A wild cat standing on A rock while looking at the camera, domesticated wild cats have become popular in the U.K.
(Photo Credit: Mark Newman | Getty Images)

UK Group Finds 200 Wild Cats Registered To Private Owners

New findings reveal that there are roughly 200 wild cats registered as pets to private owners in the United Kingdom.

According to data from the U.K.’s leading wildlife conservation charity, Born Free Foundation, Servals and Savanna cats make up a majority of wild cats living in domestic settings with private owners.

The Telegraph reports that in total, over 2,700 wild animals categorized as “dangerous” have private owners. These include venomous snakes, wild boars, ostriches, primates, pygmy hippos, and bison, among many others.

Born Free Foundation found that wild cats are currently the most preferred wild animals to domesticate in the U.K.

Wild cats such as Servals cost as much as  £10,000 as pets and jump more than 5 feet in the air. Contrary to what many think, the charity insists these cats — just like other privately owned wild animals — pose a great threat to public safety.

“Wild animals being kept in domestic settings also presents a very real risk to private safety,” the wildlife charity shared. “These animals retain many of their natural, wild behaviors, and being kept in stressful, unnatural, confined environments, can potentially make them more dangerous.”

Moreover, there’s the risk of these domestically-kept wild animals transmitting zoonotic diseases to humans.

To keep a wild cat in the U.K., owners have to apply for a dangerous wild animal license from the city council. Before issuing the license, the council must visit the person’s premises, among other requirements. This is done to gauge whether the outdoor area is ideal for keeping the animal.

The charity’s head of policy, Dr Mark Jones, told the Guardian: “We’re really concerned that it’s proving far too easy for people to get licenses for these animals, which really don’t belong in people’s homes.” For this reason, the charity believes that the current legislation permitting this ownership needs an overhaul.

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