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What You Should Know Before Adopting an Exotic Cat

August 1, 2021

Does owning an exotic cat, such as a lion or tiger, sound like a dream come true? It seems like a great idea, but in reality, it can be very challenging. While you can find exotic cats to buy, you need to think twice before actually getting one. Here, a local veterinarian discusses some things to think about. 


Price

The price tag on exotic cats is quite high, as they can cost thousands of dollars. The exact price will vary on the kind of kitty you get. Mid-sized cats, like Servals, go for about $1700 to $3000. Ocelots can cost as much as $15,000, while tiger cubs, which are now illegal in many places, can cost $7500.


Space

A smaller home, such as an apartment, is just fine for your typical housecat. However, exotic cats are larger and have more energy. This means they require a lot of room. Your new pet will need quite a sizable enclosure. Remember that cats aren’t happy in an empty cage or pen. You’ll need to have plenty of big kitty furniture and toys.


Laws

Depending on your location, laws on owning exotic pets vary. Savannah cats, for example, are illegal in many states, but not in others. If you live in a community with an HOA, you should also get familiar with their regulations. Also, consider the exotic pet laws if you eventually move to another state.


Veterinary Care

Another important thing when owning an exotic pet is finding a good veterinarian that has experience with exotic cats. Most, if not all, veterinarians are highly skilled when it comes to providing care for domestic cats. Exotic cats, on the other hand, have different needs that require different veterinary skills. 


Ethics

We understand the attraction to exotic pets: they’re unique, beautiful, majestic, and fascinating. Unfortunately, many don’t live well as pets. This goes for big cats, too. Rather than adopt, consider making a donation to a reputable rescue.


Behavior

If you think that an exotic cat will behave like a giant housecat, you may be mistaken. Some don’t like litter boxes, while others don’t like to be handled. For example, Ocelots really don’t enjoy domestication, and have a habit of ignoring commands even more than your average housecat.


Compromise

One compromise you can make is owning a Bengal. While these cute and charismatic kitties are considered exotic, they’re just as small as the average housecat!


If you have questions about owning an exotic cat, contact your local animal clinic for more information!

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