accredited zoo would shun you for encouraging these as pets or having one. ZOO ATTENDER-SOMEONE WHO DOESNT HAVE JACK SHIT FOR ACTUAL EXOTIC EXPERIENCE OR A DEGREE IN ANYTHING ANIMAL RELATED

    • profile image

      Sira 7 months ago

      Obviously author is not educated in the least about actually caring for any of these species. sad she condones the abuse of these beautiful animals and mentions declawing-which is illegal in the US to do to exotic cats. which right there alone proves she knows NOTHING about any of these exotics or how to care from them-sincerely someone who works in this field at a sanctuary that rescues exotic pets people are not allowed to have and that they cannot properly care for. They should be banned in ALL States and sites like this are encouraging an abusive trade that is decimating wild cat populations. You should feel ashamed. To anyone actually educated that works with these animals in the field or an accredited facility-thinks you are the most ignorant selfish person that is just spewing their shit on a site that is not even a credible site either.

    • profile image

      Dezerae 7 months ago

      I find it disgusting you mentioned that the bob cats will shred furniture without being declawed-almost encouraging the procedure. WHICH IS ILLEGAL TO DECLAW BIG OR EXOTIC CATS!!!!!

    • profile image

      Melissa Freeman 8 months ago

      Wonderful site! I am wondering why the 'Margay' isn't included here? It was a very popular exotic cat for some time. They are similar to the Ocelot but there are differences.

      Here are a couple of Margay references:



      Thank you for all the great information, very interesting!

      I am life-long cat lover and owner :)

    • profile image

      Kitty 9 months ago

      Good information. May I add from my 25 yrs experience of rescuing over 25,000 cats, including exotic. It's so important to give proper care and the environment that meets their needs. Always spay/neuter before six months and never isolate any feline long term. They are social and isolation turns them aggressive and/or skittish. They need companionship.

    • profile image

      Concerned citizen 9 months ago

      These animals ARE NOT PETS, they are WILD ANIMALS.

    • profile image

      Sartu 11 months ago

      I have owned a Jungle Cat Hybrid and it is a lifelong committment. If they have health issues than the expense is 20 times what you have paid for it. Forget the litter box they stand when they pee and miss it 9 times out of 10 even when your using a large storage bin. They are amazing animals if you get one with the right temperment but look at the pet rescues to see why they are surrendered before you make a decision. Think of it as having a child with a disability your freedom will always be encumbered. My girl was a gift and worth the sacrifice but a lot of people just cant deal with the alteration in lifestyle and forget your home ever looking like one or even smelling like a Better Homes and Garden home ever again.

    • profile image

      Gary Fulghqm 13 months ago

      Well some of this stuff is good information, none of these wild cats can be kept legally without a permit in most States. I have Ray's Wildcat for 15 years and now just raised hybrids. All these cats are considered the same as the big cats when it comes to proper permitting process

    • Melissa A Smith profile image

      Melissa A Smith 14 months ago from New York

      I did a search for Savannah cat and that's what the picture was tagged as.

    • profile image

      Shauna 14 months ago

      This is a great article... EXCEPT the picture on the very bottom is labelled as a Savannah. I would point out that it is actually a Bengal. the way you can tell is that the spots are open in the middle (like donuts) if you google Savanah images you will see a Savannah has solid spots almost similar to a cheetah, there is much more color variety in Bengals than Savannahs.

    • profile image

      TheFancyRatVet 14 months ago

      Nice to know some of my fave wild cats can be pets! Thanks for the info!

    • Melissa A Smith profile image

      Melissa A Smith 14 months ago from New York

      I don't know, I'm sorry.

    • profile image

      silly mistake 14 months ago

      what happened to number 8?

    • profile image

      dkokie2 15 months ago

      I am 67 yrs old, love most animals (snakes, spiders and most insects weird me out). I have had cats most of my adult life and two dogs (one as a kid and currently have a 16 yr old Jack Russell that I inherited from my Mom when she passed away in 2004). I had one cat, Annie, that I found as a kitten and she lived to be 22 yrs old. She was the most amazing cat: extremely friendly, non-aggressive, played tag and nice and seek and most amazingly would play fetch with a small rubber ball. Annie had one idiosyncracy, she liked cantaloupe to the point she would sit in front of the fridge until she was given some. I moved from Florida to Oklahoma to take care of my aging Mom and Annie and my other cat, Cello, moved with me. My Mom wasn't too keen on cats in the house but Annie quickly won her over to the point Mom always had cantaloupe on her shopping list. My Mom's dog would try to get the cats' food so my Mom set two places at the kitchen table for the cats complete with plastic place mats, saucers with their names and two short bar stools condition on while they are. When Annie went blind at the age of 20 after talking and hitting her head Mom moved her water bowl and litter box into her room and would feed her on the bed and warned everyone not to move any furniture around because the cat was used to where things were. This from a woman who didn't want a cat in the house, lol. We lost Cello in 2000 to a seizure disorder but she had her talents also she would sit on the back of a sofa or easy chair and massage Mom's head (seriously, no claws just) and she could unlock doors and manipulate any kind of doorknob and open it (could even open panel and accordian doors): we baby proofed all the kitchen drawers and cabinets but Cello learned how to manipulate those latches. My roommate just lost a 16 yr old Siamese that was desperately in love with my roommates two Cocker Spaniels. She would curl up with them or lay on them to sleep and if either dog was not feeling well she would lay on them and purr (I have pictures of this). After Annie died I got another cat, Roxie a Siamese, that was very attached to Mom and when Mom died and we brought her ashes home Roxie laid on the box of ashes day and night and would occasionally yowel as if crying. Cats are amazing companions. I now have two more cats that are 13 and 15 yrs old that I got as kittens. Both are very active and healthy. I manage to keep animals for a long time: must be doing something right. I am also fostering a Betta, Siamese Fighting Fish, but that is a whole other story. Keep on with this site and ignore Hanna better yet block her from her vicious posts.

    • profile image

      John Brownlee 15 months ago

      Someone please give me a bobcat kitten, if you happen to have an extra one on hand. I will hug him, and call him "George".

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      Robert Smith 15 months ago

      I've been a Bengal breeder for years, all my babies were held and handle from 2 days old and thats every day. After they were old enough to jump over the 30 inch gate in they're room is when they had run of the house, played with when ever they were awake always. when people showed up to look for a new kitty they'd all run out to play with them, very people loving. Thats why I got twice the price for my kitty's. They all were love me - I love you ready/. So remember if you raise a bengal kitty start the lov'un before they even see you cause they'll know you by smell and taste as the lick you. They have VERY good memories. Hand raised is always the best.

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      Snow leopard 16 months ago

      Love the article! I never knew you could keep wild cats as pets. It is a shame though that you can't have these cats as pets in Australia

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      Yamaneko 17 months ago

      My biggest concern with any form of feline pet, is declawing. Declawing is barbaric, and should be banned universe-wide.

      Let's rip every dog's teeth out as a comparison, just because they chew stuff up...

      If you own a feline big or small, and consider declawing; please do an in-depth research, and understand the procedure and aftermath. Many will recoil from what they find out.

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      Lynn 19 months ago

      Love this article i have had many exotic cat breeds over th years including servals and they are ajoy nothing can replace my time with them never had a problem not even furniture they had big encloser outside and come in and out as they pleased

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      Jeanette 20 months ago

      The person who said that a pixie bob is part bobcat is mistaken. There have been no confirmed interbreeding between the bobcat and domestic cats. This rumor about a pixie bob being part bobcat was started so that breeders could charge more for their kitties. Early generation hybrid cats can make amazing companions , if you don't expect them to act like domestic cats . You adapt to them and train them with positive reinforcement. ( all cats respond to positive reenforcement ) . Don't ever declaw your hybrid cat ! They can be taught to use scratching posts . It takes a lot of patience. If you have an early generation chausie or jungle Bob you will have one smart cat that will give you years of love.

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      Dave 21 months ago

      Great website! I found it very interesting the info on these cats. Now it's just about finding a breeder. Thanks!

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      Dona 23 months ago

      I have geo cat about month olds and I want to learn how to make make it to be pet able !!?

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      Elly Jhon 2 years ago

      They look like a Tiger, so cute

    • KOrazem profile image

      Seeking Pearls 2 years ago from Pueblo West

      I recently acquired 2 kittens. They are simple domestic but immensely enjoyable. Your article is very well written and interesting.

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      Snakesmum 2 years ago

      Very interesting article. We can't keep these species in Australia, but if we could, I would have been doing my research! It's great that some of the animals can be kept as pets, as they are endangered in the wild.

    • Terri Williams profile image

      Terri Williams 2 years ago from Petersburg Indiana

      Very interesting and informative. I had no idea that these breeds existed.

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      iLoveMyGoats 2 years ago

      Recent study shows that while these cats are sometimes called Desert or African lynx, on the molecular level they are in fact, NOT related to the lynx and are a monophyletic genus.

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      courtney 2 years ago

      Great article, but I have to add that caracals are not in the lynx genus.

    • adevwriting profile image

      Arun Dev 2 years ago from United Countries of the World


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      Fyre 2 years ago

      Interesting article! I adopted a rescue cat a couple of years ago that conforms 100% to the TICA breed standard for the Chausie cat (Jungle/Abyssinian hybrid), and she has been an absolute joy as a pet.

      Yes, she is timid, but she is also active and funny and full of personality. She has bonded with me quite strongly, but will allow my grown sons and my husband to pet her and play "ping pong" with her (we toss ping pong balls to her on her cat tree and she skillfully bats them away).

      We also adopted a baby kitten that's of no particular breed - just an orange ball of fluff - and after 2 or 3 days of hissing she gradually began to "mother" him, and now they are truly best friends.

      I would definitely recommend the Chausie cats as a pet!

    • juderes profile image

      judalyn eres 2 years ago from cebu city, philippines

      oh my God cats!

    • CMarie83 profile image

      Christine 2 years ago from Arizona

      Great read!

    • Melissa A Smith profile image

      Melissa A Smith 3 years ago from New York

      Thanks CennyWenny.

    • CennyWenny profile image

      CennyWenny 3 years ago from Washington

      Great article-very educational! I am definitely NOT up to a challenging pet like this but we knew someone with a bobcat kitten once, he was a real handful. I have always admired Bengals though, they seem so intelligent.

    • Melissa A Smith profile image

      Melissa A Smith 3 years ago from New York

      Hannah, it IS run by me, and if you aren't willing to to look at my refutations, you can get your garbage off my blog.

      "You know the point it's trying to make"

      Yes, the point is that 'omg that sounds weird' so it's wrong and 'dangerous'. Keeping a hamster in a horse stable or feeding rabbit chow to a dog is in NO WAY, SHAPE, OR FORM comparable to exotic pet ownership. It is an utterly idiotic point expressed in an even more idiotic way.

      "Black Panther" is a commonly used term."

      Yes, by people who are UNEDUCATED about animals, as the author clearly is. The fact that you don't understand this shows that you are too. Even bloody Big Cat Rescue (anti-captivity extremists like yourself) says: "People commonly refer to black leopards or black jaguars as black panthers, but that is incorrect and demonstrates a lack of knowledge of the cat species."

      Go on, make excuses for the multiple errors I've called them out on, and ignore the fact that I rarely, if ever, make errors, because I'm not 'credible', but your comments won't be welcome here.

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      Hannah 3 years ago

      Your "source" leads to another blog that appears to be run by you, seeing as the person who runs it is named Melissa. Even if it's NOT run by you, it's not a credible source. Again, I trust the opinions of experts, not opinionated bloggers. Also, this: "Where to begin? What exactly is dangerous about any of those things!? Keeping a cat in a fish bowl is cruel, not dangerous. Keeping a hamster in a horse stable is stupid, not dangerous (you’ll lose that hamster). Feeding rabbit chow to a dog is also stupid, as it will lead to malnutrition if fed that in the long term, but it certainly isn’t ‘dangerous’. Training a snake to sit? Go ahead and try, they can’t really sit given they have no legs. But that’s NOT dangerous.


      I can honestly only say that this is just silly. You know the point it's trying to make, and so do all of the other readers.

      "The word ‘black panther’ is like saying ‘black melanistic bear’; the term panther automatically denotes ‘black’ because it’s not an actual species. The foolish author is clearly unaware of basic animal knowledge (a reoccurring theme in this series) yet they’ve taken it upon themselves to declare to knowledgeable pet keepers that what they’re doing is wrong for no valid reason."

      "Black Panther" is a commonly used term. Stating that an author from the ASPCA lacks basic animal knowledge is astounding, foolish, and, to be quite honest, pretty amusing to me.

      Go ahead, send me more "sources"; I'm sure they'll be links to more opinionated, uneducated blogs; perhaps even one of your own again. Sourcing your opinions with your OWN articles makes zero sense and does not provide valid, scientific proof of your points.

    • Melissa A Smith profile image

      Melissa A Smith 3 years ago from New York

      Hannah, please refrain from leaving multiple posts.

      I missed that, I did a Ctrl F for declaw and it didn't show up because I left out the '-'. Regardless, that statement means what it means, a serval will destroy your furniture if not declawed. It's just a fact. I don't condone it. I can remove that if you want.

      Your links are stupid. One in particular, I dissected and destroyed. (https://www.aspca.org/adopt/adoption-tips/exotic-a...

      Give this a read: http://captiveanimallogic.blogspot.com/2014/12/dip...

      Would you like me to make posts about ALL of your other links as well? This is why I do it; when people direct me to those stupid links, I can just provide a link to my blog instead of having to arduously go through all the failed points in them. FAR FAR FAR from credible.

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      Hannah 3 years ago

      I don't even need to prove to you that you're wrong; I can rest assured knowing that your readers are able to see these links and get their hands on CREDIBLE sources.

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      Hannah 3 years ago

      "Will shred furniture if not de-clawed. Should have baby-proofed house."

      That implies that declawing is a reasonable solution. Also, I'd like to ask how my links are stupid, and how that is a valuable and reliable argument against valid facts. My links come from reliable sources, one being from Animal Planet and one from an actual wild cat sanctuary; both ACTUAL experts on animals. You base your argument off of opinion; I don't see you sourcing any of your arguments. Basically, you're coming back to a sourced, educated argument with: "your links are stupid, I've been posting on a website for longer than you so I'm obviously right". I have sources, you don't.

    • Melissa A Smith profile image

      Melissa A Smith 3 years ago from New York

      Hannah, you're the one going on about declawing, I made no statement about it, so why are you tussling about that subject with yourself? Do you know how much I care about the opinion of someone who can't stop spewing romantic, empty rhetoric to try to convince me I'm wrong? This much -->.

      Also, your links are stupid. Come on, I've been doing this too long. So stop.

    • Melissa A Smith profile image

      Melissa A Smith 3 years ago from New York

      Thanks for stopping by Sandra.

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      Sandra Scarrow 3 years ago

      Interesting article, Jungle cat hybrids make wonderful pets, they are the only hybrid in the same genus ( Felis) as the domestic cat and are fertile earlier generations than other hybrids. We love ours, they are personable clowns, who fetch and love water.

    • Melissa A Smith profile image

      Melissa A Smith 3 years ago from New York

      Thanks Colleen!

    • Colleen Swan profile image

      Colleen Swan 3 years ago from County Durham

      I love cats and enjoyed reading your hub. Great pictures. I shall stick with my tabby for now.

    • Everyday Miracles profile image

      Becki Rizzuti 3 years ago from Indiana, USA

      Bobcats are looking more and more appealing. Such gorgeous animals, but they do have quite an attitude.

    • Melissa A Smith profile image

      Melissa A Smith 3 years ago from New York

      Hi Sherri, can you show me more about this ban?

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      Sherri 3 years ago

      I love your hub! I was wondering if you would write an article about the proposed ban in Florida and California? We would love your help! Exotic and hybrid cat owner's everywhere would be extremely grateful.

    • Melissa A Smith profile image

      Melissa A Smith 4 years ago from New York

      No I haven't heard of that, thanks. Disappointing to hear, as I thought Texas was more lax. There are some organizations that lobby for private exotic cat owners, such as: http://www.felineconservation.org/ and http://www.usza.us/...the latter was started by someone who I am not a fan of. This one as well: https://www.facebook.com/UAPPEAL.

    • ZookeeperByNature profile image

      ZookeeperByNature 4 years ago

      This article comes as a life saver as I was just researching this topic. Unfortunately, all the exotic cats are either impossible to find or listed as a "dangerous wild animal" in Texas which is pitiful. In fact, according to vague Texas law, all Savannah cats are listed as dangerous as well, which is utmost disappointing.

      What I want to know next though, is if there are any exotic cat lobby organizations (like USARK is for reptiles) or if there's any way I can move to have this law rewritten to exempt savannah cats or *hopefully* have servals removed.

      Speaking of USARK, have you heard of their recent lawsuit over the three banned pythons and the yellow anaconda? You should do an article about that. That's a strong move coming from the exotic pet community. Here's to hoping they win the lawsuit!

    • Melissa A Smith profile image

      Melissa A Smith 4 years ago from New York

      Thank you catgypsy.

    • catgypsy profile image

      catgypsy 4 years ago from the South

      Great hub! That is so interesting about the ocelots growl! They are all so beautiful. I have not even heard of some of these cats...very informative!

    • Melissa A Smith profile image

      Melissa A Smith 4 years ago from New York

      I agree CooperScape, thanks for commenting.

    • Melissa A Smith profile image

      Melissa A Smith 4 years ago from New York

      Glad you liked it so much Eiddwen thanks!

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      CooperScape 4 years ago

      The video of the captive-raised bobcat with the deer is incredible, as are the videos of the serval and "growling" ocelot. Very educational.

    • Eiddwen profile image

      Eiddwen 4 years ago from Wales

      What a brilliant hub and as well as voting up, across and sharing I am also going to save. Being a cat lover and also being owned by two cats(mother and daughter) this was indeed a treat. Thank you for sharing.


    • tsadjatko profile image

      TSAD 4 years ago from https:// www.consumeraffairs.com/ online/ hubpages. html

      I stand corrected Melissa! I was familiar with Pixie-Bobs when they first originated as a Bengal breeder I knew was getting into them. I never read anything about them and testing or revelations - originally they were passed off as a cross with the bobcat . You know I never thought any of the pixie-bobs I saw really looked that much like a bobcat. Glad you are up on things!

    • Melissa A Smith profile image

      Melissa A Smith 4 years ago from New York

      Thanks, I'm glad you appreciate this tsadjatko. I didn't know people combined Jungle cats and bobcats, however I'm quite certain that pixie bobs have no bobcat in them, because bobcats genes are too unique (this claim has also been made about main coons). I read that no bobcat marker genes were detected on them.

    • tsadjatko profile image

      TSAD 4 years ago from https:// www.consumeraffairs.com/ online/ hubpages. html

      Excellent hub page!! Having been a breeder of hybrids I am so glad you emphasized that organizations that oppose hybrids as pets spew utter nonsense against these breeds. Anyone who has been seriously involved with cats of all kind will tell you the horror stories about out of control pets are not by any means attributed only to hybrid breeds and there is a far greater percentage of instances of problem and/or feral cat behaviors outside of hybrid breeds in the general cat populations. By the way some breeders use only the wild cats from the original two breeds (the Jungle Cat and bobcats) to produce Jungle - Bobs. And you might include pixie-bobs (domestic/bobcat hybrid) separately in your list of hybrid breeds. GREAT HUB PAGE!!


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