Updated: Aug 7, 2019
By: Catherine West, MCC Practice Manager
Many people love the look of the exotic cat breeds such as the serval, pictured below. Servals are the largest of the small wild cat breeds. They are most commonly found south of the Sahara Desert. in the African grasslands. Unlike the large cat breeds, such as leopards and lions, servals do not chase their prey, they wait patiently and pounce. Also an important point to consider is they hunt at night.
Being 40 to 50 lbs, it is normal for these cats to mark their territory inside and it is even common for them to spray their owners. Unlike in domestic cats, it is normal for wild cats to spray, marking their territory, even if they are females.
Servals are wild animals whose natural habitat is African grasslands. These animals need lots of room to exercise, swim and hunt in order to expel energy. This is one reason these cats are illegal in some states and found only in zoos in those areas.
These aspects of normal serval behavior must be understood by those considering serval ownership.
These are domesticated breeds which can offer an exotic look without the wild cat behaviors. Look into Savannah Cats, descendants of the Serval, or Bengals, descendants of the Asian Leopard Cat.