When a man took a tiger for a walk through a shopping mall, police arrested him for endangering the public – the tiger was massive and there is no way it could be properly controlled on the thin leash he had him on.
The man got away with a fine and a warning and is no longer allowed to take his tiger out of his large grounds
He was very nonchalant about his exotic pet and it caused the policeman to look further into keeping these amazing creatures in captive.There was no shortage of them!
Big cats such as lions and tigers are awe-inspiring, beautiful animals. People are often intrigued by keeping big wild cats as pets, but what kind of pets do tigers, lions, bobcats, and other big cats make?
Owners need to remember that even the smaller of the non-domestic cats, such as bobcats, servals, and lynx, are not at all like domestic cats. Different species have different temperaments, but all of these cats can exhibit unwanted behavior from urine marking to aggression.
Most of these cats will need spacious outdoor cages in order to thrive. It is a huge commitment and responsibility to properly care for smaller wild cats such as bobcats.
The large cats such as lions, tigers, leopards, and cougars are even more problematic. Even if they are not overtly aggressive, their natural tendencies must be remembered. They are predators, and even at play, their huge size and strength can make them a threat.
Many people do keep big cats like bobcats, tigers, and lions as pets. Tigers and lions are surprisingly easy and inexpensive to purchase as pets. This means anyone can own a large powerful carnivore whether or not they are equipped to properly care for them. Pet tigers have been involved in several fatalities and maulings in the US and Canada in recent years. However, even more pet tigers and other big cats end up neglected, abused, or given up to sanctuaries when their owners cannot care for them.
I am certain that there are owners of big cats who go out of their way to provide appropriate housing and diet and have no problems, but there are countless others who are very misguided in their expectations and ability to provide the proper care. Case in point: the man in Harlem who raised a pet tiger in his apartment.
Things to Think About
If owning a big cat still intrigues you, here are some factors to consider:
- Keeping wild cats such as tigers, lion, bobcats and cougars may be illegal where you live (either under local laws or by wider regulations.)
- You will need to find a veterinarian that is willing to treat your wild cat (this will not be easy!).
- All big (wild) cats have sharp claws and teeth and can be quite destructive.
- Large cats eat massive quantities of raw meat.
- Big cats need a lot of space, and usually custom built cages, even smaller species like bobcats.
- You will need to provide lots of intellectual and physical enrichment opportunities, much like a zoo, for your wild cat.
- Big cats tend to spray (urine) and they have a musky odor.