ISEC Canada is vehemently opposed to wild cats as pets. DO NOT contact us for information on obtaining an exotic cat as a pet.This trade is a direct contributor to the endangered status of the small wild cats.
Why We Oppose Wild Cats as Pets
- It permanently removes precious genetic material from the wild and promotes extinction. It is an assault upon nature.
- Capturing kittens for the pet trade often involves killing the mother cat thereby reducing the breeding and genetic potential even further.
- A continuous re-supply of wild cats for the pet trade is needed and as a species becomes increasingly endangered and therefore rare so too will the pet trade demand for it increase.
- All living things are connected, sometimes surprisingly so. Wild cats are at the top of the food chain and as wild cats disappear into the pet trade this has a domino effect on other species.
- Wild cats rarely make good house pets. They are typically shy, retiring, elusive, nocturnal and often cantankerous.
- It stops natural selection and genetic survival dead in its tracksWhile loss of natural habitat is the major cause of wild cat decline, the pet trade is a significant factor helping push them towards extinction. Evolution did not fine-tune today’s wild cats over a period of 30 million years so they could end up in a cage with food dropped in. Care for a wild cat is quite different from that of a domestic cat, people’s lives change and it may be difficult for an individual to guarantee a lifetime committment. A pet wild cat that has lost its fear of humans is far more dangerous than any wild cat in nature and, inevitably, sooner or later some pet wild cats will attack their owners and/or make an escape for freedom. In the process of being captured or, as is often more likely, killed, hate and fear is spread by the ever sensationalist media that sadly is then reflected as a fear by the populace of all nature and its wild cats even though they pose little or no threat.
Pandering to human vanity in the form of private exotic pet collections will never be an acceptable alternative to wild cats in a natural environment.
Wild And Domestic Cat Cross Breeding
In recent years, cat breeders, especially in North America, have experimented in cross-breeding domestic cats with wild species to obtain the “wild look”.
ISEC Canada, along with all other members of the wild cat conservation community, is appalled at this practice.
As an organization established to prevent the decline of wild cat species, we find this trend extremely distressing. While most people are familiar with the threats of habitat loss and hunting, many don’t realize another reason for the endangerment of many small cat species is hybridization with other species. This hybridization serves only to dilute an already small gene pool of captive wild cats. It does nothing to enhance the conservation of endangered cats, but instead supports the further loss of genetic material.
Collection for the pet trade is yet another threat to the future of small wild cats. Wild kittens are often obtained for the pet trade by the killing of the mother to get the kittens, resulting in a double loss to the species.
Another concern is for individual wild cats used in the process. There are set standards for small cats that dictate a substantial amount of room to maintain wild cats, as well as expensive and complex dietary requirements. We have received many horror stories of captive wild cats being kept in 1 by 1.5 metre cages and fed fruit, vegetables or other calcium deficient diets, resulting in their complete inability to function, and early death.
All wild cats need space. In their natural environment, they travel dozens of miles every day. Few people who take wild cats into captivity recognize this need for space and believe that animals, which are naturally more active than humans, can be happy in a space which any human would regard as a prison cell.
Each of these wild cat species evolved over thousands of years, each to its own niche in nature. It is so presumptuous of humans to want to “mix & match” the genes of these beautiful cats in an attempt to acquire a ‘domestic temperament with the appearance of the wild cat’ and by doing so diluting the wild genes it took nature thousands of years to create.
Annually, hundreds of thousands of domestic cats are euthanised in shelters around the world for want of a good home. The practice of “making a new breed” purely for their looks and personal financial gain, is not, and never will be, justifiable.
Read about some of the small wild cat species that are threatened by this practice: