Do Ocelots Make Good Pets? Learn These 13 Facts About Ocelots

Last updated on January 27th, 2023 at 04:27 am

Do Ocelots Make Good Pets? No, Ocelots are very aggressive and pose a great danger to not only humans but also other pets around.
Image Credit: Daley Van De Sande/Unsplash

Are you thinking about owning a Ocelot and wondering if Ocelots make good pets?

Leopardus Paradalis popularly known as ocelot is a cat breed that became popular in the US in the early 1950s. The cat was so popular back then and was even owned by celebrities. Ocelot is one of the smallest wild cats on the planet. This leopard-like feline has a coat with patterns that are similar to those of a puma and jaguar.

Ocelots have an average lifespan of between 7 and 10 years but can live for up to 20 years in captivity. This cat is quite heavy with an average weight of between 28 and 35 pounds. Besides its unique leopard-like appearance this cat features a distinct golden fur that covers most parts of the body. So are you interested in owning an ocelot and want to know if they make good pets? If yes, then you have come to the right place. In this guide, we will discuss whether ocelots make good pets.


Do Ocelots Make Good Pets?

A simple answer is a NO, ocelots don’t make good pets. Ocelots are indeed beautiful cats that most cat lovers would want to keep in their homes. They are relatively small, meaning they don’t consume a lot of space. Their sleek beautiful coat is something that you will enjoy looking at every time.

Although this cat breed was popular many years ago, its popularity has been fading due to the decline in its natural habitat and the challenges associated with keeping them in captivity.

The top reason why ocelots don’t make good pets is that they are not domesticated cats. They are wild cats and can be dangerous to your family. Additionally, Ocelots are also very shy cats and thus don’t make good pets when in captivity.

Ocelots are wild animals meaning their behaviors and instincts are of wild animals. This means that the cat can attack you or any other member of your family even if they have been raised in captivity. Ocelots are also very aggressive and pose a great danger to not only humans but also other pets around. More so, Ocelots are also very territorial, and they will attack if they feel their territory is being threatened. Lastly, Ocelots are vulnerable to diseases and if they are not well taken care of, they can easily fall sick and even spread the disease to other pets around.

13 Interesting Facts About Ocelot Cat

1. Their name comes from an Aztec word

Ocelots got their name from an Aztec word “Tlalocelot” which means “find tiger”. People loved this wild cat because of its incredible hunting skills and beauty. The incredible beauty of these cats and how highly people regard them is the reason why it is shown in various ceramics, art, and jewelry.

2. They have excellent communication skills

Ocelot is arguably the cat breed with the best communication skills. Besides communicating through bodily motions and smell exchanges they also communicate with each other via sound. Ocelot’s vocal cord has evolved over the years and has mastered how to use sound to communicate with each other. For instance, male ocelots use a wide range of growls and meows during mating season to attract mates. Each sound that an ocelot makes usually conveys a certain message, including a display of affection, warning, and much more.

3. They are not afraid of water

Another interesting fact about ocelots is that they are not afraid of water as is the case with most cat breeds. Most cats don’t like water and will try as much as possible not to be close to water. However, that is not the case with ocelots. They love water and are very good swimmers. In fact, the reason why frogs and fish make up a large percentage of their diet is that they are not afraid of water.

4. They were once popular as pets

Ocelots were once very popular as pets. In the early 1950s, ocelots were very popular as pets. They were regarded as a pet for the rich because they were owned by rich and influential people in society, including celebrities. Their fangs were removed in order to make them harmless. But over time, their popularity started to fade away as it became more obvious that they don’t do well in captivity. They were also not ideal for keeping at home because they had an aggressive temperament, were vulnerable to diseases, and grew twice as large as normal house cats.

5. They are nocturnal

Unlike normal domestic cats that rest mostly during the night and stay active during the day, Ocelots are nocturnal, meaning they spend most of their time during the day resting and are most active during the night. Ocelots thrive during the night because they have excellent hearing and night vision which usually give them an upper hand over their prey. They are also able to communicate better with each other during the night in a low-pitched voice.

6. They don’t chew food

This may come as a surprise to many, but it is true. Ocelots don’t chew food because their overall dental configuration is not suited for chewing. When they kill prey, they usually tear into it and swallow small pieces whole. They also have a rough tongue that allows them to utilize everything from their kill. As small cats, their diet mainly comprises small animals such as rodents, birds, snakes, and lizards.

7. They were almost extinct in the early 1900

Ocelots were almost extinct in the early 1990s. These gorgeous wild cats are known for their beautiful short fur. Their coat is either reddish gray or golden yellow with dark spots. This cat breed was targeted by hunters because of its unique gold-yellow coat and was nearly extinct. Ocelots were saved after an aggressive campaign by the government and other stakeholders to save them from extinction was launched.

8. They have a short lifespan

Ocelots have a short lifespan compared to other cat breeds. In their natural habitat where most of them live, Ocelots have a lifespan of between 7 and 10 years. But when in captivity, they can live for up to 20 years. Unfortunately, most of them live in the wild and that is why they have a short lifespan.

9. They were used by Peruvians to worship

Ocelot is a cat that was held in high regard by the Peruvian people. They loved this cat because of its unique coat color and its excellent hunting skills. Most Peruvians used to worship this cat breed and its images were put in paintings and metalwork.

10. They are carnivores

Unlike other cat breeds that eat a wide variety of foods, Ocelots are purely meat eaters. Their dental configuration doesn’t allow them to chew other types of foods. Fortunately, they are very good at hunting. They have huge jaws, paws, and very sharp eyesight. They also have an excellent smell and move very fast. This allows them to hunt a wide variety of prey, including birds, rabbits, fish, snakes, and even frogs. They have a very rough tongue that allows them to remove meat from the bone with ease.

11. Each cat has a unique coat

It is easy to assume that Ocelot coats are the same. However, that is not the case. If you check the coat of two different ocelots keenly, you will discover that they are not the same even if they look similar. Each ocelot has its own unique coat. The coat and pattern on their skin usually become more prevalent as they grow up. Each ocelot has a unique coat and that is why they are usually targeted by hunters. The population of ocelots has decreased tremendously because they are hunted for their unique fur.

12. It may be illegal to own an Ocelot

Not all states permit owning an ocelot. So, before you bring this feline home, it is important to first check your local and state laws to know if they allow keeping this cat breed as a pet. Some states have put strict laws on keeping Ocelots as a pet. In other states, it is completely legal to own an ocelot. So, it is important to research your state laws to know if it is legal to own this cat breed.

13. They are very intelligent

Ocelots are very smart cats and that is why they have a high success rate in hunting. They are independent and like to make their own decisions. One of the reasons why this wild cat doesn’t make a good pet is that they are not good at following instructions and commands. Remember they are not following instructions intentionally, not because they don’t understand what you are saying. Any socialization needs to be on their terms.

Final Thoughts

If you have been thinking of owning an ocelot and want to know whether they make a good pet, then today you have the answer. Ocelots are wild cats not domestic cats and are thus highly unpredictable and sometimes dangerous. This powerful feline has wild animal instincts and is very protective of its habitat. They will not hesitate to attack if they feel threatened. They also don’t get along with other pets.