Exotic cats as pets in Cape Coral?

Exotic cats as pets in Cape Coral?

By John Rupolo. CREATED Oct 25, 2011

CAPE CORAL - It's a typical home in Cape Coral but take a closer look.  The sign says panthers crossing, well almost correct, how about a 160 pound cougar?

Her name is Sasha and was more curious about our camera than anything else.  Owner Mario Infanti raised her from birth.  She was actually born here 13 years ago.  Mario first became interested in raising big cats watching Tarzan as a youngster.

"Watching him walk around with Cymba the tiger I always thought that was so cool and i love animals," said Infanti.

But there's more big cats in Mario's backyard. Boris and Nikita are Linx.  Mario rescued these guys from a fur farm in Montreal 14 years ago.  One neighbor who didn't want to show her face admits she's a bit afraid.

"I dont like it absolutely but I have no recourse," said one neighbor.

Keeping a big kitty like Sasha in a residential neighborhood some would say sounds a bit crazy but we called the city to find out whether or not its legal but they they told us to call the state FWC.

the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission said it's legal to won these big cats provided the owners go through training and meet specific criteria.

"Our officers are out there all the time.  Checking the facilities and making sure of proper caging and to see if the animals are being treated properly," said an FWC spokesperson.

Mario says if the cats ever get loose they wouldn't harm a fly.