Do Ocelots Make Good Pets? – Ocelots Facts

When you are considering buying a new pet, you should ensure that keeping them as pets is safe. After all, they are exotic animals. So, If you are concerned about it, don’t worry anymore.

In this article, I will take you through the guide of why they are not good pets, their nature, legalization, and much inside information. So, please read the article to learn more about them.

Do Ocelots Make Good Pets?

The answer is no. Ocelots do not make good pets. They are wild animals that are destructive, expensive, endangered, and unsafe for kids. Apart from that, they require a lot of space and specialized veterinary care. So, it can be hard for those who do not have a large budget to pet them. Most importantly, Ocelots are illegal to keep as a pet. Although some countries allow you to pet them such as Ecuador and Peru. You can also pet them if you have a license. But it is yet recommended to avoid petting them.

Reasons Why Ocelots Don’t Make Good Pets

Reasons Why Ocelots Don't Make Good Pets

Any wild animals cannot make good pets. Similarly, Ocelots are also wild animals living in Central and South America. They cannot make good pets. There are several reasons why you should not keep an ocelot as a pet. I have discussed the reasons in the points below. Please have a look at it –

They are destructive

Ocelots are destructive animals. They can break down things and make the environment messy. They can destroy your furniture and ruin the walls of your house with their claws. 

These animals can also chew down things. That’s why it will get very difficult for you to handle them if you are not an expert. Hence, you should not keep ocelots as pets. 

They are expensive

The ocelots are extremely expensive. They cost up to $15000 depending on a few factors. Including that, they need to have specialized care such as appropriate enclosure and diet. Ocelots eat a mixture of nutritious food. 

They need a specialized diet including litter as they are carnivorous animals. You need to feed an ocelot with a proper diet. Without an appropriate diet, they may feel irritated. Also, their enclosure should be enriched with toys.

They can get bored without it. To maintain their well-being, it needs a lot to spend on them. So many people may not consider spending so much on Ocelots.

They require a lot of space

Ocelots are one of the smallest exotic animals. But these feline species need a lot of space. They are not the same as big cat like panthers, but still, they have a large size. They are around 28-30 inches long.

They also hunt and explore. They need around 800 square meters of enclosure. So, before having the Ocelots as house pet, you should think if you would be able to give them the space they need. 

They bite other animals

Ocelots are small exotic cat. They are not domestic cat. Like other wild cats, they are endangered species. Many ocelots also bite young babies and other pet animals.

The baby ocelot kitten may look innocent and safe at the initial level. But when they grow up, It is unsafe to keep such exotic cats as pets around your home. 

When you keep these wild animals as pets, you need to be extra careful about other pet animals’ welfare. So, taking a chance of keeping exotic animals can bring out problems for you and other people too.

The ocelots cannot be good house pets. But if you want to have cat as a pet, you can keep many other domestic pet in your house.

Birds, lizards, and small domestic cats make wonderful pets. They are also not banned as pets in almost all countries. You can safely keep them at home. 

They need specialized veterinary care

Do Ocelots Make Good Pets? Ocelots Care Guide

The ocelots need specialized veterinary care. Animals like ocelots cannot be treated by normal veterinarians. It needs of a lot knowledge and care to pet a Ocelot.

Not only that the specialized vets can charge a lot, but also handling these pets will require a lot of experience and skills. So, you have to make sure your vet is experienced when you take them for a health check.

It would be difficult for you to find specialized veterinarians for them. At the same time, you would also need to care for them properly. But unless you are an expert, it will be hard for you to handle and keep these cats in the house. 

Is It Legal To Own Ocelots?

Ocelots are illegal to have as pets in most of the countries. But you can have these small wild cats as pets in Peru and Ecuador. They have made it legal to own an ocelot.

Meanwhile, England, Australia, Canada, and Alaska have completely outlawed keeping them as pets. 

The countries Brazil and the United Kingdom allow you to pet Ocelots with permission. There are also some states in the USA where you can get pet ownership with permission or a license. So, if you are thinking to pet an Ocelot, make sure you’re getting permission. 

However, Ocelot pet owners should understand that it is not a good idea to bring an ocelot into the house. These cats are wild.

Although some countries including Texas have made it legal to have them as pets, I would not recommend this. Also, many countries have banned the exotic pet trade.

Instead, people should think about the conservation of ocelots.The international union for Conservation of Nature has listed them as the least concern and also denied the practice of keeping Ocelots as pets. 

Check the legal status here!

Can I Tame a Ocelot?

Can I Tame A Ocelot?

Ocelots really can be aggressive to humans unexpectedly as they are wild animals. But research shows that you can tame an ocelot if you bribe them with food.

Ocelots may gain your trust if you treat them with raw salmon or small rodents. Some Ocelots can be affectionate to you. While you may try to tame them, they will befriend you for some time. 

But you never know when these pet cats return to their instinct. They cannot be domesticated. They should be released free in the wild where they deserve to be.

The wild is their natural habitat. They do not deserve to keep as pets. So, you should wisely take a decision when choosing them as house cat.


It is understandable that you want to own an exotic pet. But Ocelots are not a good option for you to keep them as pets. They are not domesticated cats.

They are endangered. It means that they always feel threatened even if they are not. So, you can calculate the risk of having them as pets. They can attack you anytime because they are wild. You cannot trust them.

Most importantly, these wild animals can return to their natural instinct anytime soon. In case you want to have exotic pets, you can go with other domesticated animals such as birds and small cats.

They can make good pets. However, I hope this article helped you to learn if they are good pets or not. 


Can I Own A Ocelot In Florida? 

Yes. You can own an ocelot in Florida. But you will require to take permission/ license from the authorities to have them as a pet.

How Much Do Ocelots Cost?

The average cost of Ocelots is from $1000-$15000. The price will vary depending on the age, size, and gender.

Are Ocelots Dangerous?

Ocelots are not that dangerous compared to other big wild cats. But if they feel threatened, they can attack you. Also, they may attack your other pet animals at times. So, you should not keep ocelot at home.

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Hugues Beaufrere is the Exoticpetia’s senior writer and reptile expert. He has been fascinated by reptiles and monkeys since he was a kid and had years of experience in herpetology and primatology. He has cared for various kinds of Monkeys, Lizards and Reptiles and loves to share his knowledge and passion with others.

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Dr. Patrick Simon, DVM, is a qualified veterinarian specializing in exotic animals, especially reptiles. He has a master’s degree in zoology and a doctorate in veterinary medicine from the University of California, Davis. He has worked with various reptile owners and rescues for over ten years, providing expert care and advice. He is passionate about educating people about the fascinating world of reptiles and their unique needs.

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