Pet Caracal Legal and Illegal States 2024

Admired for its large black tufted ears, long legs, distinct facial markings, and reddish-tan coats, the caracal is a medium-sized wild cat native to Africa and Central Asia and therefore is considered exotic in the United States. As such, keeping one as a pet in each state will have different rules for pet lovers that want to own a special cat. As of January 2024, only a few American States have no laws that regulate the ownership of Caracals. These States include Alabama, Michigan, Nevada, North Carolina, and Wisconsin.

This means you can freely own a pet Caracal without a permit or license if you live in Michigan, Alabama, North Carolina, and Wisconsin. In South Carolina, you need to obtain a permit to own a pet Caracal. In other States, Caracals are either illegal or legal for licensed individuals.

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It is Legal to Own a Pet Caracal in These States

In the following states, a license is required to keep a caracal as a pet. However, an application for a license in these states is quite demanding. In the state of Florida, for example, you need to obtain a Class II license to own a Caracal. The application for the Class II license comes with age, experience, facility, and caging requirements. However, these requirements are not impossible to provide. That being said, below are the eighteen states where it is legal to own a Caracal.

  1. Arizona
  2. Arkansas
  3. Delaware
  4. Florida
  5. Idaho
  6. Illinois
  7. Indiana
  8. Maine
  9. Mississippi
  10. Montana
  11. North Dakota
  12. Oklahoma
  13. Pennsylvania
  14. South Dakota
  15. Tennessee
  16. Texas
  17. Virginia
  18. West Virginia

States in Which Caracals are Illegal

If the following states, it is unlawful to keep a Caracal as a pet, according to Big Cat Rescue.

  1. Alaska
  2. California
  3. Colorado
  4. Connecticut
  5. District of Columbia
  6. Georgia
  7. Hawaii
  8. Iowa
  9. Kansas
  10. Kentucky
  11. Louisiana
  12. Maryland
  13. Massachusetts
  14. Minnesota
  15. Nebraska
  16. New Hampshire
  17. New Jersey
  18. New Mexico
  19. New York
  20. Ohio
  21. Oregon
  22. Utah
  23. Vermont
  24. Washington
  25. Wyoming

A Little Info About The Caracal

Standing 16–18 inches tall at the shoulder, Caracals are not much bigger than the average domestic cat, which stands about 8-10 inches tall at the shoulder. The average lifespan of Caracals in the wild is approximately 12 years. Caracals in human care live up to 19 years, 7 years longer than their typical lifespan in the wild. As skillful hunters, Caracals can run at incredible speeds of up to 50mph. As strictly carnivorous, Caracals prey primarily on rodents, birds, and small antelopes. Though these cats are robust with sharp claws, there are no reports of a caracal attacking a human in the wild. The Caracal's main two predators are Lions and Hyenas. Caracals' most valuable defense against these predators is their incredible speed.

Caracals as Pets

Caracals are known to be playful and affectionate when kept as pets. However, owning a pet Caracal comes with a huge commitment of time, money and energy. To begin with, Caracals can cost anywhere from $1,700 to $2,800 to purchase in the United States. In addition to this initial cost, food costs for adult Caracals will be high as they have protein needs higher than household pet food can provide. Each day, a full-grown caracal can consume up to three pounds of meat.

As a cat with unique needs, weight, health needs, and nutrition preferences, a pet Caracal requires a specialized vet to create a plan that will meet the needs of the animal. Furthermore, a suitable cage for a Caracal can cost over $2,000. With all these expenses, it can be said that caring for a pet Caracal isn't cheap.

As wild creatures, Caracals are hard to train and are independent. If you are considering a pet Caracal, you should get ready to spend money furnishing your home and making environmental changes to accommodate life with your wild feline.

Finally, pet Caracals are escape artists and can be aggressive at times. Pet Caracals are known to have attacked children unprovoked, which makes them unsuitable for people with children. In 2019, for instance, a pet Caracal escaped its owner's home in Illinois and attacked a child who was strolling with her mother. The Caracal then attacked the mother too, when she tried to defend her daughter. Cops soon arrived and fatally shot the large cat, but not before it lunged at them, according to People. The child and her mother were treated for non-life-threatening injuries.

In December 2021, officers from Oakland County, Michigan, removed four Caracals from a female resident's home after the felines had escaped multiple times, according to The Oakland Press.

Pictures of Caracals as Pets

1. Pumba, the most popular pet Caracal with over one million followers on Instagram.

Pumba, the most popular pet Caracal

a pet Caracal

a pet caracal

2. A Caracal and a dog living together

A Caracal and a dog

3. A Caracal and a domestic cat

A Caracal and a domestic cat

4. Gregory the Caracal Cat

Gregory the Caracal Cat

Videos of Caracals as Pets


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