Having a Pet Sand Cat | Is That Absurd or Legal?!

This is just my humble opinion, but sand cats are really (REALLY) cute cats! I would love to have a pet sand cat.

But if I could find one for sale – which may be a feat in its own right – could I actually (legally) own a sand cat as a pet?

The answer really depends on two major factors (where you live and being able to find a sand cat for sale).

Where you live will depend on whether or not you can legally have a sand cat as a pet. Let’s dive in a little more!

Can You Have a Pet Sand Cat?

Sand cats are exotic cats and aren’t going to be legal as pets in many places. Although these exotic animals are smaller than your average domestic cat, they will fall under “exotic cat” laws that were really intended for larger cat species.

Unfortunately, since most places ban exotic cats as pets, you won’t be able to own a sand cat. But these laws will vary from place to place, so it is best to check with your local officials for accuracy.

Can You Keep a Sand Cat as a Pet?

Let’s dive a little deeper by location!

Can You Have a Pet Sand Cat in The United States (U.S.)?

It is illegal in most states to own a sand cat as a pet. Sand cats are considered wild animals and exotic cats. It will be illegal to keep a pet sand cat in the states that ban exotic cat species and wild animals as pets.

It is legal to keep big cats in six states, so it may also be legal to keep a sand cat as a pet in these states. The six states are Alabama, Delaware, Nevada, North Carolina, Oklahoma, and Wisconsin.

Some other states will likely allow a sand cat as a pet with a permit or license.

You will need to check with your state wildlife department to get a clear-cut answer on whether or not sand cats can be pets in your state.

Local laws may also be in place that affects the ownership of exotic cats. So check with state and local officials to get the most accurate answer.

Even if it is legal to keep a sand cat as a pet in your state, it may be difficult to find one. This small cat breed is said to be rare and not many can be found for sale.

If you do find a sand cat for sale, the cost will be significantly high compared to most other domestic cat species.

Can You Have a Pet Sand Cat in Canada?

It is not legal to keep a sand cat as a pet in most of Canada. There is no identifiable legislation that specifically describes sand cats as legal or illegal in Canada, but they do fall under exotic pet laws and possibly under specific exotic cat laws in Canada.

Check with your local officials and they will be able to provide specifics about legal exotic pets where you live.

Can You Have a Pet Sand Cat in Australia?

Australia is very strict with the import and export of wild animals and exotic pets. Keeping a sand cat as a pet in Australia is illegal because sand cats are considered wild, exotic animals that are not native to Australia.

Since sand cats are not native to Australia, it would be illegal to keep one as a pet due to the import restrictions in place.

If you find a breeder selling sand cats in Australia, it would be best to not make that purchase because it would be illegal and not in the best interest of you or the cat.

Since they are a small cat species, some of us may assume they would be perfect pets. But the reality is that they are wild animals and don’t have the same mindset or instinct as your average domestic cat.

Can You Have a Sand Cat as a Pet in The United Kingdom (UK)?

There are no specific laws in place that ban you from keeping a sand cat as a pet in parts of the United Kingdom. However, this doesn’t mean that they are legal to keep everywhere.

Sand cats fall under exotic animal laws and possibly even dangerous animal laws depending on where you live.

Every area will have different laws in place on what exotic animals are allowed to be kept as pets in the UK. I wish I could list every single location here, but that would require so much time and very little reward.

It is best to check with the local laws in place for exotic pets to ensure you are given the most current and up-to-date information.

Are Sand Cats Good Pets?

Sand cats are not good pets because it is illegal to own one as a pet in most places and it is unlikely that you will find one for sale in your area, assuming it is legal to own one where you live.

Aside from the legal aspect, sand cats are very rare on the exotic pet market and would cost a significant amount if you could find one for sale.

Some people will mistake a sand cat as a viable pet option because they are small and seem harmless. Don’t let these cute little cats fool you! They aren’t as soft and cuddly as we picture them to be (or want them to be) in our minds.

Let’s answer some questions that will give you a better perspective on why a sand cat would not be a good pet.

Sand Cat Behavior & Temperament

Are Sand Cats Aggressive?

Sand cats are fierce hunters and predators. They may seem cute, soft, and cuddly but they have a mean streak to them. They are wild animals and don’t have the same instincts as domestic cats.

Sand cats are aggressive to the point that they don’t mind taking on snakes – including venomous snakes – and regularly hunt them.

Are Sand Cats Dangerous?

Sand cats are small so they don’t seem like they would be very dangerous. However, they have a predator and hunter mindset and instinct. Sand cats can be very dangerous and can cause serious injuries just like any other cat could.

They can bite and claw but think of it as being like 10 times worse than your pet cat that decides to go crazy for a moment.

Are Sand Cats Domesticated?

Sand cats are rare in captivity. Sand cats can’t be domesticated pets because they are wild animals that can’t be tamed and are not bred to be in captivity.

Sand cats that are kept in captivity typically die within a year, so it wouldn’t be a good idea to have a sand cat as a pet due to them not being able to transition to domestication and the short lifespan it would bring.

Are Sand Cats Friendly?

Sand cats are not friendly animals. They are ferocious hunters and are not to be taken lightly. Yes, I’ve said this a few times, but they do look very cute and cuddly.

However, they wouldn’t look so cute and cuddly if they were trying to claw your eyes out. Maybe a little overdramatic but the point is that sand cats are not friendly animals.

Are Sand Cats Intelligent?

Sand cats are just as intelligent (if not more) as other cat species. Since they are hunters, they require special skills and the ability to process those skills to survive and thrive in the wild.

Are Sand Cats Solitary?

Sand cats are solitary cats that live in the desert. Although they are considered of the least concern and not listed as endangered, it is believed that their population is not very high. It would be rare to see two cats together unless during mating.

Are Sand Cats Territorial?

Sand cats are not very territorial. There could be many reasons for this but one of the assumptions is that there is a low number of species that exist in the wild.

Due to this and the desert habitat they live in, it is unlikely that two sand cats have to compete within the same territory.

Sand Cats for Sale - Cost to Own a Sand Cat

How Much Do Sand Cats Cost?

Sand cats are not for sale in most places. It will be rare to find a pet sand cat for sale no matter where you live in the world. If you do happen to find one for sale, you will probably run into at least two problems.

The first problem is whether or not it is legal to own a pet sand cat and the second problem is that the sand cat will come with an expensive price tag.

Assuming that you’ve gotten around the legal hurdles and can actually (legally) buy a sand cat where you live if you could find one for sale, prices have been reported to be anywhere between $7,000 to $10,000.

However, it could cost you more or less. There really isn’t much data because the sale of a sand cat is very rare.

Where Can I Buy a Sand Cat?

If you want to own a sand cat as a pet, good luck! These beautiful cats will not be easy to find from an exotic pet dealer.

Sand Cats for Sale

There are currently no active markets for sand cats. These cats are truly wild animals and are rare to find in the open exotic pet trade.

If you do find one for sale, it may be illegal to purchase. But it will most definitely come with a high price tag.

Although small and domestic looking, sand cats are not readily available as exotic pets and will not be an option for households.

You will need to look at other domestic pet options that are available and legal in your area.

Adopt a Sand Cat

There are currently no options to adopt a sand cat, either physically or symbolically.

However, if you would like to symbolically adopt another wild or exotic animal, you can check out WWF symbolic adoptions to help out a good cause.


To summarize – sand cats are not good pets, they are illegal pets for the majority of us, and they are rare animals to see for sale on the exotic pet market.

It is 100% illegal to own a sand cat as a pet where I live in the United States. It is likely the same in your area.

I would love to have a pet sand cat because they are really cute and small cats, but it isn’t always about what I want.

It is what’s best for the environment, for nature, and for the sand cat species. Maybe in another world, a sand cat could be domesticated and legal as a pet, but not in my world over here.

However, there are always legal options that are likely better pet options anyway.

Although you can’t have a sand cat as a pet, you are sure to find a suitable option that best fits your household and lifestyle.

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