How Safe Are Large Cat Breeds as Pets?

Most domestic large cat breeds are the result of crossbreeding wild feline species with domestics, which eventually produces an exotic-looking domestic cat. Raising an exotic cat (a wild species) as a pet is both challenging and dangerous. First consider acquiring an exotic domestic cat like a Savannah, Habari, Bengal or Jambi cat. These cats are the result of crossbreeding domestic cats with wild species. Those available for adoption are usually third or fourth generation domestics. If you are set on having an exotic cat, prepare yourself as much as possible to make the experience safer.

Dangers of Large Cats

Wild cats behave and acclimate differently than domestics. They are will probably never take fully to a litter box. They use their mouths to explore the world. What may be playful biting or chewing for them can easily be wounding or destruction of property for you.

Even if you've raised a wild cat from birth, he may attack without warning one day; large cats are still predators. Find an experienced cat handler who can teach you how to respond in this potential situation.

Stick to the smaller wild species of cats. Whether they are easier to domesticate or not, they are less likely to hunt you. A lion's prey might be the size of a human, while an ocelot's prey is about the size of rodent.

Tips for Raising Large Cats

Find out what the laws in your state say about exotic pets. You will need some sort of permit, and may live in an area where exotic pets are illegal.

Get a young kitten. You will need to spend a significant amount of time teaching a wild cat how to interact with humans in a safe way. Even with successful training, a tame large cat will not be able to safely interact with humans he has not been socialized around. Wild cats need far more attention than any other kind of pet, so be prepared to commit that time for the life of your cat.

Prepare a sizable outdoor space for your cat to roam, even if you want to have her in the house. Spraying (marking their territory with urine) is common, and you probably won't be able to a train a cat out if it. Spaying or neutering may reduce this problem, but there's no guaranteed way to stop it.

Feed large cat breeds what they would eat in their natural habitat: raw meat on the bone. When hand-raising young kittens, you'll need to prepare suitable formula and bottle-feed until they're about 3 months old. Bottle-feeding is an excellent bonding method, so have everyone who will interact with these cats in the future take part in this activity.

Know of a veterinarian in your area who can treat your cat. When sick or injured, your pet will become more dangerous and more vulnerable without necessary medical treatment.

Do significant research about different large cat breeds before choosing one; each species has its own benefits, drawbacks and dangers. You might also be faced with ethical considerations about breeding your pet if you adopt an endangered species.