A Canadian Lynx as an Indoor Pet?

I just found out that one of my newest friends, Dani, had a Canadian Lynx as a pet…Not only that, it was an indoor cat!

I asked her to fill us in on having a Canadian Lynx as a pet.

This is her account:

Firstly, his name was Snaggletooth, and I rescued him from a breeder in Iowa. I found his information online and called him to find out more about owning a lynx.

I had always thought how wonderful it would be to own a big exotic cat. I went with a lynx because he would mature around 65lbs., which is equal to that of a medium sized dog.

With a smaller cat there are a lot of advantages. First off, the amount of food involved…I fed little Snaggletooth Zoopreem, a Purina dry pellet food, mixed in with raw turkey. This cost me less than $10 per week to keep him fat and happy.

Also, a cat of that size is not considered a lethal cat. Since I was new to exotic cat ownership, I certainly didn’t want to jump off and get something that would chew me up in the middle of the night. I did my homework before I picked up little Snaggletooth from the airport.

I made sure he had a large litter box (2) in each room of the house and removed anything from the shelves/tops of tables or cases that I didn’t want knocked off and broken. I also made sure to provide him with a fully enclosed outside run where he had access to trees and grass and plenty of space to play.

Now, most domestic cats learn to use the litter box by following what their moms do. Since Snaggletooth’s mom was an outside lynx (outside in an enclosure) and taken from her at 2 weeks of age, he never had a mother lynx showing him where to use the bathroom.

It is natural for a cat to want to dig and bury their eliminations, however a lynx doesn’t mind urinating on your floor or couch and doesn’t feel the need to dig and cover anything up. This was the case for little Snaggletooth.

So…I went and purchased a special clay cat litter that has an attractant in it to lure cats to the litter box. He got the idea almost immediately when I replaced the litter. This didn’t mean he never had an accident after that point, but in general, he knew where to go when he needed to eliminate. I had to provide him with 2 litter boxes (side by side) because it is normal for an exotic cat to want to defecate in one and urinate in the other.

He had a favorite toy and I used that toy to get him to come when called and as a reward for when he was being good. I never fed him treats as a reward since he had a tendency to be too interested in food and very possessive of it. When I would feed him, I would have to place his food down in the room and close the door and leave him alone. If I didn’t, he thought I was going to steal his food and would hiss and growl at me.

We had a system that worked well and we just stayed with it. Now I did try different things to get him to be less possessive with his food but each one of them failed. Trust me, an exotic cat acts nothing like a dog or domestic cat. So…he taught me a lot on how to be patient and compromise.

Snaggletooth is no longer with us, and of course I miss him quite a bit. If I had to pick again for an exotic cat to own I would own a Canadian Lynx again hands down. They are very personable. Snaggletooth would lay on the couch with me and watch TV. He also followed me all over the house during the day.

He had moments of boundless energy and would literally run on the sides of the walls. He also tested out the curtain’s strength, several of my free standing lamps and of course anything I left out for him to get to. I learned quickly that if I wanted to drink anything I had to put it in a bottle with a lid. Otherwise I could expect to find it all over the floor just minutes after setting it down.

Lynxes are not raised to be pets for the general public. Mostly, they are bred for the fur trade. This means that there are a lot of breeders out there who do not care about the health of these cats, since they are just interested in a nice fur for later use.

Some have serious health problems and don’t live past 1 year. So, you need to do your homework if you are looking for a breeder to purchase a lynx for yourself.

Some points to also consider before you run out and get a lynx for yourself is do you have other pets?

Snaggletooth got along with my large Akita and my Great Pyrenees, but a domestic cat he would have killed. In fact, any pet smaller than him was prey…This also includes small children. So, if you have children, or small pets, a lynx isn’t for you.

If you have heirloom furniture in your home you don’t need a lynx. Trust me they love wood furniture to scratch on. We purchased a large cat tree complete with scratching areas. It looked like a jungle gym covered in swizzle rope. Well he did enjoy scratching it, but he still managed to find furniture he liked just as much to kill.

You need to check with your state or province to see if you are even able to own a Lynx. Once you do, you will need to contact your state Vet to see what requirements are needed to keep a lynx. Some states require permits while others not only require permits but also a double fence system to keep your lynx from getting loose.

Also, you need to purchase insurance just in case your exotic cat does get loose and hurts someone.

In conclusion, if you think you would love to own an exotic cat, please think it through very carefully.

Owning an exotic cat isn’t like owning a dog or domestic cat. As you can see, there is a lot of homework that you need to do before you settle on a lynx to own. I actually advise most people not to purchase an exotic cat.

Several rescue organizations are overloaded with exotic cats that people saw and thought, “Oh man, I would love to own a lynx or tiger.” They either weren’t honest in their abilities or they didn’t do their homework. This isn’t fair to the pet, nor is it fair to the rescue organization that you will expect to clean up the mess you made.

Actually, if you want something exotic, I would recommend a Savannah cat. These are Serval (exotic cats) crossed with domestic cats. They are large cats and have beautiful exotic cat looks. They are a recognized breed by TICA and there are several reputable breeders out there who produces healthy Savannah cats. These cats do not require permits or any restrictions on ownership.

Well that is about it…I really want to stress to your readers that owning a Lynx isn’t for everyone, and of course to do your homework before you purchase one.

Running a rescue organization like the one you are thinking of would include getting exotic animals that were once thought of as a unique pet. Big Cat Rescue in Florida (I am a member there) has nothing but large exotic cats. 3 are retired cats from the circus (and they paid big bucks for these guys to keep them till they passed away) but the rest are cats that they rescued from breeders who didn’t provide proper housing or again, people who had illusions that an exotic cat made a great pet.

They have to turn away over 50 cats per year…Where do these cats go? Either to other rescue places or they are euthanized. Its a sad, cold fact of life, but it just shows you as humans, we need to be responsible and govern ourselves and not expect someone else to come clean up our messes.

BTW…I am not an animal rights activist. In fact, I do not believe animals have rights. I believe humans have rights, and with those rights comes the responsibility to do the right thing. LOL! You can never expect an animal to be responsible.

I donate annually to the ASPCA, however I never donate to PETA, who has made a mockery of what taking responsible care of animals is. (I’ll get off my soap box now)…LOL


I hope you enjoyed this Unusual Pet post from Exotic Animal Lover! Until next time…

Live Exotically,

Kimberly Edwards :)

P.S. Check out this beautiful Canadian Lynx Print from the 1899 Zoological Gardens:

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10 Responses
  1. dean says:

    Hi where are you thinking of starting an animal refuge?

  2. annette l mcculloch says:

    I have been looking for a lynx to adopt any suggestions, with a kind disposition.

  3. Matthew says:

    I was just wondering where the best place to purchase a lynx from would be. I am fairly new to all of this and I don’t know who to contact. Would it be better to get it from a breeder or a rescue organization? Any pointers in the right direction would be greatly appreciated!

  4. Karen says:

    Wow! Snaggletooth is absolutely amazing. I didn’t even realise such a pet was possible (& in Australia, still may not be). I’m already up to pussy’s bow with little furry family members – but what am amazing idea to potentially entertain for the future.

  5. Kimberly says:

    Hello Karen…

    I’m not sure about the by-laws in Aussie about this sort of pet – I’m sure they’re pretty strict!

    Yes, Snaggletooth is amazing, isn’t he? Such a beauty!

    What part of Aussie are you in? I used to live in Perth…

    Kimberly :)

  6. Erik says:

    I commend your accomplishments with raising such a great animal. I agree that lynxes are NOT for everyone. In fact, only a few are patient and knowledgeable enough to take on such a responsiblity. I am in the process of getting my class 2 license in the state of Florida to own a Eurasian / Siberian Lynx. there are two clarificaitons I would like to make with regard to your article, however:
    1. Savannah Cats often require licenses, or are illegal, in some states. Georgia, for example, disallows anything from Order Carnivora below F-17. The DNR will immediately confiscate and euthanize anything they find in that Order, in captivity. It’s a shame, but that is one of the reasons I moved to Florida. So, as with any other exotic, do your research before purchasing.
    2. I am also a supporter of rescue initiatives and organizations. However, Big Cat Rescue is a SCAM! They have been investigated by network news affiliates quite a few times, and what they uncovered about the origin of their cats was shocking! They have been buying cats from breeders while touting themselves as a non-profit rescue facility. They have been under investigation for a while and currently won’t allow pictures/video/media on the property for that reason. I took a “tour” of the facility and their cages were a mess and all they do is lecture about how irresponsible exotic pet ownership is. They even give discriptions of rescues that allegedly took place with certain cats that have been revealed by the media as purchased by them from breeders!!! I’d recommend checking the news reports on youtube before supporting this organization.
    There are currently other facilities I’d recommend if your are looking to support the humane rescue of cats. Take a trip to Panther Ridge in Wellington, FL – you’ll see the difference!
    Also, if there is anyone who is in need of rescue from a domestic lynx, then I’ll help you out also. Just email me for any advice – edisomma@hotmail.com.


  7. Kimberly says:

    Hi Erik!

    Actually, I didn’t raise this animal – my girlfriend did in Mississippi!

    Wow – you left us with some stellar information – thank you…come on back anytime!

    Kimberly :)

  8. marc sefick says:

    you can’t even expect HUMANS to be responsible! if so we’d have few abortions, little poverty, and no war…

  9. tim says:

    hi i am looking for a lynx kitten i have done all the necessay research and haviing a lynx as a pet in my area is legal without permits. where can i find one i am willing to spend any amount.

  10. Kimberly says:

    Hi Tim…

    I’m not sure – maybe someone will respond on this thread to you – so I’ve approved your comment!

    Kimberly :)

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