Is it legal to own a wild cat in Cyprus?

This is about individual residents owning wild cats of any species. It is not about businesses and enterprises for which there are different regulations. As usual, when it comes to searching for legislation about the possession of exotic animals such as wild cats, it is next to impossible to obtain a clear definitive answer using the Internet. It seems that the legislatures of US states or most countries do not want to make an effort to present their law clearly for the layperson to read and understand. Cyprus is no exception. I am hoping that a friend of mine, Harvey, who is a cat lover and who is the caregiver of a lot of cats on Cyprus, will comment and add some definitive facts on the topic ?.

Spotted street stray cats of Cyprus
Spotted Street cats of Cyprus. Cyprus has lots of stray community cats like other Mediterranean countries. Image: MikeB
Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles: Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

RELATED: Harvey’s 37 Cats in North Cyprus – see the photo above.

My research about an individual person owning a wild cat species such as a caracal or serval in Cyprus as a pet is as follows. There was a time until recently when there were very few rules about the ownership of exotic animals on that small island.

However, a few websites have stated that the Cypriot government has recently enacted regulations limiting the ownership of animals. They have what they call a “positive list”. This is a euphemism to mean a list of wild animals with respect to which the law restricts importation and ownership.

The best I can find out is that pigs, sheep, goats, cattle, horses, donkeys, mules, hinnies, dogs, cats, ferrets, rabbits and rodents are allowed both in respect of importation and ownership. They say that “a limited number of mammal species” are allowed. They don’t provide a full list unless the animal specified above represent the full list. I don’t think it does.

Map showing Cyprus
Map showing Cyprus by PoC.

However, reading between the lines, I have to conclude that it is illegal to own any wild cat in Cyprus as at the date of this post. I am thinking of commonly domesticated wild cat species such as servals and caracals.

I state that with a bit of trepidation because the online newspaper Cyprus Mail have an article dated May 11, 2022, which blames loose regulations in Cyprus for a hybrid cat (Savannah) attack on a child.

The Greens, a party in the Cypriot legislature, state, according to this newspaper, that: “The attack… again raises the issue of a lack of a legal framework in regard to the importation of wild animals to Cyprus as pets or in public or private zoos.”

RELATED: Flown to UK: cats and dogs abandoned in Cyprus because of coronavirus

And they go on to state that “to date, there has been no regulatory framework on the operation of pet shops and the good living standards of the animals, nor any regulation concerning the species or categories of pets that are allowed to be sold or owned or sold as such”. That statement comes from the Agricultural Minister Costas Kadis.

As you can imagine I’m confused because I’m receiving conflicting information which is sadly quite normal, as stated, in searching for information about the legal requirements of exotic animal ownership in any country.

The only thing to do is to telephone your local authority and confirm what the current position is. They might be able to help you. I would not be surprised if they, too, were confused.

RELATED: Flown to UK: cats and dogs abandoned in Cyprus because of coronavirus

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Useful tag. Click to see the articles: Cat behavior

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