Ocelots as pets

Lately, I have been learning about people keeping exotic wild cats such as ocelots as pets. For instance, Salvador Dali the Spanish surrealist had a pet ocelot who he took into a New York restaurant. His ocelot also accompanied him on a trip on a cruise ship. This topic of ocelots interests me, so I have put together some information on ocelots as pets.

Ocelots were fairly popular pets in the United States in the ’50s and 60s. Today though, there are very few pet ocelots in the US. The ocelot pet industry and ocelot fur trade may have made ocelots less abundant.
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Above: Salvador Dali with his pet ocelot

Apparently, ocelots give off a very strong smell which they will spray on furniture all around the house. I was reading on phoenixexotics.org about taking care of ocelots as pets. Here is a part of the care sheet said that I found intriguing: Ocelots are very beautiful, but are not the easiest wild cats to manage. When I speak of their relationship with their owners, I think in terms of the cat owning the person rather than the other way around. Owning an ocelot puts some limitations on your life that owning a domestic pet or even some other wild cats would not. A commitment to being owned by such a cat should not be made lightly, as it should last for the life of the cat. I have known several to live into their late teens and early twenties. It also mentioned this: Ocelots seem to have a need to orally experience life. They tend to suck on or chew on many textures and fabrics as a way of experiencing them.

Also, ocelots make fairly dangerous pets for their size. They can kill dogs and chickens. They can also harm small children, not necessarily that they would do that but it is possible.

If you are looking for more information on the behavior of pet ocelots, I recommend that you read the Phoenix Exotics ocelot care sheet.

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