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Don't Be a "Cheet-ah" (All About Pet Cheetahs)

Updated on December 19, 2015

Cheetah in the Wild

A South African cheetah (A. jubatus jubatus)
A South African cheetah (A. jubatus jubatus) | Source

Seriously? Cheetahs as a Pet??

It’s not uncommon for people to view Cheetahs as the epitome of exotic pets and animals. They are sleek, graceful and like a professional athlete, with the kinds of skills that humans will probably never be able to match. They are wild, like lions or tigers, yet more familiar looking as they lack manes or the size that either of those huge cats possess. They are like a huge, ferocious version of Spot (your fictional feline friend; pretend he’s nuzzled in your lap right now).

At any rate, Cheetahs are amazing, yet many people don’t understand how to properly care for them. If you even can properly care for a cheetah, as the keeping of exotic animals is very controversial, and personally, I think that I stand on the side of the fence that is against it, however, for any of your cheetah owners out there (if you own a cheetah, you MUST drop a comment below), this article is for you. I hope that you by the end of this, you’re either caring for your cheetah better, or understand that Cheetahs as pets are cool in theory, but not necessarily something you really want to try out.

Cheetahs in the... Kitchen?

Wow! Your furry friends are a little bigger than mine!
Wow! Your furry friends are a little bigger than mine! | Source

Early Cheetah Owners, Cheetahs as Pets Through History

Let’s get one thing clear… Cheetahs have never been domesticated, which is my first step in proving that they really aren’t pets in any terms that you’re familiar with. Despite this fact however, they have been kept as pets for 1000’s of years! Yes, you read that right- Millenniums! Kings, the rich, and those who were lucky enough to know a king or one of the rich, were owners of these majestic, elegant killers. Every emperor, king and pharaoh seemed to own one! In fact, the Cheetah-Owner to rule them all was Akbar, a Mughal ruler in 16th century India who was fabled to have kept over 9,000 Cheetahs at a time as pets. And this for 49+ years of his life. That is insane! That’s like an ARMY of Cheetahs!

Oregon Zoo Cheetahs

Cheetahs in the Oregon Zoo
Cheetahs in the Oregon Zoo | Source

Some of the Issues with Pet Cheetahs (Cheetahs in Captivity)

Cheetahs aren’t meant to live in cages or in your spare guest room. Sorry. But, seriously, Cheetahs need lots and lots of space to be happy. They are used to having at a minimum at least one hectare (that is 2.5 acres if you didn’t know, or for you football fans, the size of a standard American football field is about 1.3 acres, so do the math). In fact, small spaces, even cages at zoos, have been proven (with science!) to lower the ability for male lions to breed with the females. So, even if you do get Cheetahs as pets, don’t expect any baby Cheetahs. It’s probably not going to happen.

Another really tough part of Cheetah ownership is feeding them. When I say feeding them, I don’t just mean giving them, a bite of your steak every now and then, I mean FEEDING them. Giving them nutrition, vitamins, necessary building blocks of their development and daily adult life. They aren’t chickens or cows, that can be given easy to access grains, etc. They have a very specific nutritional diet that isn’t up for debate. Finally, this malnutrition can lead to the babies (if you did manage to have any) to be in poor health, and you do not want to be responsible for the deaths of adorable baby Cheetahs.

Baby Cheetahs!!

Baby Cheetahs, this is too much cuteness!
Baby Cheetahs, this is too much cuteness! | Source

So, Where Do People Even Find Cheetahs???

If you are located within the United States, your dreams of getting a Cheetah just ended. In fact, even zoos don’t have Cheetahs (albeit, there are a few exceptions if you include all zoological facilities). This is because even for experts, people that went to school to become biologists, scientists, veterinarians, etc can’t take care of Cheetahs, so please, drop a comment below if you still feel capable (I sure don’t).

Moving on… Live in another country? Well, it’s possible for private owners of exotic feline to obtain Cheetahs through legal channels (uncommon) or much more likely through illegal means. Whether they’re buying from a poacher or a private breeder, it’s still not recommended that you do this. Trust me, it’s just a bad idea.

African Serval

A serval from the Sabi Sand area of South Africa: Note the large ears adapted for hearing small prey.
A serval from the Sabi Sand area of South Africa: Note the large ears adapted for hearing small prey. | Source

What To Do Instead of Getting a Cheetah as a Pet

I want to leave you with a bit of advice and a bit of a solution to your dilemma if after all of this you still want to experience the wonder of Cheetahs, but in a way that won’t harm them. You’re in luck.

There is actually a smaller animal called a Serval (African Serval), that looks like a little Cheetah. These cats can actually be owned by you! What!? Yes, they are smaller and less expensive than Cheetahs and are not listed as endangered as according to the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. In addition, these animals are available from captive breeders, because they are being bred by people like you and me.

Go to a Zoo and See a Real Cheetah

Servals not doing it for you? That’s ok. Do some research on which zoos in your state or country have these amazing animals. A real Cheetah is hard to beat and the crazy thing is that there are still some available to watch in captivity. If you feel the need to get close and personal, I recommend volunteering at the zoos that have them. I am sure that all zoos need help and it’s almost something that you should be paying for if you get the opportunity to get up close to a Cheetah. If anyone does manage to do this, please detail your experience in a hub and link to it below or comment your short story, I would love to read about it. I hope that this article has convinced you that Cheetahs aren’t meant for life with us common folk, but to roam free in the wild. Best of luck to you all in your journey to see these majestic animals.

Cheetahs at the Houston Zoo Running on a Race Track!

How will you show your love for cheetahs?

How will you show your love for cheetahs?

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How Was My Pun in the Title?

I thought my pun was puntastic!

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