When it comes to pet ownership, it typically takes someone with patience, a bit of free time, and of course an affinity for animals, in order to become a good companion to these cuddly creatures. Usually when we think of pet ownership, we probably envision a cat or a dog. After all, these are usually the most frequent animals that human beings choose as pets. This is mostly because cats and dogs are cute, cuddly, obedient (to some extent), and they simply make for great friends.
One woman though, decided she wanted to defy convention a bit when it comes to pet ownership, and in doing so decided to adopt a beautiful White Marble Red Fox (Vulpes vulpes), named Rylai. Rylai was purchased from a USDA licensed pet fox breeder (yes that is such a thing), and she has been bred over several generations specifically to be a someones pet. Although she is by definition a “Red Fox”, through the breeding process she has developed a White Marble coat, which will remain white with gray accents on her ears and tail as she get older.
Rylai is approximately 5-months old and will eventually grow to be around 12-15 pounds. Besides her incredibly beautiful eyes and coat, she really is one of the most perfect animals to have as a pet. Perhaps best compared to a combination between a cat and a dog, Rylai makes a purring sound, yet she can be walked on a leash like a puppy. She eats high quality dog food, and is able to be “litterbox trained”.
As for those of you interested in adopting your own Red Fox like Rylai, the process can be a bit tedious. First of all, many states do not allow the ownership of foxes, and in those that do, the adoption process requires the purchase from a USDA approved breeder. The price to purchase a fox like Rylai is between $250-$750, but plenty of other costs will pile up as well, including transport, vaccinations, etc.
As for how Rylai differs from your more traditional cat or dog, there are a few downsides as her owner explains:
“Unlike dog/cats, Rylai has unique scent to her body due to her musk that will get stronger as she matures. Her vocalizations are VERY different. Rylai is much more stubborn than a cat or a dog in every aspect. When she wants something, it is much more difficult to deter her. In addition, she doesn’t automatically know how to use a litterbox and I’ve had to be very consistent with litterbox training to teach her. Rylai also has a very intense food drive, and unlike a cat/dog, this has to be worked on or it can lead to food aggression/resource guarding. After I eat, I wash my hands because even the smell of food riles her up. If in the future I have to leave for any reason, finding a capable petsitter would be more difficult than finding one for a cat or dog.”