African servals, exotic cats as pets

Serval/Exotic Cat Care
Servals in Suburbia
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First, check with your city, county, and state to see if there are any laws regulating servals in your area. You want to make sure your pet is 100% legal.

Visit all your neighbors with pictures, explain what a serval is, and see how they feel about it.

Ideally, a perimeter fence to keep people away from your serval should surround your enclosure.

A reader asked "How do you feel about having a serval in a neighborhood in general? My house is pretty big, and the serval would go for lots of walks and down to the park area where these is also a beach and water to play with. The cat would sleep on a bed at night, and always have the run of the house."

I think it would be okay to keep a serval in a neighborhood provided certain conditions were met.

First, check with your city, county, and state to see if there are any laws regulating servals in your area. You want to make sure your pet is 100% legal.

Second, I would visit all your neighbors with pictures, explain what a serval is, and see how they feel about it. Some people with exotic animals end up in a nasty fight when someone in the neighborhood is scared or angry about the presence of the animal and tries to cause legal problems.

Third, be aware that you are required to have a USDA permit if you want to exhibit your serval, and that taking it for walks in public would be considered exhibiting if anyone wanted to make an issue of it.

Fourth, I would strongly suggest erecting an outdoor enclosure and connecting it to your house so that the serval has a place to get outside and blow off energy. Even if your house is fairly large, it is a static environment. An outdoor enclosure will help keep your cat entertained because he can watch things going on outside. Especially in a suburban neighborhood, I would make sure you connect the enclosure to your house by means of a dog door so that he can retreat into the house if something frightens him. Servals have been known to injure themselves trying to escape from enclosures when they are panicked by something.

Ideally, a perimeter fence to keep people away from your serval should surround that enclosure. Again, you want to guard against any possibility of theft, teasing, and injury to humans. Society will hold you to a higher standard when you have an exotic animal as a pet than if you were to own a domestic cat or dog.



 

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© Jessi Clark-White, 2004
Servals in Suburbia