Missouri

Summary: 

In Missouri, it is lawful to possess a big cat with a permit issued by the Division of Animal Health. Permit holders must be at least twenty-one years of age, pay a fee of two hundred dollars, complete an application form for each animal, prepare a disaster response contingency plan for each animal, provide proof of insurance, and satisfy minimum standards of care. A permit must be obtained prior to taking ownership of the animal and the permit must be renewed annually. Circuses and zoos are exempt from this requirement and may possess a big cat without a permit.

Classification: 
Permit
Color: 
blue

Kansas

Summary: 

Kansas prohibits private possession of big cats. Under Kansas law, it is unlawful to possess dangerous regulated animals and lions, tigers, leopards, jaguars, cheetahs mountain lions, and hybrids are classified as a dangerous regulated animals. A person in possession of a big cat prior to July 1, 2006 with a valid USDA license may maintain possession, sell the animal to other USDA licensed facilities, or sell the animal to parties outside of Kansas.
Some institutions are exempt and may possess big cats, including American Zoo and Aquarium Association or Zoological Association of America accredited institutions, wildlife sanctuaries registered with the local animal control authority, licensed or accredited research or medical institutions, and USDA licensed exhibitors transporting animals or showing animals as part of a circus, carnival, rodeo, or fair.

Classification: 
Ban
Color: 
gray

Colorado

Summary: 

Colorado prohibits private possession of big cats. Under Colorado law, only AZA-accredited facilities may lawfully possess big cats. These facilities are required to develop a contingency plan that includes cost projections and verify they can cover the costs should the contingency plan take effect. With a Commercial Wildlife Park License, these facilities may also exhibit big cats.

Classification: 
Ban
Color: 
gray

Louisiana

Summary: 

Louisiana prohibits private ownership of big cats. It is unlawful to possess tigers, lions, leopards, jaguars, cheetahs, cougars, subspecies of those named cats, and hybrids. A person in possession of a big cat prior to August 15, 2006 may continue possession with a permit and that permit must be renewed annually. Some institutions are exempt and may possess big cats, including AZA-accredited zoos, research facilities, state colleges or universities with big exotic cats as their mascots, and circuses. AZA-accredited sanctuaries may possess big cats with a permit if enclosure and handling requirements preventing contact with the public are satisfied. Non-AZA educational institutions or zoos may possess big cats with a permit issued at the discretion of the Department.

Classification: 
Ban
Color: 
gray

Mississippi

Summary: 

Mississippi law classifies lions, tigers, jaguars, and leopards as inherently dangerous to humans and inherently dangerous animals may not be imported, transferred, sold, purchased, or possessed without a permit. Some institutions are exempt from the permit requirement and may possess big cats without a permit, including public zoos, university research facilities, governmental agencies, transient circuses, rehabilitation facilities, and sanctuaries. Permits authorizing possession include the Personal Possession, Breeding, and Exhibiting permit. A Personal Possession permit allows persons in possession of a big cat prior to May 1, 1997 to maintain possession. Additionally, municipalities may enact local ordinances to more strictly regulate big cat private possession.

Classification: 
Ban
Color: 
gray

Florida

Summary: 

Florida law permits private possession of some species of big cats and prohibits private possession of others. It is unlawful to privately possess animals classified as Class I, including snow leopards, leopards, jaguars, tigers, and lions. However, a person in possession of a Class I big cat prior to August 1980 may continue possession with a permit.
It is lawful to possess Class II big cats with a permit issued by the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. Class II cats include servals, lynx, cougars, panthers, bobcats, cheetahs, caracals, African golden cats, Asiatic golden cats, fishing cats, ocelots, and clouded leopards. State-run facilities, traveling zoos, circuses, and exhibits are exempt and may possess these big cats without a permit. To obtain a permit, information about the owner’s experience and education in handling big cats must be provided, caging requirements must be met, and public contact must be restricted.

Classification: 
Ban
Color: 
gray

Georgia

Summary: 

Georgia prohibits private possession of big cats. Under Georgia law, it is unlawful to privately possess inherently dangerous animals and big cats are classified as inherently dangerous animals. However, a Scientific Collecting permit holder or a Wildlife Exhibition permit holder may possess a big cat for scientific study, retail wild animal business, or exhibition purposes.

Classification: 
Ban
Color: 
gray

California

Summary: 

California prohibits private possession of big cats. California law classifies all big cats as restricted species (except cheetahs) and restricted species may not be possessed unless a permit authorizes possession. Permits are issued by the Department of Fish and Game for the following limited circumstances: the Animal Care Permit may be issued to persons in possession of a big cat prior to January, 1992; the Association of Zoos and Aquariums Permit may be issued to AZA-accredited institutions; the Breeding Permit may be issued to individuals with approved breeding plans; the Broker/Dealer Permit may be issued to individuals engaged in the trade of selling big cats; the Exhibiting Permit may be issued to persons engaged in exhibiting animals for commercial or educational purposes; the Research Permit will be issued to state-run agencies and universities to engage in scientific research.

Although each permit has specific requirements, all permits require applicants to be at least 18 years of age, pay a permit fee, provide an inventory of all animals, include a detailed contingency plan should an emergency, like an attack or escape, occur, and describe identifying information about the animal.

Classification: 
Ban
Color: 
gray

Arkansas

Summary: 

Arkansas prohibits private possession of big cats. Arkansas law mandates that no large carnivore, including lions and tigers, may be privately owned because those animals are inherently dangerous to humans.  

There are exceptions to this ban, including a person who owned the big cat prior to August 12, 2005 and now holds a permit, AZA-accredited organizations, registered nonprofit humane societies, veterinary hospitals or clinics, USDA Wildlife Exhibition Permit holders, Arkansas State Game and Fish Commission Scientific Collection Permit holders, and Arkansas State Game and Fish Commission Wildlife Breeder or Dealer permit holders.

Classification: 
Ban
Color: 
gray

Alabama

Summary: 

In Alabama, it is lawful to possess big cats. Alabama law places no restrictions on the private possession of big cats. Public display of big cats is permitted only with a permit issued by the Commissioner of Conservation and Natural Resources. This twenty-five dollar annual permit allows individuals to possess big cats for the purpose of public display with a showing of adequate facilities, care and handling experience by the applicant, and consent to an inspection of the facilities. Any municipal, county, state or other publicly owned zoo or wildlife exhibit, privately owned traveling zoo or circus or pet shop is exempt from this permit requirement for public display.

Classification: 
No Restriction
Color: 
red