15 Wild And Exotic Cats That Can Be Kept As Pets

exotic cats

A lot of animal lovers would love to keep tigers and lions as pets, but with stricter laws and regulations it is nearly impossible to even consider this option. However, for wild cat lovers there are numerous exotic and wild cat options, which can be considered pets. Exotic pets are not restricted to cats only, but include fish and Bengal tigers. The fact remains that there are a large number of small and exotic cat species that make reasonably good pets only if you know how to take care of them. Exotic cats refer to wild cat species that can be kept as pets or domesticated and these cats are extremely attractive and interesting species. Most people are used to domesticated dogs and cats and understand their behavior pattern very well, but with these wild and exotic cat species the whole process of petting can be a bit challenging.

If know the legal aspects of keeping these exotic wild cats as domesticated pets, then the process can be less difficult. Other than the legal permits you also have to loosen your purse strings if you have to keep one of these animals as pets. An exotic cat owner should have ample space and the right living conditions to accommodate these cats. Living with one of these species can be an amazing experience as these cats have the same loving and affectionate nature as the domestic cats, but there are a few challenges that are quite different from the regular domestic cat. The owner of an exotic wild cat has to be calm, responsible and dedicated. It is a huge commitment that will alter your regular lifestyle. These are not for everyone.

MUST READ Points to consider before getting an Exotic wild cat home

Now that you have made the decision to get an exotic cat home as a pet, make sure you are aware of certain rules and regulations regarding these wild cats. Ask a few questions to yourself about how it will work out financially, will the cat be happy with you and how much time can you spend for your prized pet. The following are a few pertinent questions you need to find an answer to before you make this very important decision that will alter your life.

Lifetime Commitment

Wild cats have a good lifespan. Most of them live for a minimum of 20 years and you have to remain a good companion to them for their lifetime.


If you are thinking of getting a wild cat, be aware of laws regarding the domestication of exotic cats in your state, city or federal.

Difficulty in re-homing Wild cats

Large exotic cats are difficult to shift to new homes compared to the small exotic wild cats. Shifting them to a shelter home for adoption can be very difficult as most of them don’t accept large cats. Even you may find it difficult to get people for adopting these cats. These are territorial animals and don’t like moving to new spaces or to a new owner.

Licenses or Permits

Most wild cats need licenses to keep them at home as domestic pets. These permits are different for each type of animal and city. If the cat you decide to keep home is on an endangered list, then obtaining permits can be extremely difficult.

Good Breeder

Make sure you do proper research about the breeder before you decide to get your loving exotic cat. The breeder should be recognized, well-known and possess good knowledge about the species.


Make sure there is a good vet in your locality. He should be trained to treat large wild cats and agree to treat your exotic cat.

Special Diet

Large exotic cats need special nutritious food. Their dietary requirements are different from the regular domesticated cats. It can be difficult to find food that meets these requirements at most of the commercial pet food stores.

The following are some of the famous and exotic wild cat species that can be kept as pets at home only if you are ready to consider the above restrictions associated with wild cats.


Serval is one of the most popular exotic wild cat species in the United States. They have their origins in Africa. Serval is three to four feet long wild cat, believed to be the ancestor of both the cheetah and the lion. It is found in the African savannah, the region where you find lions and cheetahs in abundance. This is not the regular housecat, but people still love these beautiful animals. The tall grass of the African savannah is a good hiding ground for this tall cat, making it easier for them to hunt. Lots of people in the urban areas have labeled it as a “Cheetah” because of their close resemblance to their cousins.

Physical Characteristics

Serval has large pointy ears similar to that of a fox, but shorter than a large cat. They have small head and long legs that are suitable for hunting and chasing down their prey in the tall grass. The tail is comparatively smaller in size. The coat is light brown with dark colored spots, black ears with white spots and a black tipped tail.


Serval is highly active at nights like most cats. They are very shy and try to stay away from humans. They are not known to attack humans, but it would be advisable to stay away from them. Bite from Serval should be avoided as it can be pretty lethal. Wild cats will attack only if they feel threatened or cornered. These cats are easy to confine as they are not great climbers. They are often used for educational purposes as they can be walked on a leash and can demonstrate their jumping ability. These are highly intelligent species and use their strong hearing and seeing ability to hunt down prey. Serval can make different varieties of noises or vocalizations to communicate with other Servals.


In the wild environment Serval will eat anything from rodents, small deer, reptiles and lizards. Serval in a domestic environment will need whole prey to meet the different protein requirements. A feline supplement called Mazuri’s Carnivore Supplement for whole prey should be given as food. Formulated pelleted diet can also be provided as diet, but should constitute the major bulk of its meal.

Housing a Serval is a daunting task. They are great jumpers and diggers with sharp incisors. They can easily dig the ground under the fence and even jump out of the enclosure. They are active and agile at night. The enclosure for this special species will have to be covered from all sides and should be dug very deep into the ground so that it can’t easily escape. A simple dog type enclosure will not do for this kind of animal. You can get one of the special harnesses that are available in the market, as it will help you with walking.

Servals are wild cats and there is always a risk associated with owning these kinds of species. You have to provide proper care, attention, food, space and be ready to spend a lot more on these. If you are not able to provide any of these, it would be wise to not get a Serval home. Domesticating these cats can take a lot of time and energy; it is not simple as getting a Persian. Most states do not grant permission to domesticate Serval, so make sure you are aware of these rules before you decide to get one home.