African servals, exotic cats as pets

Before You Get a Serval
An example of someone who should not get an exotic cat
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This is a e-mail I received from someone wondering if and exotic cat would be the right choice for him, and the reasons I felt it would be a bad idea.

"Thx for taking your time to reply to me. I am interested in having a cat as a pet. I like wild cats like tiger and lion but they are too big. I am interested in buying a Siberian lynx. But the thing is I don't like small cats. I don't now if this is the right choice. I have 10 year old brother and 3 sisters. Could u tell me what would be the right choice for me?"

Unfortunately this does not sound like a successful situation for any exotic feline. First of all, if you do not like domestic cats, you WILL NOT like an exotic cat. They have all the traits of domestic cats, but those traits are intensified. If there is anything you dislike about domestic cats, an exotic will drive you nuts. And while under some circumstances it can work, generally exotic cats and children are not a great mix. The exotic may well play too rough for the kids, and children are prone to leaving doors open which can allow the cat to escape.

"The thing is I live on top of my shop. In about 5 months we are thinking of buying a house. Our shop is very busy and while I am working in my shop I will have to take the cat there at times would this be dangerous?"

This would be a bad idea because you will be unable to supervise the cat at all times. The cat would have to be leashed or crated to prevent escape, and you would still run the risk of having a visitor to the shop accidentally scratched or bitten if the cat gets scared or plays too rough. Big liability risk. Also, if you are exposing the cat to the public, you would need to have a federal USDA exhibitor's permit. And finally, these are timid animals who do not enjoy loud noises.

"Can these Siberian lynx have mood swings e.g. turn against u I also have a lot of visitors how do they usually react against them?"

I am not familiar with the temperament of these cats, but wild felines in general have very individual personalities. How much time you spend socializing the cat will be a big factor, but it is impossible to say ahead of time how an individual cat will react. I would not recommend an exotic cat for your situation given your lack of experience, high oppportunity for the cat to escape, too much exposure to people who will not know how to act around the cat, the fact that children are involved, and the fact that you do not like domestic cats. The idea may sound cool, but I think after a few months of dealing with all the complications you would hate it.







 

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© Jessi Clark-White, 2004
An example of someone who should not get an exotic cat