The Truth About Big Cats in Captivity- Part 2

Consider the size of the average parking space. If you had a cage that size, the USDA says you can house two fully grown tigers inside. As long as the animal can stand up and turn around, he or she has all the space required by law.  And because there are no laws requiring exercise or enrichment, many tigers live in a cage that size their entire lives.

Granted, many captive tigers die within the first two years of life. But a tiger can live up to 25 years. 

Female tigers will be bred repeatedly to maintain the number of cubs needed to run the pay to pet operations. One such operation uses up to 200 cubs per year to keep their business going.

Tony The Tiger is confined at a truck stop in Louisiana. Read his story at
Tony The Tiger is confined at a truck stop in Louisiana. Read his story at

Captive tigers are inbred, which means they are not genetically close to wild tigers. They could never be released into the wild because of the repeated inbreeding. By the way, do you know that ALL white tigers are the descendants of one tiger? They do not occur naturally in the wild, and are available only because of mass inbreeding.

This is Kenny. His deformities are the result of inbreeding of white tigers.
This is Kenny. His deformities are the result of inbreeding of white tigers. (courtesy Big Cat Rescue)

Want a pet tiger? It’ll cost ya! Tigers require 10-15 pounds of meat per day, as well as supplements. Veterinary care will be expensive. Oh, and the smell. Even a spayed tiger will mark its’ territory.

Caring for a pet tiger will cost you around $10,000 per year. But a dead tiger could net you $50,000. Pelts can go for as much as $25,000. Various body parts are sold to make traditional medicines. Bones are used to make Tiger Bone Wine.

Sometimes tigers are first hunted, then killed. Confined or “canned” hunts happen all over the world, including the US. If you have enough money, you can pay to hunt and kill a tiger. Or you can skip the hunting part and kill one in a cage. Some hunters pay up to $25,000 for the opportunity to kill a tiger.


So while it’s nice to think that these animals will get a happy ending in a place like Big Cat Rescue, the reality is there are far more tigers than there are places of refuge. And most of them lead a very sad existence.

A resident of Big Cat Rescue lounges in the sun (photo courtesy Big Cat Rescue)
A resident of Big Cat Rescue lounges in the sun (photo courtesy Big Cat Rescue)

Tomorrow I’m going to tell you what you can do to help stop this insanity.


51 thoughts on “The Truth About Big Cats in Captivity- Part 2

  1. ill never forget being taken to a zoo as a child that had a tiger in a cage as small as you describe, my father and i were horrified. I am not totally against zoos, if they are run well and are high quality but about 99% of them need to be shut down and the owners of places like you suerivve should be arrested and put in a similarly sized cell

    urban hounds

    1. There are some excellent zoos that are working to ensure species survival. When are a part of a scientifically-managed captive breeding program. But most of these tigers you see in private zoos or backyards are not bred in this manner, so they could never be incorporated into an ethically-managed zoo.

  2. How shocking. I had no idea about this cruelty, until I read your post. I really hope this cruelty to the beautiful big cats can be stopped once and for all.

    1. In China they have tiger farms where they breed hundreds of tigers for sole purpose of killing the animals to sell. And in Africa they are also exploited for tourism. It’s very sad.

  3. No!!! Purrime Ministerettes has not given any Purrime Ministerette purrmission for doing things like this to big cats and shall never give any Purrime Ministerette purrmission!

    We veto!

      1. That may be, but tigers are wild and it is not natural to expect them to interact with humans. Sadly, humans want to own these creatures and play with them, but they do very little to allow them to live the way nature intended.

    1. Funny isn’t it? Americans are all up in arms about the Chinese for eating dogs. But stuff like this happens in their own backyard and they are allowing it to happen.

      1. Same with us this side of the pond we all get up in arms about mistreatment of animals when no doubt alsorts of dreadful things are going on in our own back yards( figuratively speaking that is ) all we can do is to keep shouting loud!

  4. Paying to kill a tiger in a cage?? That is without doubt the most grotesque thing I’ve heard for a long while. Sick, sick, sick! What big men (and women) they must think it makes them. Pah!

  5. When I was a child I remember a tiger pacing back and forth and pacing and pacing in what must have been an 8×14. Even at that young age I knew he must have been going stark raving mad.

  6. That YouTube is so sad……and the picture of white tiger….it’s not his fault at all though…. 😦

  7. Thank you so much for stopping by my blog ! I appreciate ❤ what great blog here! Love animals specially cats and dogs! Happy to find your blog for getting many informations about them😃

  8. It is good that you publicise this. I have never heard of tiger cub petting shows, breeding mills… if this means here in Australia we are not contributing to this, that’s fine with me. The other animal welfare issues we have to deal with are more than there should be. The human species can be so stupid & greedy.

  9. It’s an important blog. Thank you for writing it. I hope that you don’t mind, but I have included a link to your blog on my latest called “Grace”

  10. My children and I went to the zoo this week, and my kids loved the Tigers so much they were asking to have one as a pet. I spent a lot of time explaining to them that Tigers aren’t meant to be pets. I’m shocked that the cage requirements aren’t more than that!!

  11. When one of my students told me she wanted to own a dolphin, I told her that they need to be in the wild … that the water they are in (Killer Whales, and other huge marine life, have at places like Sea World) is very confining compared to what they would have in the wild.

    For a cheetah, which can run up to 70 mph, no zoo provides the kind of space the cat would find in the wild … and that’s not right.

  12. I have thought about this many times! Have you seen the movie
    “WE bought a Zoo” with Matt Damon? You MUST watch it!!!!

  13. I don’t understand why zoos and other facilities have one set of requirements that meet the animal’s needs, yet there’s another set for private ownership. Even why there can be private ownership.

    1. The USDA regulates private ownership of tigers, as they do puppy mills. In fact, the problems with captive tigers sounds eerily similar to those of the puppy mill industry. Which is one reason why I am fighting this fight. One can only help the other.

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