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What to Know Before Adopting an Exotic Cat

July 15, 2021

Are you dreaming of owning an exotic cat, like a lion or tiger? It sounds like a wonderful idea, but in reality, things may be quite different than you expect. Even though you’re able to find exotic cats for sale, you should really think twice before buying one of these big kitties. Below, a local veterinarian discusses some things to know before adopting an exotic cat. 


Price

You can spend thousands of dollars on an exotic cat. The exact price varies on the kind of kitty you’re buying. Mid-sized cats, such as Servals, range in price from about $1700 to $3000. Ocelots can cost as much as $15,000, while Tiger cubs (now illegal in many areas) can be about $7500.


Space

Typical housecats can live just fine in a smaller space, like an apartment. However, exotic cats are much larger and more energetic, thus requiring a lot more room. You might need to build quite a fairly sized enclosure for your new pet. Remember that felines aren’t happy in an empty pen or cage. You’ll need to have plenty of big cat furniture and toys.


Laws

Depending on where you live, laws on owning exotic pets vary from area to area. For example, Savannah cats are illegal in many states, but not in all of them. If you live in a community that has an HOA, you may need to check their regulations. You’ll also need to consider this if you eventually move to another area. 


Veterinary Care

Another thing to consider is that you must find a good vet that is experienced with exotic cats. Most veterinarians are highly trained at providing care for domestic cats. But, exotic cats have different needs. 


Ethics

We understand the attraction to exotic pets: they’re majestic, beautiful, unique, and fascinating. However, most of them aren’t suitable pets. This goes for big cats, too. Rather than adopting an exotic pet, consider donating to a reputable rescue.


Behavior

Don’t think that a big cat will act like a domestic one. Some exotic cats don’t like litter boxes, while others don’t enjoy being handled. Ocelots, for example, really don’t like domestication, and have a habit of ignoring commands … even more than the typical housecat.


Compromise

In this case, you may have to make a compromise and consider getting a Bengal. Even though these adorable and charismatic cats are considered exotic, they’re only as big as the average housecat!


Before you buy an exotic cat, consult with your local vet!

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