African servals, exotic cats as pets

Serval Equipment and Resources
Exotic Cat Toys
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An indispensable interactive serval toy is a horse whip, a long flexible pole with a tassel on the end. This serves as a serval-strength version of the feather toys made for domestic cats.

Every component of a stuffed toy can be dangerous if eaten.

Tough rubber toys such as those made by The Kong Company are excellent provided you get one too big to swallow.

Servals love catnip, so if you can find safe catnip toys these are great.

Servals like to play in water, so some serval owners with outdoor enclosures get garden ponds or plastic kids swimming pools for the cats to play in.

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Servals chew enthusiastically and are infamous for ingesting interesting objects, then requiring surgery to have them removed. This makes toy safety critical. There are two primary concerns when selecting toys: Could they be swallowed whole (choking hazard), and could parts of them be chewed off and swallowed (choking and foreign body obstruction hazard)? If you are not sure about a toy, supervise your serval while he plays with it.

Servals love catnip, so if you can find safe catnip toys these are great. Ones made for domestic cats may work for a while when your serval is little, but as time goes by you might need to make your own. One good supplier of catnip toys is Hot Cats. Their toys are made of super-strong upholstery fabric stuffed with really aromatic catnip. The only problem is that these are about 1” around and 4” or 5” long, so there is a possibility that a serval could swallow it. Supervise if you have any concerns. Failing a safe catnip toy, simply buy dried catnip and rub it on his existing toys.

Tough rubber toys such as those made by The Kong Company are excellent provided you get one too big to swallow. These toys come in red and black; the black ones are tougher than the red ones. You can put food treats in these for the cat to dig out. Be sure to keep a close eye on rubber toys and confiscate them as soon as they start to show any signs of wear! Sirocco ate a rubber dog toy and had to have it surgically removed at a cost of over $1400.00. Servals have much sharper teeth than dogs and therefore are able to destroy these toys more quickly. Click here to buy Kong toys with my special dog trainer's discount. Hard rubber balls with bells inside are great as well.

An indispensable interactive serval toy is a horse whip, a long flexible pole with a tassel on the end. This serves as a serval-strength version of the feather toys made for domestic cats. You can get these at feed and farm supply stores. This is Sirocco’s favorite toy, hands down. He will chase it, pouncing and leaping into the air until he’s so winded he can hardly stand.

The deluxe (and less menacing looking) version of this concept is the Chase 'n Pull toy sold by JeffersPet.com. It's a somewhat flexible pole with a thick rope attached, at the end of which hangs a fleece tug with a squeaker inside. Sirocco LOVES this thing and it is really strong. Sometimes it can literally take me an hour to get this toy away from him though!

Jeffers also sells a Teaser Ball, a large hard plastic ball with holes in it that reveal another ball the cat can try to fish out. It's meant to be hung from a rope. I have Sirocco's hanging in his outdoor enclosure and he plays with it from time to time. Unfortunately it's not one of his favorites, although he plays with it from time to time. I think he knoes a toy he can't destroy when he sees one, and promptly loses interest!

Another favorite of Sirocco’s is the Tennis Tail, an oversized tennis ball with a big fleece tail attached to it. He will fling this toy in the air, carry it around, attack it, and wrestle with it. Unfortunately this is a “supervised play only” toy for him as he shows a marked inclination to destroy it!

Sirocco surveys the catnip grove in his outdoor enclosure.
Servals like to play in water, so some serval owners with outdoor enclosures get garden ponds or plastic kids swimming pools for the cats to play in.

Healthy Edibles toys for dogs are designed to be chewed up and eaten; these can be a good choice if your serval loves to destroy things. Some owners also suggest giving a potato or carrot to play with.

Stuffed fleece toys allow servals to grab, scratch, and bite something other than their owners. However, every component of a stuffed toy can be dangerous if eaten. Monitor the condition of toys carefully, and switch to supervised play only if he seems the least inclined to chew them up.

My veterinarian recommends avoiding rawhides and pig’s ears because chunks can be chewed off and swallowed, at which point they can expand in the stomach.

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Home | First Stop for Future Owners | Why Exotic Pets Should NOT be Banned | Species Profiles | Behavior and Training | Care | Veterinary Care | Vet Directory | Housing & Enrichment | Adoptions | Resources | Discussion Forum | Photos | Other Topics....
© Jessi Clark-White, 2004
Serval toys, exotic cat toys and equipment