A number of exotic animal sellers offer tiger cubs for sale online; however, as of 2014, it is only possible to buy and own tigers in the nine states where large exotic cat ownership is legal. These are Alabama, Delaware, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, West Virginia and Wisconsin. There are 14 other states that allow tiger ownership with a special permit.
As of 2014, the cost of tiger cubs varies from about $800 for a normal yellow Bengal tiger to $3,000 to $5,000 for a white tiger. Most tiger cubs offered for sale have been checked by a vet and have papers. However, a prospective tiger owner needs to factor in a number of other costs including enough acreage to house a tiger and a cage large and strong enough to keep a tiger. An adult tiger eats up to 15 pounds of raw meat a day and also needs regular vitamins and vaccinations. Since tigers are difficult to transport, veterinarians need to visit on site. Liability insurance for owners of large cats can run up to several thousand dollars a year. In states that require permits, licenses and other fees are substantial.
Besides the costs involved, safety risks are significant. Tigers are carnivorous wild animals and are difficult-to-impossible to train. They spray urine everywhere to mark their territory and have strong, musky odors. Numerous pet tigers that were docile as cubs have been responsible for maulings and fatalities as adults. Once tigers become unmanageable, it is difficult to find zoos and sanctuaries that are willing to take them.