Are caracals legal in Tennessee?

Caracal is legal as a personal pet in Tennessee without a license
Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles: Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

Caracal is legal as a personal pet in Tennessee without a license. Image: MikeB

Please note that this is correct at May 24th 2023. The law evolves and changes albeit slowly so it might not be correct in the future.

I can keep this fairly short although the Tennessee law on keeping exotic pets is rather sparse. It could do with a bigger list of species! You’ll see what I mean.

In outline only, the relevant law is found on the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency webpage. The state of Tennessee classifies certain wild animals as ‘inherently dangerous’ for which a license to possess is required.

Their classification of wildlife – meaning those animals considered to be inherently dangerous – is found at TCA-70-4-403 of the Tennesse Code for Exotic Animals. This is the full title of that section of the law:

Useful links
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FULL Maine Coon guide - lots of pages
Children and cats - important

2010 Tennessee Code
Title 70 – Wildlife Resources
Chapter 4 – Miscellaneous Regulations
Part 4 – Exotic Animals
70-4-403 – Classifications of wildlife.

Section (1)(A)(ii)(c) states that lions, tigers, leopards, jaguars, cheetahs, cougars (all species) are dangerous requiring a license to possess them. The rules on applying for a license and maintaining it are found under section: Tenn. Code ยง 70-4-404. They look onerous.

But as you have no doubt spotted already, you won’t need a license to keep a caracal in Tennessee because this athletic, medium-sized wild cat species is not listed as inherently dangerous.

Therefore, the answer to the question in the title by implication but not directly stated (which I would have much preferred) is YES!

And even if a license was required (which it is not) they’d be legal if held under a license.

Note: I have presumed that the question in the title is being asked by a citizen of the state of Tennessee and not a bona fide zoo.

Note 2: there are many other pages on the legality of owning a caracal in various US states. Please click on this link to see caracal articles.

Useful tag. Click to see the articles: Cat behavior

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

Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 74-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in many jobs including professional photography. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare. If you want to read more click here.

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