Are caracals legal in Canada?

If you want an answer to the question in the title, you’re going to have to phone up the authorities in the area where you live in Canada and ask them. That sounds like an incredibly negative and useless answer. I know that you want a clean, clear solid answer to the question and I probably could provide it if I spent about 12 hours researching the issue and wrote a 5,000-word article which broke down the legislation by province, city and federally. It is a bit of a mishmash, the law in Canada with respect to the keeping of exotic animals.

What I do know, though, is that the laws regarding the keeping of exotic pets in Canada are weak but I believe that there is a gradual movement to tighten them up. Because they are weak you will find, I believe, more jurisdictions in Canada compared to America where it is legal to keep a medium-sized wild cat species such as the caracal as a pet. The problem is that I don’t know which jurisdictions apply! Wild animal ownership laws in Canada need to be changed as in most provinces wild animals can be kept as pets without apparently permits or any other restrictions. I have noticed that a new statute has been enacted called the Provincial Animal Welfare Services Act 2019, which should tighten up exotic pet ownership in Ontario. They have a section on prohibited and restricted animals at section 18 which states that “No person shall possess or breed a prohibited animal in Ontario”. The problem is they don’t list those animals! I simply can’t find a list of these prohibited animals which I find baffling.

Pet caracal with Maine Coon companion
Pet caracal with Maine Coon companion. Picture in public domain.
Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles: Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

You realise that immediately you start researching the point because no one is providing clean answers to the sort of question I’m trying to address in this article. The caracal is a genuine wild cat species. It is a medium-sized animal, very athletic and it will require specialist knowledge and facilities if you going to do a proper job in looking after a cat like this. They’ll be confined to the home and grounds. Than in itself is an issue as you’ll effectively be a zookeeper. And caracals need around 10 square kilometers to live in the wild or more. How will they feel in your home and backyard?

Pet caracal belly up like a domestic cat
Pet caracal belly up like a domestic cat. Pic in public domain.

The default law for ownership of a caracal should be that a licence is required. This should be the starting point. Make a presumption that you will need one which would granted from your local authority to possess and look after such an animal. You will probably need facilities such as an enclosure and therefore you will need the space in order to build one. You will need the time and the money to do a proper job. You need to research the whole project because it will change your life. And there will be inspections of your facilities and a fee to pay annually, I suspect. Any decent country, and Canada is in that category, should manage ownership of caracals.

Although, it should be said that the pictures on this page indicate that a caracal can behave like a standard pet cat. They can’t and they don’t. If you asked the people who owned these caracals what is is like to live with one you might be surprised. Don’t be seduced into thinking it is all hunky-dory, easy-peasy. It ain’t.

The claws of a pet caracal
The claws of a pet caracal. Photo: in public domain.

Canada has a slightly laissez-faire attitude towards wild animals in my view. What I mean by that is there’s a history of trapping and shooting animals in Canada because it a vast country with lots of wildlife and people living in remote places. There is this background attitude of trapping lynx for example, another medium-sized wild cat species. This background attitude has a bearing on the kind of laws you would expect regarding ownership of exotic creatures. My research indicates that there is a terrible mishmash of laws which need to be harmonised. There’s also difficulty in enforcing any laws that might exist because of the remoteness of towns and villages or individual properties combined with a lack of sufficient local authority employees.

I’m sorry I can’t be more specific but I immediately realised that I can’t provide a definitive answer without enormous effort and making phone calls and going beyond the normal demands in writing this sort of article. It’s far easier for you to telephone your local authority, asked some questions and go from there. You will eventually drill down to the answer you require.

But as I mention, you can presume that you will need a licence unless you live in a place where they have undeveloped laws regarding exotic pet ownership.

Please search using the search box at the top of the site. You are bound to find what you are looking for.

Useful tag. Click to see the articles: Cat behavior

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

follow it link and logo

Note: sources for news articles are carefully selected but the news is often not independently verified.

I welcome and value comments. Please share your thoughts. All comments are currently unmoderated.

This blog is seen in 199 of the world's country's according to Google Analytics which is pretty much the entire world.

Scroll to Top