Are caracals legal in Texas?

It depends what you mean by ‘legal’. Obviously they are legal in an approved zoo but I’ll proceed on the basis that the question is asking if a person living in Texas can legally own and take charge of a caracal at their home.

Pet caracal
Pet caracal . I don’t know where this is. They must have a license but it may be Russia where the rules are probably slacker. Note that this caracal is missing his right foreleg which is why I presume he has become a pet to this woman. Photo: Andrey Bondarev/Caters News
Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles: Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

The answer, I believe, can be found in the Texas State Law Library online under ‘Wild Animals’.

Under Texas Health and Safety Code, Title 10 Health and Safety of Animals. Chapter 822 Regulation of Animals, Subchapter E Dangerous Wild Animals section 822.101 (4) the caracal is defined as a dangerous wild animal.

Under section 822.103 (a) a person in Texas cannot own or have custody of a dangerous wild animal i.e. in this instance a caracal for any purpose unless they have a certificate of registration for the animal issued by an animal registration agency. You’ll have to apply and there is no guarantee that you’ll be successful or that a license would be renewed. Certificates are valid for one year. The fee is between $50 and $500.

There are other regulations governing the ownership of caracals and other listed wild animals in Texas. You can read them at your leisure by clicking on the link below.

Caracal ownership Texas

There is also the question of import permits for transporting the caracal into the US and then into Texas. You’ll have to get that straight and I believe you need to contact National Center for Import and Export at email or call (301) 851-3300 option 2. This information comes from the Texas Animal Health Commission.

It is a given that exotic animals such as a caracal will need a licence to possess. This would almost certainly apply to all developed countries. But licensing depends on enforcement. Where there is slack enforcement it may be possible to possess a caracal without a license but I strongly discourage it.

The caracal can be tame or even domesticated but they are potentially dangerous. They are a very athletic, strong, medium to small species of wild cat. The caracal is one of the wild cat species which is sometimes domesticated in the USA.

In my view it is wrong to have a caracal as a pet. There is a lot wrong with it.


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5 thoughts on “Are caracals legal in Texas?”

  1. If you are a lifelong owner of cats you know how to read their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. We have Maine Coons and they are NOT lazy. They are very active. If gotten as a young kitten and socialized from day one, a Caracal would make an excellent feline friend. I do not own one just stating my opinion.

    • Not quite true. The caracal is a wild cat. Even when socialised it would not behave like a socialised domestic cat such as a Maine Coon. It would spray urine around the home and it is much larger and stronger than even the large Maine Coon. It could harm their owner in play. Exotic, yes, and impressive but very few people would want to live with one. They would dominate your life in caring for them.

  2. Are you completely crazy there? my caracal has all the paws in place and claws and teeth. and I have UN permission. instead of writing nonsense, they could ask the owner, that is, me.


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