Can you own a caracal in North Carolina?

The claws of a pet caracal
The claws of a pet caracal. Photo: in public domain.
Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles:- Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

Yes, you can own a caracal in North Carolina but you’ll need permit to import this medium-sized wild cat. The North Carolina law on this is limited and sparse. It is strange and also, in my honest opinion, poorly drafted. Here it is the relevant extract as I see it:


There are no known regulations regarding exotic animals not in the invasive species list other than importation rules.


ALSO NEED: Exportation or Importation Permit to import or export.

The North Carolina legislation starts of by stating that:


The state gives counties and cities the authority to regulate, restrict or prohibit animals dangerous to persons or property.

(North Carolina Statutes 153A-131, 160A-187)

Comment: It seems that the state of North Caroline devolves legislation on the illegality or legality of owning a caracal in the state to the administrators of the counties within the state.

The state is divided into 100 counties and ranks 28th in size by area, but has the seventh-highest number of counties in the US.

The caracal is not infrequently ‘domesticated’ to a certain extent in America to become a pet. But they don’t make successful pets unless you have a particular mentality. They are very athletic with the ability to jump up higher than other wild cat species from a standing point in my opinion.

I’ve seen a fat, bored pet caracal on the internet. You’ll need to be a special type to make a success of living with a caracal. The one below lives in Latvia. Sadly obese probably like his/her owner.

Obese Pumba pet caracal of Latvia
Obese Pumba pet caracal of Latvia. Instagram screenshot.

The import permit might set some standards of ownership which may, on occasions, indirectly put a stop of caracal ownership in North Carolina.

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