Can I adopt a tiger to be my pet?

Stunning tiger close up, magnificent

The times I've been with tigers in close proximity, I've always seen what I see in little house cats: a mesmerizing mix of docility, beauty, mischievousness, speed, elegance, and magnificence. The one difference: 211 (Sumatran tiger) to 691 (Siberian) pounds of mass. 

Setting aside the cruelty of having a tiger in captivity (or much worse: as a house pet), I always thought that the advertised dangers were a fabrication of uninformed humans who are quick to put forward their uneducated opinions. 

Tigers are kitty cats after all. 🐯 🐈

But I found this in Quora: an expert shedding light on the subject. 

Author: Katherine Lee Guard (trained big cats for 8 years)

"Tigers do not make good pets. And as someone who raised several tigers from birth into adulthood, I don't say this lightly. All that aside, I don’t believe anyone outside of dedicated professionals should house tigers in captivity, and then only in sanctuaries assigned for conservation efforts. I think other private ownership of Big Cats should be limited or banned. It’s just not necessary for people to live with tigers unless there is an advantage for the tigers.

I was lucky in that my mentors were experienced trainers with years of working in the entertainment business. Both men were well -acquainted with tigers and attuned to their needs and their habits. As their apprentice, with no hands- on experience, I was an accident waiting to happen. It was only because of my mentors that I did not have one.

Too many inexperienced, ignorant people want to own tigers, and for the wrong reasons. Laws protecting these cats are not uniformly enforced and so are ineffective, making private ownership a liability and overrun with abuse. Tigers are not bad, nor are they unfriendly by nature. They are large, carnivorous predators. They can hurt you, or worse. Largely a solitary animal, tigers will tolerate short periods of social interaction. But they can tire of company in an instant. It may not be neighborly to throw you out, but a tiger is simply true to his instincts. Consider yourself lucky if you get away from him with just your hurt feelings that he wasn't “friendlier.”

A tiger is wild animal, and not your buddy or your pet. Captivity does not change his responses. What he knows when threatened is to eliminate the threat, no matter what ( or who) it may be. He may see a threat where none exists. He may attack you when you are doing nothing but swatting a fly or wearing new pants. This is not cruel; it's survival of the fittest. You can't train an undomesticated, wild animal to be friendly and agreeable on cue. It would go against his nature and expose him to all kinds of threats. We have already threatened tigers to the level of critical endangerment. We dishonor them by pushing their innate characteristics away and replacing them with our own, as if tigers are offensive and our instincts superior.


We have driven wild tigers to the brink of extinction and pushed captive tigers to perform for our own entertainment, but only if they obscure their true nature. We have so distorted their kind that when a captive tiger does attack, we dismiss the attack as an act of goodwill, and not really an attack at all. In effect, we strip the tiger of all his rights to be a tiger. We're too upset by the expected attack response, so we reissue the tiger the motives we find more agreeable.

This is so troubling.

Some people are more comfortable with illusions rather than reality, and they circulate misconceptions as they see fit. They want to believe a tiger is no different than a pet dog or cat, and so will be subordinate in their care. This type of thinking leads to an increase in private tiger ownership, more cases of tiger abuse, and more tiger deaths, all because the tiger does not conform the way he is expected to. He was just being a tiger, but no one will be satisfied with that.

It doesn't seem right to demand that tigers be friendly, when we can't be so ourselves."