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Is It Legal to Own a Lynx?

Is it legal to own a lynx
Is it legal to own a lynx in your country? Where are lynx legal and illegal to own? What exotic cats can you keep as pets? In this article, we’ll answer these questions and offer a list of exotic cat breeds that you can own as a pet. Check it out! 

Laws Around the World 

In the US, four states have no laws on keeping dangerous wild animals such as lynxes as pets. These states are: 

  • Alabama
  • Wisconsin
  • Nevada
  • North Carolina

Meanwhile, six states don’t ban or regulate keeping big cats as pets. These states are: 

  • Alabama 
  • Wisconsin
  • Nevada
  • North Carolina
  • Oklahoma 
  • Delaware 

Around 21 states bank all dangerous exotic pets, while the other states allow certain species if the owners secure certain permits. Meanwhile 35 states ban keeping big cats as pets with different levels of exemptions, requirements, and enforcement. So for the most part, it is not legal to own a lynx in the states.

In Canada, it is legal to own Canadian and Siberian lynxes. In Europe, it is illegal to hunt lynxes. There’s a ban on international fur trade, and the Iberian and Eurasian lynxes are legally protected against hunting by the Birds & Habitats Directive. However, reports suggest that they’re still a victim of traps, snares, guns, and others. 

In the UK, several types of big cats are illegal to own as pets unless you can secure a license. These big cats include lynx and: 

  • Bobcat
  • Cheetah 
  • Caracal 
  • Jaguar 
  • Lion
  • Leopard
  • Ocelot
  • Puma
  • Serval
  • Tiger 

Why Lynx Don’t Make Good Pets 

Apart from being protected by laws around the world, Lynxes don’t make good pets because they lack traits that would make them viable for domestication. They don’t have a pleasant disposition and their diets are difficult to maintain domestically. They also don’t have the social structure that promotes domestication. 

Moreover, lynxes are obligate carnivores. They hunt and eat big game —- such as deer and other large animals —- that isn’t efficient for humans to reproduce. The sheer size and amount of the food they consume daily is difficult to maintain. 

Further, lynxes are solitary creatures. They’re rarely seen in groups since they prefer to be alone. They lack the dominance-centered hierarchy that would allow humans to intervene and come into their social structure.

Exotic Cats that are Legal to Own as Pets 

If you truly want to keep exotic cats as pets, consider the following types of exotic cats: 


Servals are one of the most popular exotic cats in the US. It slightly resembles a cheetah due to its spotted markings and long legs. The difference is that the serval has pointed ears like a fennec fox. It’s also much shorter.

While most people generally assume they’re dangerous to pet owners, servals are only interested in small preys like rodents and birds. They’re easier to confine since they’re not avid climbers. In the wild, they flee from human presence —- there hasn’t been any recorded human killing by a serval.


Bobcats are native to North America. These stocky, medium-sized cats are known to bond strongly with their owners. They’re highly affectionate and often bond with other pets such as dogs. 

However, bobcats do have the strength to kill an adult human. They’re muscular and can hunt a full grown deer in the wild. As such, bobcats should be heavily supervised around children. They should also have large outdoor cages they can retreat to when they become moody.


Caracals are a type of lynx that’s similar to servals personality-wise. They’re also known as the desert lynx and are found in parts of Asia and Africa. They mostly communicate by hissing, which could sound threatening. 

However, caracals are considered more well-mannered than servals. They have some traditional cat-like attitudes; they do play and interact with their owners — on their terms. When they play, they can be destructive with average household objects. And just like servals, they eat two to three pounds of meat a day.

Canadian and Siberian Lynxes 

Canadian lynxes have thick fur, and they possess great climbing abilities. They prefer high points at homes. Unlike bobcats, they’re less likely to have a devoted relationship with humans. However, they have less severe temperamental fits. Canadian lynxes are known to be easygoing and good with strangers. 

Siberian lynxes, meanwhile, are super energetic and playful. They love walking on a leash and possess a dog-like personality. Due to their active nature, owners are wise to build spacious houses with no breakable valuables. 


Ocelots are small wild cats from South America that have large glassy eyes and beautiful markings. They’re rare in the pet trade, so they’re difficult to acquire. They’re also more challenging to maintain as house pets since they pay no attention to disciplinary commands. Owners may also find their pungent odor to be repelling; they also have a disturbing mating growl. 

Asian Leopard Cats 

Originating in south, southeast, and east Asia, Asian leopard cats are roughly the same size as a traditional domestic cat and mostly eat rodents. They’re shy and elusive in nature because they’re nocturnal and wary of humans. They’re often poor house pets, though they can be tame enough with their owners with frequent interactions. 

Some subspecies are leopard cats are endangered and require permits that are difficult to obtain. These subspecies are illegal to own as pets, so if you want a leopard cat, you must secure documentation that proves they don’t belong to the endangered group. 

Exotic Cat Hybrids 

Exotic cat hybrids are breeds between a domestic cat and a wild cat. Most of them are artificial, meaning they’ve been deliberately bred by humans. Some species are natural breeds. 

First generation hybrids tend to be wilder, though they become more domesticated with each generation. Still, when getting a hybrid cat, keep in mind that their wild side may still be dominant. Some of the most exotic cat hybrids are: 

  • Savannah cat (serval and domesticated cat) 
  • Chausie (jungle cat and domesticated cat)
  • Jungle bob (jungle cat and pixie bob)
  • Bengal (Asian leopard and domesticated cat)
  • Safari cat (Geoffroy’s cat and domesticated cat)
  • Machbragal (fishing cat and domesticated cat)

In some countries and US states, hybrid cats are considered domestic animals, so they’re legal to own. However, some countries and states require permits or outright ban them.

We hope this has answered your question of whether it is legal to own a lynx or not. Feel free to check out our other articles about exotic animals!

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