African servals, exotic cats as pets

Before You Get a Serval
If a serval isnít the right choice for you
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If you have weighed the facts and decided that getting a serval isnít the right choice for you right now, I commend you. Itís hard to turn away from something you want, but often itís the responsible decision to make.

If you would love to have contact with exotic cats without owning one, you may be able to volunteer at a nearby sanctuary. This way you can do a good deed and learn more about servals at the same time! You might also consider locating an exotic cat breeder in your area and developing a friendship. If the breeder grows to trust you, she may let you hang out with her cats and maybe even help raise kittens.

If you want a serval but they arenít legal in your area or you want to start with a less challenging cat, consider a Savannah. The Savannah is a serval/domestic cat hybrid. They are legal in many places where exotics are banned, retain many of the serval markings, and act more like domestic cats. The downside is that they are extremely expensive due to difficulty of breeding and high demand. For more Savannah information and photos, visit

The Bengal is a domestic cat bred for ďwildĒ markings with a domestic temperament. The breed was originally a cross between domestic cats and Asian Leopard Cats, but the wild blood is very diluted. The Bengal is recognized by domestic cat associations including TICA, ACFA, GCCF, and AACE. Tracy Wilson of Wild About Bengals is a Bengal breeder with extensive wild feline experience. If you are interested in a bengal or trying to choose the right breed/species for you, she can help.

If you simply want a beautiful cat, I would like to put in a plug for your local humane society. There are millions of gorgeous and affectionate cats looking for homes across the country. A few trips to the shelter, especially during kitten season, will be all it takes to find a wonderful pet and save a life.


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© Jessi Clark-White, 2004
Alternatives to Servals and other exotic cats