Do jaguarundi make good pets? No, but a teenager mistakenly adopts a jaguarundi cub.

People ask Messrs Google if it is a good idea to adopt a jaguarundi as a pet cat. I guess they think it is possible because they are a small wild cat and people like the look of small wild cats. Their interest in the idea comes from the cat’s exotic appearance. The trouble is that their character is not so beguiling.

The question in the title was answered by an Argentinian 18-year-old teenager, Florencia Lobo, living in Santa Rosa de Leales, Tucuman Province. She found two stray sibling cats, a male and a female. She named them Dani and Tito.

Jaguarundi cub, Dani (a male), inadvertently adopted by Argentinian teenager
Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles: Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

Jaguarundi cub, Dani (a male), inadvertently adopted by Argentinian teenager.

Sadly Tito died soon after she found them. She must have had difficulties from the outset because she had adopted jaguarundi cubs. They look cute but they are incredibly difficult to handle; wonderfully wild but not created to be a family companion cat. Far from it.

Jaguarundi cub at animal rescue in Argentina

Jaguarundi cub at animal rescue in Argentina. The man holding the cub wears thick, long gloves. Wise.

Dani sustained a leg injury which does not surprise me because they are very active and in this instance he was living in an unnatural environment. She took him to a veterinarian who told her that she’d adopted a jaguarundi.

As the cub was unsuitable as a pet and as she could not afford to pay the vet’s bill, the cat was handed over to the Argentina Animal Rescue Foundation which, I understand, have released the cub into a local reserve. Florencia stays in touch with the animal rescue to find out how her cub is getting on.

Jaguarundi cub at animal rescue in Argentina

Jaguarundi cub at animal rescue in Argentina

Note: these cute wild cats are truly wild in nature as they have been (1) born in the wild and (2) they are inherently wild. They can be quite fierce. Some wild cat species are more suited to being domestic cats (e.g. margay) but the jaguarundi is not one of those species. And, anyway, it is not a good idea to have a small wild cat as a pet. It encourages wild cat abuse. Too many wild cats are stolen from their moms as kittens and shipped to foolish people who fancy possessing an exotic animal as a pet. Not a good idea in so many ways.

The general answer is…don’t try and make a small wild cat a pet. Let them live in the wild and protect them there. That is doing the right thing. Don’t give in to your human desire to possess shiny, glossy, cute ‘objects’.

Despite what I have said above, I am compelled to tell you that it is said that they can become reasonably tame when kept in captivity until they see a prey animal and suddenly turn into a vicious killer. In favour of the possibility that the jaguarundi can become a pet, it is said that in pre-Colombian times, it is thought to have been partially domesticated as a rat catcher.

Source: myself and the story from All India


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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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