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Common Name:  Cougar

Other Common Names:  Puma, Mountain Lion, Panther, Catamount, American Lion, Deer Tiger, Brown Tiger, Night Screamer

Scientific Name:  Felis concolor  (Full Taxonomy)


Origin or Range:  North America

Relative Size:  Larger Than Average  
    (as compared to other exotic cats)

Average Lifespan:  20 year(s)

Compatibility:  Average   
    (as compared to other exotic cats)

Category:  Mammals » Exotic Cats
Animal Description:  

The Cougar is a graceful and beautiful animal, whose playful personality has captured all those who watch them.

The Cougar is a powerful cat. They are incredible climbers and have incredible strength for leaping and jumping. Unlike most housecats, Cougars have a great love of swimming. In addition to their stunning power, they are also very playful. Captive cougars are known to be very destructive to their toys. It is important to supervise them when they are playing with toys, as they have been known to eat rubber, plastic, fabric and other materials that comprise their playthings. If your cougar has ingested parts of his toys, it is important to check their daily stool to see if the pieces have passed. If they have not you need to consult your veterinarian for treatment. The Cougar is very intelligent and should be given a variety of toys that are exchanged for new ones often, otherwise they will soon become bored with the same things over and over. Cougars can be litter box trained. For obvious reasons, they need a large container for this, some recommend using children's wading pools, though these are not particularly durable and they can get expensive. Another alternative is to use disposable mortar boxes, which are commonly found at most building supply stores. Some owners of Cougars report they can leash train their cougars; because they are so powerful, it is never recommended to walk them on a leash except within enclosed areas.

In the wild, Cougars will hunt at all hours of the day. They are carnivores and hunt a variety of animals, including deer, elk, porcupine, beaver, rabbit, raccoon, opossum and elk. In captivity, they must also be fed a carnivorous diet. The captive diet can begin with a commercial diet specifically designed for carnivorous exotic cats; on top of that they must be given vast quantities of fresh meat. Chicken is preferred as beef can act as a laxative, causing diarrhea. Many people also recommended adding additional calcium and vitamins. In addition, they should have access to chemical free grass to aid in digestion and passing of hairballs. In the wild, Cougars will often have many days without food. They have adapted to this and in captivity they should have one to two days of fasting a week. Wild Cougars display possessiveness with their food. This natural behavior is carried over into captive bred cougars. For this reason, they can display aggressive possessive behavior over food and other items they consider theirs. They can inflict serious wounds when this occurs. Cougars are wild animals and rely heavily on their natural instincts. For this reason, it is very important to never, ever forget your Cougar is a wildcat and not a domestic house cat. They are fast moving, aggressive animals that can cause deep puncture wounds unexpectedly. Owning a Cougar should only be attempted by those who have experience with exotic cats. It is often recommended that before owning a Cougar, one spend some time volunteering at an exotic cat rescue organization or zoo to learn more about the husbandry of these magnificent animals.

Cougars are sleek, powerful looking felines. They range in size from 40 to 80 inches long. Those found in cold weather are typically larger than those in warmer climates. Colder weather Cougars can be as large as 250 pounds, while smaller cougars can be as small as 80 pounds. The largest Cougar ever to be measured was larger than the largest Snow Leopard and the largest Leopard on record! Their coats can range from reddish brown to bluish gray. They are often seen in any color in between as well, though the reddish brown is the most common. Male Cougars tend to be significantly larger than females. Baby Cougars can be distinguished by spotting, which disappears by approximately six months of age.

The Cougar has been called many names including; American Lion, Brown Tiger, Catamount, Deer Tiger, Mountain Lion, Night Screamer, Panther and Puma. The cougar is the largest cat within the genus 'Felis'. They are found all over North and South America. To say this cat is adaptable is an understatement; they are seen as low as sea level and as high as 14,000 feet. They live in both cold and warm climates, though larger cougars are usually seen in cold weather. The Cougar is the widest ranging of all western hemisphere cats. There are many different subspecies of Cougar, some like the Eastern Cougar and the Florida Panther are critically endangered, while other cougars are quite numerous. In the wild, Cougars generally shy away from humans and for this reason, it is not common to encounter one in the wild.

Specific Care Information: Relative Care Ease: Average

It is very important that you find a veterinarian that specializes in exotic cats before you purchase your Cougar. You do not want to find your Cougar sick and have no experienced help.

Declawing. Some owners of Cougars recommend declawing if your Cougar will have lots of contact with humans. This subject is a matter of debate among many. It is advised you discuss it with your veterinarian.

It is also important that you check and obtain the proper licensing from your state. In addition to USDA licensing, you also need to check zoning laws specific to your city.

Caging for your Cougar is expensive. They need a large enclosure, standing eight feet tall, of at least 500 by 1000 square feet. Any cage smaller than this will cause discomfort to your Cougar. They are active and need space. Jumping shelves, tree stumps and heavy branches give your Cougar plenty of places to move and exercise. In addition, they should have a den box for sleeping and security. It is also recommended that you build double doors to enter the cage, as this prevents escapes.

Many keepers of Cougars recommend keeping a CO2 fire extinguisher near the cage. Why you ask? To use against your cat if he chooses to attack someone. Spraying the cat with the extinguisher is a good way to prevent an attack from turning into a dangerous situation.

Remember, owning a Cougar is not for everyone. As is true with most things, education is the key to successfully keeping and raising a Cougar. Before purchasing a Cougar, it is recommended that any prospective owners volunteer at zoos, rehabilitation centers or other places that will give you guidance on proper Cougar husbandry. Cougars are wild animals and those who keep them must never forget their natural instincts.

Breeding and Propagation: Relative Breeding Ease: Uncertain

Cougars reach sexual maturity between two and three years of age. There is no defined breeding season for Cougars. They are seen to breed year round, though most births appear to occur in the spring and summer. After breeding, the female will gestate for 90 to 96 days. The average litter is composed of anywhere from two to five cubs, with the average being four. The babies will nurse for approximately 12 weeks, though they are often not independent for a year.

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Saturday, 7 March 2015