The thought of owing a rusty-spotted cat is quite popular judging by the Google searches:
The answer depends on where you are and I am referring to the country or the state in the USA. In the UK it is illegal to own a rusty-spotted cat without a license which you can apply for at your local authority. They’ll probably make stipulations which may be hard to meet. And there is also the moral dimension which I’ll get out of the way. I know it is boring but it is necessary to touch on this.
It is immoral to own a rusty-spotted cat as a pet because this is a wild cat species. It is the smallest species of wild cat and probably the smallest cat on the planet which is why people who’d normally adopt a domestic cat might want to adopt this little feline. It is exotic, special and very cute looking but its behaviour is not cute.
This cat is not domesticated and it should be allowed to live peaceably in its habitat in the wild. To try and own one as a domestic cat is both foolhardy and wrong. It is also almost certainly doomed to failure. It is reputed to be a fierce fighter. It is small but if you listened to it screaming in your living room you’d probably be scared shitless or your wife or child would. Or you’d better get a gallon of enzyme cleaner to get rid of the smell of pee sprayed all over your favourite carpet or sofa when it marks territory.
Then there are the conservation issues. In the wild, the population of this species is declining because of human activities. If you buy one where did it come from? The wild? A zoo? Someone stole a cub from their mother? None of it is good and it’s bad for conservation.
To recap: morally, ethically and practically it is not a good idea to own one. But is it illegal?
If you live in the USA and I believe most people interested in owning this cat are Americans, you’ll have to check the laws of the state where you live.
I won’t go through every state here as it is impractical. And the regulations are often not straightforward. You’ll need to check out each state and perhaps phone the relevant department.
However, I’ll provide some examples. Let’s take Michigan. There are no restrictions on owning a rusty-spotted cat. What about New Hampshire? All wild cat species are controlled and you can only possess one under a state exhibitor permit. Alabama, for instance, say that ‘there are no licenses or permits required for ownership of exotic animals’. I have checked and the rusty-spotted cat does not require a license. Indiana issue permits for one year for wild cat species.
I suggest that you use Google to search for the state’s Fish and Game department or the department concerned with wildlife or agriculture. You’ll find the answer there with a bit of luck.
If you are finding it difficult please leave a comment and a question and I’ll answer it.
SOME MORE ON THE RUSTY-SPOTTED CAT: