Owning a wild cat
April 18, 2003 1:54 AM   Subscribe

Is the U.S. the last Western country where wild animals can be kept as pets? Why? And why not? Although this is definitely cute and this is even cuter, it's just not the same. When I was young, several of my friends with ranches kept pumas. But no longer - it's now illegal in Argentina. Though I understand all the problems, I fail to see why, in principle, it should be. If hunting them is - aargh! - allowed and promoted, why not owning them? Does anyone know of any resources on the Net about buying and owning wild cats? Or indeed wild animals in general? I couldn't find one to balance this post. Where do people get them? How do they know how to keep them? [Though I did find a very amusing column about ferrets in Jeremy Clarke's column for today's Spectator...]
posted by Carlos Quevedo (10 comments total)
Does anyone know of any resources on the Net about buying and owning wild cats?
Why yes... look on this recent mefi post and here.
posted by Espoo2 at 2:51 AM on April 18, 2003

The US is not the last western country where wild animals can be kept as pets; I'm in South Australia, and I attended a course two weeks ago where we learnt about keeping Australian native animals; Possums, Kangaroos, Wallabies, Bettongs (as well as lizards and birds - they're wild animals too, you know).

The majority of Australian animals cannot be simply taken from the wild and kept as pets, however - apart from pest species like dingos and galahs, animals have to have been rescued after being injured. There are plenty of rescued possums and kangaroos waiting for good homes, though!
posted by Jimbob at 4:46 AM on April 18, 2003

Most people don't bother educating themselves on the proper care and dangers of wild animals. They end up being mistreated, sometimes unintentionally, sometimes not. It is legal where I live and for years a tiger lived in a cage in a local plant store. A plant store! That is wrong on so many levels. But legal! So of course someone will do it.
posted by allpaws at 5:59 AM on April 18, 2003

The idea of hunting bugs me a lot less than mistreating an animal for several years... it's the difference between a quick death and a long slow one.

With some kind of license (requiring some training) it'd be better, but a lot of zoos don't even take proper care of big cats because it's so fricking expensive.

On the other side of the coin, anyone who owns a not-declawed housecat understands the folly of keeping one around that weighs 350 pounds and is 8 feet long. ;)
posted by Foosnark at 7:25 AM on April 18, 2003

People have hard enough of a time understanding the committment required for a domesticated animal, let alone a wild one. Some things are just meant to be admired from afar.
posted by tommasz at 8:36 AM on April 18, 2003

Is the U.S. the last Western country where wild animals can be kept as pets? Well, not exactly. The States have restrictions and requirements on their own, its just that the federal gov't hasn't enacted a national law.
posted by Pollomacho at 8:41 AM on April 18, 2003

I gotta agree with Tommasz. Pardon me for saying, I but I think that anyone who wants to own a Lion or some other wild beast has some severe issues. Putting their own satisfaction above that of an animal like that is just idiotic and fuckedup. Spend yer money on a good shrink instead.
posted by dobbs at 9:14 AM on April 18, 2003

A friend of mine has 4 Bengals...three of the four are very calm and affectionate, and the fourth is more standoffish than anything. I've been around them quite a bit and they've never bitten or scratched; they're talkative and spend a lot of time playing with and grooming each other. Pics.
posted by OneSmartMonkey at 9:17 AM on April 18, 2003

Link to a partial list of attacks on humans, attacks on other animals, and escapes from cages by felines held in private possession as "pets" in the U.S. since 1990.
posted by agregoli at 9:25 AM on April 18, 2003

I'm going to have to disagree with you, Dobbs. I agree with tommasz's point however. You can't just blanket treat everyone who possesses an animal falls outside the sphere of normalcy as insane or schizophrenic or in need of desperate help. Many people impulse buy these creatures though, without understanding how much work and effort would be involved. They do that with domesticated animals as well however.
posted by Darke at 1:26 PM on April 18, 2003

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