Provided you have a permit issued by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, it is legal to own and possess a sand cat in California. The law: 14 CCR § 671. Importation, Transportation and Possession of Live Restricted Animals, states: “It shall be unlawful to import, transport, or possess live animals restricted in subsection (c) below except under permit issued by the department.”
The subsection referred to in respect of cats in general is:
1. Family Felidae-All species (W) except:
a. Acinonyx jubatus (cheetahs)-(D).
…from which it can be seen that cheetahs appear to be legal in California, which would surprise me. Although this subsection appears to be saying that cheetahs are an exception to the rule that a permit is required, I don’t think it actually means that. Although arguably the law is poorly drafted.
Obviously domestic cats are not restricted and neither are hybrids of domestic cats. That means that the F1 Savannah and F1 Bengal cats are not restricted. These are first-generation wildcat hybrids in which the fathers are servals and leopard cats respectively.
RELATED: Are caracals legal in Florida?
You might think that getting a permit is going to be fairly easy but I would suspect that it won’t be. You will have to jump through hoops and hurdles to get one. It’s a good safety barrier to stop casual ownership of wild cats including this diminutive example which has the appearance of the domestic cat but the character of a genuine wild cat.
RELATED: Do sand cats make good pets?
Did you find this article useful and interesting? Can it be improved? Please tell me in a comment. I am always keen to improve the site for animal welfare and reader enjoyment.