Having a pet is definitely one of the most pleasurable things, especially an exotic pet. Ocelot cat pets are one such category of exotic animals that instantly become the center of attention. Cats have a blissful aura, and Ocelot pets have a special pull that attracts people towards them. 

Their stunning color and incredible pattern enhance their appearance and distinguish them from other domestic pets. But Ocelots have different behavioral patterns from domesticated cats, and getting them is a big commitment that needs careful anticipation. 

Owning an exotic Ocelot cat pet has become a status symbol for many. People tend to get Ocelots as pets without knowing they can be destructive, noisy, messy, and even dangerous. Today’s article will throw light on the question ‘Can Ocelots be pets?’ and discuss their behavioral patterns, nature, and legal status. 

Do Ocelots Make Good Pets? 

Domesticating wild cats like Ocelot pet is a tough nut to crack and has many hazards. These cats are moody and have behavioral problems that are hard to handle. So one thing is clear Ocelots, don’t make a good pet at all, and keeping an Ocelot pet is not going to be as fun as you thought. 

Ocelot cat

Here are a few reasons why an Ocelot cat pet might not be a good idea! 

Ocelots Have a Strong Hunting Instinct 

Ocelots have a natural hunting instinct, which poses a serious threat to your neighbor’s pets. You can mitigate that instinct with toys and games, but eliminating it entirely is impossible.

Frans De Wall, a Dutch primatologist and ethologist, observed exotic animals and found that “most exotic animals are not particularly interested in people, which makes it hard to provoke them. Human rearing gets them used to and sometimes imprinted on humans, which makes them potentially dangerous.”

Strong Odors

The waste that wildcats produce has a stronger odor than that of the average pet cat. Seriously, the dream of getting Ocelot pets can stink because of the strong smell of wildcats. 

Scent Marking Behavior

You are entirely wrong about Ocelot cats if you think stinking is the only problem with them. These wildcats have a really irritating scent-marking behavior. Being a wild mammal, Ocelot have a habit of marking scents all around the territory. So you have to get used to it, or you can train your Ocelot pet to avoid this behavior, but it won’t help a lot. 

Destructive Nature

The destructive nature of Ocelot makes them terrible pets. They are really messy; they tear things apart and scratch up walls. Their sharp claws can destroy your furniture and carpet. These wild cats will literally chew anything and can break fragile items while climbing. 

Need Specialized Vets

Finding a vet for Ocelot pets is a daunting task. All exotic animals need special medical care that is beyond the knowledge and expertise of an average veterinarian. For exotic pets like Ocelot, you must contact a qualified exotic animal vet, which is costly.

Feeding Them is a Problem

Ocelots are carnivores, and they prefer hunting small animals. So you have to invest a good amount of money in maintaining the diet of your Ocelot pet. You need to feed them taurine and lots of organic meat to ensure that they are getting enough nutrition. 

Extremely Needy and Dependent Cats

You can consider Ocelot cat pets as big attention seekers who crave personal attention. If you don’t interact with them, they will become noisy. Screaming and creating noise is their way of showing the pain of separation. Ocelot babies do this a lot when they are separated from their mothers. 

Need Plenty of Outdoor Space

Unlike domestic Tuxedo cats and other pet cats, Ocelot prefers going out. You need to have plenty of outdoor space for the physical stimulation of these wild cats. Besides, you make sure that the outdoor space you choose is secure and inescapable to ensure the safety of your neighbor’s pets. 

Can’t Keep Them Indoor

Being wild cats, it’s impossible to keep the Ocelots under the four walls of the house. They start showing signs of depression if they are not taken out. Experts recommend that all Ocelot pet owners have a minimum of 8 square meters of outdoor space. 

Keep an Eye on Them

The behavior of Ocelots is different from that of other domestic cats; that’s why they need special care. You need to keep an eye on them because leaving them unattended can threaten the lives of your neighbor’s pets. Unlike other pet cats, wild cats only interact with small pets to hunt them down. So you have to be a bit extra careful when taken outside.

Pricey and Hard to Get

Being an exotic cat, Ocelot is hard to find. Generally, they are not available in local stores, so you need to contact an exotic pet dealer in order to find one for yourself. If you are lucky enough to manage to find an Ocelot, it will cost you a fortune to buy one, as they are very pricey. 

About Ocelot Cat Pets

Ocelots are wild cats that have unique patterns all over their body. Their dappled coats bear a close resemblance to those of a Puma or a jaguar. They are mid-sized wild cats with an average lifespan of 7 to 10 years if kept free in the wild. 

Ocelot Cat,

However, when domesticated, these cats can live surprisingly longer. In captivity, these exotic wild cats live past 20 years. These cats weigh around 35 pounds and feed on small rodents. Being carnivores, ocelots have a natural instinct for hunting, which can give you a tough hand. 

Conservation Status of Ocelot Pets

The tropical and subtropical rainforests in Central and South America and the semi-arid thorn scrub in Texas and northern Mexico are the natural habitats of Ocelots. The developmental activities around these regions have badly affected their natural habitat.

Ocelot cats

Due to severe hunting and loss of habitat, the population of these wild cats decreased rapidly. In 1972, Ocelots were declared endangered species and listed under the Endangered Species Act of 1973. Considering their declining population, there were strict regulations on the practice of their sale, transport, hunting, and domesticating.

IUCN Red List of Conservation

However, as the global populations of Ocelots flourished a bit, they were rated as the least concern on the IUCN Red List of Conservation. Unfortunately, their population continues to decline, and it’s quite unpredictable what the future holds for the Ocelot pets. 

Legal Status of Ocelot Pets

Keeping them as pets is allowed in some places, and many jurisdictions like Alaska and New Zealand still have laws preventing owning an Ocelot. Domesticating Ocelot pets were strictly prohibited when entitled to endangered status, but they no longer hold the status of endangered species, so some places allow keeping them as pets. 

Ocelot breed cat

It simply means that it’s hard to keep the Ocelot as a standard domestic pet, and you need to check the regulations in your state before getting one for yourself. Currently, these wild cats hold the status of protected species, but their population trend could be more impressive and is still declining. 

Sidelining the legal status of keeping an Ocelot cat pet for a while, let’s see how good pets these wild cats make in the next section. 

Also Read: Are Tulips Toxic to Cats? Expert Advice & Facts 

How Much Do Ocelots Cost?

You’ll need to surely burn a hole in your pocket to get your hands on an Ocelot cat pet. A healthy Ocelot will cost you around $2000 to $5000. You can get this wild cat even for a cheaper price, but remember that the less you pay, the more problematic the pet you get. 

Furthermore, the price of an Ocelot cat depends on multiple factors like age, health, size, etc. We suggest you get an Ocelot from a licensed exotic pet dealer and don’t fall for the cheap price offered by shady pet vendors. Besides this, you should also get a brief idea about the dietary and behavioral habits of the Ocelot pet. 

How Good Pets Do Ocelots Make?

Ocelot cats are incredibly affectionate towards their owners, so despite the difficulties of Ocelot ownership, the experience is completely worth it. The Ocelot cat pet is a great choice for people who live alone. However, you should be prepared for all the responsibilities of owning Ocelot pets. Owning an Ocelot cat pet is a highly subjective decision that varies from person to person. 

For some people, this exotic wild cat can be a great fit, while for others, it can be an awful pet. You need to be fully prepared to take on the responsibility, time, effort, and money required for taking care of this wild cat. Getting an Ocelot as a pet is a huge responsibility, so ensure that you really understand what you are signing up for. 

Also Read: Top 12 Black and White Cat Breeds in 2023 

Frequently Asked Questions

Ans: Yes, Ocelots can be really aggressive in defending their territory. They can even fight to the death to protect their territorial claims. However, if appropriately trained, they can be good pets. Being an Ocelot owner, you need to give them proper time, care, and attention.

Ans: Ocelots have a similar appearance to jaguars, and they are also carnivores. But they are smaller than the Jaguars, at around 18 to 44 pounds. 

Ans: In the UK, it’s completely okay to own a domestic or house cat, but you’ll need a license to own a Felidae family cat like Ocelot.


Ocelot by International Society for Endangered Cats (ISEC) Canada
Ocelot by Wikipedia