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Do Ocelots Make Good Pets? (Exhaustive Guide)

Do Ocelots Make Good Pets?

Ocelots are challenging Exotic Pets for the Following Reasons

  • Need Ample Space – 8,100 Sq ft
  • Can Get up to 35lbs
  • Been know to hurt Young Children
  • Been Know to Prey on Chickens and Dogs
  • Are Noctornial Hunters
  • Will Spray Urine to mark Territory
  • Are Climbers and Chewers by nature
  • Most Places an Endangered Species
  • Needs Special Permits
  • Much Louder than a normal cat
  • Can Roam at night 1 – 5 Miles

Do Ocelots Make Good Pets?

Do ocelots make good exotic pets?  During the 1950s and 1960s, Leopardus paradalis, also widely known as the Ocelot, became a fashionable pet among Americans. Even celebrities such as the Catalan surrealist painter Salvador Dalí adopted them as pets. Currently, one of the smaller forms of the wildcat is this leopard-like feline. Do Ocelots Make Good Pets? (Exhaustive Guide)

It is present in many Americas, Northern Argentina, including Texas, Arizona, Peru, and Mexico. The IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) has listed it as the least essential species. Still, the fact is that the growing lack of natural habitat has seriously impaired the species. You can ask yourself, considering these details, whether you should own an ocelot cat as an exotic pet (Domestic pet).

Do Ocelots Make Good Pets?

The Ocelot’s Physical Traits

The Ocelot ( leopardus pardalis )is a medium-sized wildcat endemic to much of Central and South America, from the Leopardus and the Felidae tribe. Their most distinguishing characteristic is their striped hair, equivalent to that of a leopard. That was the fundamental cause of their decline, brief and sleek, as their fur was widely admired in the past and was then hunted down.

From tawny yellow to grey, the color of their coat may differ.

On average, they are about 22 and 39 inches long and can weigh up to 35 pounds. It is precisely their scale that makes it very risky for families to have them as a pet, as they have been known to damage young children on occasions.

Their large, beady pupils, which have a perfectly circular appearance and have very prominent darker marks around them that render ocelots much more irresistible to the eye, are another characteristic that makes the Ocelot a fabulous feline. Like other famous pet cats, their ears are not pointing but are rounded at the tip.

They have 28 to 30 pointed teeth because they are carnivores. They have a lifetime of around eight to 12 years of age on average.

The Ocelot’s Nature

When contemplating an ocelot ( leopardus pardalis ) as a pet, the first thing to learn about is how they function in general to determine whether it is acceptable to have it at home.

There is a distinction between wild small cats and feral cats since they originate from a separate genetic tree, but both felines, although they have not been domesticated. The real word tells it: wild cats are wild, and thus they have to remain outdoors. To encourage the Ocelot to live happily and adequately, a minimum outdoor surface of ( 8,100 Sq Feet ), 800 square meters is necessary.

Like other felines, Ocelots are crepuscular creatures, which ensures that they are at their most active at dusk and dawn. Their primary task is hunting during the hours that the cat is alive, an average of 12 to 14 hours.

Thus, whether you have it at home, other household animals in the nearby areas might be prey to the Ocelot. In semi-urban settings, dogs or chickens are usually pursued by ocelots.

On the other side, you should recognize that the Ocelot feces, like most New World wild cats, originally wild animals. have an apparent fatty odor and a very moist feel. They are even vulnerable to marking territories in the areas where they sleep and may even do so. An ocelot at home as exotic pets, unless trained at a very early age, may imitate this action too. Spraying with a strong Cat Pee Odor.

Do Ocelots Make Good Pets?

This appears to have infantile or adolescent habits for longer than other felines, talking about baby Ocelots, since they typically remain with their mother for longer, which is why removing a baby ocelot from her mother at a young age may be a significant error that may contribute to behavioral issues.

For one thing, a baby ocelot longs for a lot of love. They can make a loud irritating noise if they have not paid enough attention, as if they were having a tantrum before their mother pays attention to them.

Female Ocelots in Heat

There are also some habits of Ocelots in heat that do not support having them as pets. A persistent growl is created by female ocelots in heat and will attempt to rub their scent against any item they come in their path. As you might expect, their calls are far louder than those generated by ordinary female cats. On the other side, they can be less affectionate to individuals after male ocelots have mated.

All and all, the Ocelot behavior renders it very reliant on its person, which is why, as we may expand on more, a prospective ocelot owner will have to be extremely dedicated to the care of an ocelot.

Size and Appearance:

While they share a remarkable similarity, the Ocelot as wild cats is considerably larger than its relatives, the margay, and the oncilla. Ocelots weigh approximately 28-35 pounds, are 16-20 inches tall, and exceed 28-35 inches in length. The coat appears to be more mottled than spotted, and black is bordered with chain-like scars and spots and has a light-colored middle. The whole duration of the cat runs with these marks. Whitish or tawny gold, reddish-gray, and gray differ in the base hue. The abdomen is tan, and with a central white spot, the ears’ backs are dark.


The Ocelot ( leopardus pardalis ) maintains a vast number of different environments in its broad range but appears to be more frequently associated with closed, thick habitats such as evergreen forest and freshwater areas. They love Hollow Trees.

Tropical and subtropical desert, floodplain, deciduous, semi-deciduous, maritime, lowland, montane, pre-montane, riparian, or coniferous forests can also be found in Ocelot environments, but Bamboo Forests are much avoided. They also occur in the semiarid chaparral, Caatinga, Chaco dry thorn bush, mangroves, coastal plants, and seasonally flooded, including pristine and degraded savannah.

The Ocelot is exceptionally adaptable to disruption and often uses open fields, like croplands, where there are desired habitat features (sufficient coverage or high abundance of prey), but usually only on gloomy days or moonless nights.

Also, ocelots have been reported in mosaic environments where pine plantations, oil palm plantations, wetland palm plantations, or agricultural fields have partially replaced the native vegetation.

Also, ocelots are vulnerable to human involvement and behavior and the incidence of domestic dogs, and in places where these variables are large, they seldom appear abundantly.

However, one analysis in Colombia’s Caribbean area found a radio-collared female ocelot utilizing more disrupted environments than previously reported. Ocelots using eucalyptus forests bordering reserves as transport routes between native areas are often registered.

Ocelots have been documented for extended periods wandering on human-made trails and paths. In southern Brazil, ocelots, independent of plant structure, are positively correlated with large prey biomass roads and areas. The Ocelot usually occurs at elevations below 1,200 m, but at higher elevations up to 3,800 m, it has sometimes been reported.


The Ocelot is a natural carnivore, as described above. They can hunt tiny mammals like mice or rats in the wild and several kinds of birds and even fish. Their diet can be close to that of cats if you need to feed an ocelot. Thus, they would need to replace it with taurine and calcium aside from organ meat. You can also ensure that all of the banned items for cats are not provided to them since they may be similarly dangerous to ocelots.

Ocelots in the House

Exotic animals, Ocelots enjoy leaping, climbing, and exploring, which is why if you allow your Ocelot inside your building, you would need to be extra cautious. Be sure you get rid of any items that might get damaged the ocelot is jumping around and any objects vulnerable to nibbling and chewing, this gorgeous feline might inadvertently drop, as this is one of their favorite past times.

Remember to make sure you have no poisonous plants in the building for cats too.

The Ocelot’s Space

Even though they might be indoors, their outdoor room is still essential for ocelots. They can, in general, have at least ( 8,000 Sq Ft) 800 square meters of rooms.

You can give them an enriched room with all their favorite features, such as high climbing poles, platforms, and plenty of plants, to avoid obesity in this kind of feline (make sure they are not toxic for them). As they enjoy nature, they would also require some aquatic characteristics, including a pond where they will play.

Do Ocelots Make Good Pets?

Don’t Spay

Because of multiple ocelot conservation efforts in some nations, spaying is not advised. Know that the Ocelot is an endangered animal, but before reaching this judgment, there are other factors to take into consideration. Call the wildlife agency to bring them in contact with your vet and make an educated choice for you and the pet..

Toilet Needs

And where is an ocelot meant to go to do its business? While several can already be taught to use the litter, it would be better to teach the pet other strategies. We can also alert you that this animal’s existence will lead them to ingest cat litter and develop intestinal issues, another explanation why this is not advisable to use cat litter. Instead, training them to do their business in newspapers is a more recommended solution.

How Do You Take Care of an Ocelot

Even if they may appear adorable and exclusive, Ocelot is not the most convenient pet to have at home. We have to consider their wild nature, but if you encounter a wounded ocelot in your back yard, operate at a rehabilitation center or equivalent, ensure that you obey some simple treatment instructions to take care of an ocelot.

Ocelots are usually reasonably pleasant, but simple commands can not be learned, so it will be a struggle to keep on top of them when it comes to discipline.

Ocelot Kitten Care

Ocelots take longer to split from their mothers since they take longer to wean and rely on their mother, as described earlier

. It’s normal to suck their caregivers’ fingertips since it reminds them of their mum, but you can discourage this action from keeping them from believing that hands are toys.

Ensure that you divert them from this practice by rewarding them or redirecting their focus into play to show them not to suck on fingers. Boomer balls, kongs (under close supervision), or other toys that are safe for cats should be used to do so.

Ecology and Behaviour

A solitary species is the Ocelot. While it may be active during day and night, it is usually most active at night or dusk and rests in branches, bushes, thickets, or depressions of the ground throughout the day. It has peaks in nocturnal behavior that can be related to its prey’s activity.

With both finely evolved night vision and a keen sense of smell, the Ocelot is well suited for hunting at night. It was also proposed that the Ocelot’s nocturnal activity is a method of evasion, helping it co-exist with the cathemeral puma and the diurnal humans.

The analysis reveals that ocelots change their temporal and spatial behavior to deliberately escape humans and other animals that could suggest human existence (wild or domestic).

Studies in the Brazilian Atlantic Forest indicated that ocelot abundance was positively associated with both the scale of the reserve and the existence of jaguar and puma top predators, the presence of which could suggest a lower anthropogenic effect on the environment.

Research from the Brazilian Caatinga shows that in areas with severe conditions such as intense heat by day, ocelots are more predominantly nocturnal relative to less harsh settings where daytime behavior is more typical.

Do Ocelots Make Good Pets?

The Ocelot is a strong swimmer and an outstanding climber who, when attacked, escapes into the forest.

Ocelots use shared latrines and scent tagging, as a messaging board for conspecifics, through spraying urine. It has been proposed that both males and females use communal baths and scent marks to announce breeding conditions or evaluate the environment for compatible partners.

Ocelots have often been reported to investigate scent marks in other animals to identify larger conspecifics such as pumas or jaguars.

The mean regular travel distances are between ( 1 – 5 Miles ), 1.8 km, and 7.6 km. Males move at speeds twice as fast as females. Recent research indicated that, owing to moving their target prey species according to the moon phases, ocelot hunting performance increases in the full moon.

The Ocelot usually attacks the ground, although arboreal animals such as primates and sloths are considered to be brought down. Its hunting behavior differs, taking advantage of seasonal variations in the availability of food. Still, its nocturnal movement behavior in the Brazilian Pantanal does not seem significantly influenced by seasonality.

Males’ home ranges are larger than females and contain around 2-3 times the size for females. Home range sizes recorded can differ from 0.8 to 90.5 km2. In the Bolivian Chaco, Brazilian Pantanal, Peruvian Amazonia, Panama, and Texas, the smallest home ranges were located, while the biggest were in Argentina and Brazil’s subtropical forests.

The mean home range of adult males is substantially higher than those of adult females in all the sample areas. Also, intrasexual variation in home ranges is normal, and when density is high, it is expensive for individuals to retain individual territories.


According to the Animal Diversity Site of the University of Michigan, male and female ocelots mate about 5 and 10 times daily during the mating season (ADW). They have to mate a lot because getting a female ocelot pregnant is challenging.

She would have a waiting cycle of about 79 to 85 days if the female gets pregnant and will give birth to one to three infants. Kittens are called infant ocelots.

At birth, kittens are very tiny and weigh just 7 to 12 ounces (200 to 340 grams). Born with shut eyes, at 14 days old, kittens receive their first sight of their mum. At six weeks old, they are first weaned.

Kittens can live for up to two years in their mother’s territories before heading off on their own. At 18 to 22 months of age, females become sexually mature, and males become sexually mature at about 15 months. They live for an average of about 13 years.

Do Ocelots Bite

Ocelots are prone to chewing, which is why young children should be kept away from them. Like several other tiny Felidae, they typically strike particular parts of the body when attacking, such as the groin, forearm, armpit, or ear. They are speedy and agile as well but caution needs to be exercised.

Through this, we do not say that the Ocelot is a vicious breed, but they would always behave according to their temperament if they are not socialized.

Ocelots as Pets

All harmful wildlife creatures, including wild cats, are prohibited by twenty-one states; five (Alabama, Nevada, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Wisconsin) have no regulations to hold dangerous wild animals as pets. According to Big Cat Rescue, the other 24 states authorize individual animals or need permits.

Veterinary Care

You can send an ocelot to a doctor with rare pet experience that specializes in ocelots. Ordinary vets are not likely to have the experience to handle them, so make sure your vet has the expertise they need. If you can not locate any doctor, it is safe to ask your usual veterinarian to call a local sanctuary or zoo to get expert guidance.

Fun Facts: Ocelots use a comparable environment and exhibit similar trends of abundance to Jaguars and Pumas. With rainfall, population densities tend to rise and decline with latitude, with the maximum densities in tropical regions.

Ocelots have existed for more than 20 years in captivity, relative to 7-10 years, usually wild.

Can Ocelots be Tamed in Real Life?

They will never become “domestic pets” since they can only domesticate species, not people. Wild animals are hard to domesticate and their wild nature can be expressed randomly. . Holding an ocelot is governed in the United States by different rules. Although some states do not need licenses to possess this large cat, according to Big Cat Rescue, some regions, including New England and Alaska, explicitly forbid holding ocelots as pets.

Parasites in Ocelots

All types of worms and bugs will enter the body of your Spotted Pet, inside and out. It will infest her eyes and ears with everything from fleas and ticks to ear mites.

There are various forms in which hookworms, roundworms, heartworms, and whipworms can invade her system: consuming unclean water, walking on dirty dirt, or getting bitten by an infected mosquito. Any of these parasites may be passed on to you or a friend of the family and are a significant problem for both.

These parasites may trigger suffering, illness, and even death for your feline companion, so we must monitor for them regularly. A fecal inspection can identify several forms of parasites, so it’s a smart idea to carry a fresh stool sample for your cat for her twice-a-year health exams (in a stink-proof container, please). As appropriate your vet will prescribe preventive medicine to keep her safe.

FAQ Pet Ocelot

Do you have questions about pet ocelots? You’re not alone! This FAQ was created to answer some of the most common questions people have about keeping these animals as pets. We’ll cover everything from their diet to their behavior, so you can make an informed decision if an ocelot is the right pet for you!

Are Pet Ocelots related to Domestic Cats?

The Ocelots today that become pets are descendants of wild cats that were captured and tamed. They are not related to domestic cats, but they share some physical similarities.

Are Pet Ocelots considered one of the Big Cats?

Yes, ocelots are one of the big cats. Along with tigers, lions, jaguars, and leopards, they are in the Panthera genus.

What is the Population of Pet Ocelots today?

The population of pet ocelots is difficult to estimate because there is no centralized registry for them. However, it’s estimated that there may be as many as 20,000 pet ocelots in the United States alone. In the wild they struggle with habitat loss.

Are Ocelots found in Argentina?

No, ocelots are not found in Argentina. They are found in Central and South America, as well as the southern part of North America.

Are Ocelots found in Central America?

Yes, ocelots are found throughout Central America, from Mexico to Panama.

What Type and coloring are an Ocelots Fur Coat?

Ocelots have a spotted or rosetted coat that is typically yellowish-brown with black spots. The background color can range from pale yellow to reddish-brown, and the spots may be solid or have a lighter outline.

In Tropical Forest Do Ocelots hunt during the day?

No, ocelots in tropical forests typically only hunt at night. They are crepuscular animals, which means they are most active at dawn and dusk. This also helps them avoid predators.

Do Ocelots climb trees?

Yes, ocelots are good climbers and often use trees to hunt or hide from predators. They can also jump up to 12 feet (about four meters) in the air.

Are there different types of Ocelots?

There is only one species of the ocelot, but they come in a variety of colors and patterns. Some have spots while others have stripes, and some even look like tabby cats.

In the Wild What do Ocelots Eat?

  • Small Rodents
  • Birds
  • Lizards
  • Snakes
  • Fish
  • Insects

What do Pet Ocelots Eat?

  • A diet for a pet ocelot should consist of:
  • High-quality dry cat food that is specially formulated for large cats. This food should be high in protein and low in carbohydrates.
  • Raw meat such as chicken, turkey, or beef. This can be given as a treat or mixed into their dry food.
  • Whole prey such as mice or rabbits. This should make up a small part of their diet and should only be given under supervision.

Do Ocelots drink milk?

  • No, ocelots do not drink milk. In fact, milk and other dairy products can cause digestive problems for them.

What is the life span of a pet Ocelot?

  • The average lifespan of a pet ocelot is 12-20 years, but some have been known to live up to 30 years with proper care.

Final Thoughts

Occasionally, ocelots are kept as pets. They can need a lot of care from their owners and appear to chew on or pull on clothes and their owners’ fingers; this may cause them to eat artifacts such as tennis balls unintentionally. Agile and playful, because of their habit of jumping around and possibly destroying items, pet ocelots can be challenging to maintain; ocelots can accidentally harm their owners with bites. However, carefully raised ocelots may be deeply affectionate.