Why would you want a tiger as a pet? Do you want a unique pet as a good conversation starter? Is this a way to express your individuality? Does the appeal of these big cats fascinate you?
Whatever your reasons, before you jump into ownership, check state or federal regulations. You don’t want to invest your time, money and love into a pet to have it taken away from you because of legal issues. Most states ban private ownership of large, undomesticated cat, but it is legal in some states.
The following is for educational purposes only. Laws may vary from state to state.
Regardless of where you live, it’s wise to check for any local, federal or municipal laws that might apply. There may also be home owner association or other covenants to consider.
Should tigers be pets? We may never get a satisfactory answer to this as everyone’s idea of a “pet” is likely different. A better question might be “Is it possible to domesticate a tiger?”
Tigers are often called big cats, but they are not super-sized versions of domestic cats. Even a domesticated cat may strike out with their claws if irritated. What could happen if your tiger decides to take a swipe at you?
It may take years or decades to build a relationship with your pet. But, the relationship remains tenuous because wild animals are unpredictable. Are you willing to take a risk?
What are the housing requirements for keeping a big cat comfortable and healthy? The International Exotic Animal Sanctuary recommends a minimum of 4,500 square feet of living space. There must also be adequate water for swimming and cooling.
Is your heart set on owning a tiger? Do you live in a state conducive to such ownership? How about volunteering at your local zoo or with a veterinarian who specializes in exotic pets? Some hands-on experience could be what you need to test the risk versus reward.
Answering all these questions should help you decide for yourself if a tiger would be a good pet for you.
No matter how cute and cuddly your little tiger cub is, he or she will grow up to be big. Average tigers weigh from 200 to 480 pounds. But, they can weigh as much as 600 pounds and reach a length of 10 feet.
Tigers have an average lifespan of 20 to 25, so their longevity is a factor to consider. Unlike the more social lions, they are territorial, and the males do not play well together. Males mark their territories the way most felines do by spraying urine or feces. This can be a sanitation problem and/or nuisance in the long run.
Besides the suggested size of living space, how will you keep your tiger confined to its environment? These excellent climbers need a home that provides plenty of exercise. You’ll also have to keep them from getting bored. As you consider where your tiger will live, ask yourself: “Would I be content to live here if I were a tiger?”
Another major consideration is what you will do if your pet gets sick. You can’t put it into your car and take it to the vet. How will you handle transportation issues? If your vet doesn’t treat exotic pets, what will you do?You could:
No matter how you handle this aspect of your pet’s care, it’s always easier to locate and to choose a vet before you need one. The last thing you would want is to have an emergency with your pet and be unable to get the proper care.
Have you done your legal homework, weighed the pros and cons, and decided a pet tiger is for you? Congratulations! Here’s some tips for choosing a seller you can trust:
Use these suggestions to pick the best big cat for you:
Choose an active, alert and unblemished tiger with a sleek, glossy coat and bright eyes. Are there signs of animation and a good disposition? That’s a positive sign. Do you see any external parasites or signs of disease, deformities or infections? Any of those could be red flags of warning. Take your time and make sure you are satisfied with your choice. After all, you’ll be companions for a long time.
You may want to ask your vet these questions about your pet’s eating habits:
By now, you might be wondering “Even if it’s legal, is owning a tiger the right choice for me?”
Before you make that final decision, here’s some reasons why many states ban tiger ownership. Some of these might affect your decision.
*The World Wildlife Federation estimates the population of tigers worldwide as 3,890.
As you can see, there’s more to owning a pet tiger than legality issues. No matter what your ultimate decision is, your goal is to own a pet with whom you can share a loving companionship. If a tiger isn’t right for you, you might consider another exotic pet like a sugar glider, Fennec fox or even a tarantula.