Tigers as Pets: The Pinnacle of Self-indulgence

Rescue tigers
Rescue tigers
Until September 7th I will give 10 cents to an animal charity for every comment. It is a way to help animal welfare without much effort at no cost. Comments help this website too, which is about animal welfare.

There are many declawed and even detoothed tigers as pets. People like to think they are sort of overgrown tabby cats. They just have to have one, in the same way they have to have a new and larger car or the biggest fridge.

Of course a 400 pound tiger eats 5,000 pounds of meat annually, which probably means these pet tigers are feed badly with attendant health problems. The cost of keeping a tiger is exorbitant. According to Big Cat Rescue the cost of keeping a medium sized wild cat in captivity for 2 years is about $67,000. Then you have the danger even without their claws and teeth. Do you think a tiger looks anything other than extremely sad in a cage? Or on someone’s sofa in the house? That just looks ridiculous. You see it though, some silly macho man showing off his best buddy a 400 pound tiger while watching the television.

Some people who keep tigers as pets claim they are doing their bit for conservation. Balderdash. Complete rubbish. It does nothing for conservation. Conservation is about trying to preserve tiger habitat and the tiger’s prey. If some of the extravagant expenditure on keeping pet tigers was funneled into real conservation it may make a small difference. Not that conservationists are going to win the battle against bid business involved in tiger parts. That battle is already lost I believe.

Tigers won’t become totally extinct. There will always be an inbreed, generic (moggie) tiger in a zoo somewhere.

When a person who fancies a tiger cub as pet wants to get rid of it because he is too big and eats too much someone has to pick up the pieces. Sometimes it is actual pieces. Some of these tigers probably find their way into tiger bone wine and other weird tiger products.

In 1996 Betty Young, in Arkansas, looked after 52 tigers. Some of them were housed in her home, which was reduced to a mess as expected. She has a 10 acre site. She was almost a cat hoarder only each cat was 40 times heavier.

I suppose she was just doing all she could, just like many good women do all they can to help unwanted domestic cats or look after stray and feral cats. But it was madness. It was trying to do the impossible, surely.

People breed tigers just as they breed domestic cats and thereby make matters worse. They are simply adding to the problem.

See the original story on National Geographic and my thanks to Rudolph for telling me about this. I have taken the liberty of publishing one of Mr Nichols photographs here. I hope that is OK.

P.S. Unwanted Texas tigers and Tigers for Sale and Joe Exotic.

21 thoughts on “Tigers as Pets: The Pinnacle of Self-indulgence”

  1. I am sickened at the thought of people keeping wild animals as pets just so they can massage their own inadequate ego and show off. More to the point why are they allowed to do it? What sort of country allows an endangered species to be kept in sometimes horrific circumstances and if not horrific equally worse in someone’s house? For pities sake!

  2. People who think that owning a big cat are selfish beings. These cats are born in the wild and deserve to live and breathe in the wild.

  3. Total self indulgence and cruelty, done no doubt to try to impress people with their exotic pet. The woman in the pic can’t be compared to the women who do what they can for stray and feral cats, they truly are helping, she is indulging herself by keeping big cats captive in her hovel which is totally alien to the way these poor animals are meant to live. I have no admiration for Betty Young and her bumbling mis-care of all those tigers, I wonder how well cared for they were and how well fed.

    • It is a mess from both ends of the problem. The misguided people who want tiger pets and the rescuer who can’t cope and who can’t give tigers what they deserve, a life in the wild.

  4. i love the wild cats but i would never domestic such beautiful animals as they belong in the wild. We have wildlife place here in Chistchurch call Orana Zoo which has all sorts of breeds of animals in safe areas.
    Im very realistic thats why prefer cats they so easy to look after and can admire their older cat generation.


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