Ever thought about owning a tiger or another large cat as a pet? That may not be a realistic goal for the average citizen and those craving the companionship of an exotic cat may turn to the African Serval.
Native to Africa, the serval is a gorgeous medium-sized cat that resembles a miniature leopard with large ears. They can vary greatly in size. A serval can way anywhere in between 20 and 40 pounds and grow anywhere from 1 ½ to 2 feet tall. The serval has been hunted for its fur and used to be common in most of Africa but is now extinct in South Africa. The fur is a light tan/beige color with leopard-like spots all along the back with the underbelly being white. There are some color variations including a spotless serval, white and an all black one. The tail is long and can reach 16 inches that is usually covered in darkly colored rings similar to those found on a raccoon.
A serval can be quite different from a domestic house cat. The most common exclamation from owners is that their serval loves water. When this cat is around, keep the toilet lid down because they will play and bathe. Kiddie pools can be kept in the backyard as a swimming hole. The African serval does exhibit some of the same traits as a domestic cat but magnified. Purring, playing and pouncing are greatly magnified and increased. Servals are just as loving as domestic house cats and are famous for their head butt. They like attention and know how to get it.
It is important to socialize these cats at an early age. They should be socialized with other people and other animals. Servals can turn deadly if left around a smaller pet unsupervised. This cat is strong and has unparalleled senses. The serval can cause a great amount of damage from just playing. It is important to socialize your serval at an early age to avoid any unwanted accidents later.
The serval is a mischievous, sneaky and curious cat. They will eat things they shouldn’t, put their hands in dark places and jump to the highest places in any room.
This cat can be litter box trained but it can be difficult. It is recommended that they are neutered or spayed and never declawed. Keep a very large litter box and make sure it is cleaned very often. In the wild, both female and male servals will mark their territory at an extraordinary rate. This can be a nasty habit to break but with proper training a serval can learn to use a litter box appropriately but may occasionally spray.
The serval is a rodent killing machine and will eat small rodents in the wild such as birds, frogs, fish and insects. A serval can be fed high quality, premium brands of cat food but it is recommended by most breeders that the serval eat only fresh meat every day. Beef, chicken, turkey and seafood are just a few options.
As with any other exotic pet, check the legal requirements of owning a serval in your area before adopting. It may be more difficult to find a veterinarian. Make sure that you find one that is willing to treat your new pet before you adopt one.