The African Serval (Leptailurus Serval) is a medium-sized spotted wild cat found in Africa. Inhabiting wetlands and grassy savannahs, they prey mainly on rodents, frogs, birds and other small animals. Servals are lithe, tall cats with well defined large black spots, tall ears set close together on top of the head, long legs, and a fairly short “ringed” tail. They weigh between 25 and 50 pounds at maturity and average 20” at the shoulder.
They are extremely active and agile, and can easily leap 15 feet from a sitting position, therefore they require plenty of room to run and play, such as a specially constructed, fenced outdoor secure enclosure.
A Serval does not make an ideal house pet:
A Serval requires a Wild Animal Licence (DWA) in the UK, granted by your local council.
A Serval needs lots of attention - they need YOUR attention every day.
A Serval requires a balanced diet with special attention to the needs of an exotic cat. Specialized raw diets are required; a can of cat food is NOT an option.
A Serval does not always use a litter box.
A Serval is territorial, male or female, entire or neutered, they mark their territory. When a Serval sprays he/she can be very messy and smelly.
Serval-proofing your home - this goes beyond just toddler-proofing from floor to ceiling.
A Serval will need a vet’s attention at some time in his life and many vets will not treat exotics. Once you find a vet, you will need to put a backup and emergency plan in place.
A Serval dislikes change. Changes in home, changes in occupants, changes in routine. They would be happy if everything stayed exactly the same for the whole of his/her 20 years.
A Serval does not re-home well. With a lifespan of 20 years Serval ownership is a long-term commitment and not to be approached casually.
A Serval is a large cat. Easily handled as a kitten, but add 30 to 40 lbs to that upset cat/kitten and they can be a handful.
For experienced handlers living with a Serval can be very rewarding, the bond acheived with a Serval is wonderful. But there are few homes that can commit to a Serval for the twenty years of his/her life, and if you aren't able to make this commitment then don’t consider it - it’s not fair to the Serval.