are serval cats good pets

While servals are undoubtedly captivating and beautiful creatures, it’s important to recognize that they don’t make good pets. Their wild instincts, specialized dietary needs, and enclosure requirements make them unsuitable for domestic life.

10 Risks of Having a Serval Cat

This isn’t the Superman version of a pet cat, as previously stated.

The serval is a wild animal, and for this reason several states have prohibited their ownership or required specific licenses to contain one.

The risks of owning a serval cat as a pet are numerous.

If you are thinking about bringing a domesticated serval cat into your home, please take the following into serious consideration:

These habitats can be costly to build, and a serval cat won’t be able to exercise all of their energy or satisfy their natural instincts if their space is too small or if they are limited to the interior. 3.

J Freed comments below this article, saying, “They are clever.” Soon after we moved into our new house, [our serval cat] made a break for it. Three days later, we were able to locate her thanks to a tip. The enclosures must be strong, comfortable, safe for rough play, and provide for their safety. ”.

You cannot feed Meow Mix to this cat and presume that its nutritional needs will be satisfied.

A serval cat needs variety in its diet, just like in the wild, according to an exotic cattery owner who has kept several servals since 2012. ”.

She recommends a range of meats, including the necks, backs, legs, and gizzards of chickens and turkeys, as well as mice, chicks, beef, and smaller prey like mice, rats, and rabbits. ”.

“Different types of seafood such as cod, salmon, snapper, sardines, basa, shrimp, lobster, crab, shellfish; and eggs, cheese, oils, vegetables and fruits, and grass” are among the other foods she suggests. ”4.

Although they can be friendly and generally do not act aggressively toward people, keep in mind that this is still a wild animal.

They have basic, inherited instincts they need to fulfill.

Woman playing with her pet serval cat. Photo:

All wild or exotic animal ownership, including that of serval cats, is governed by a number of laws and rules that vary greatly from place to place and frequently from one particular jurisdiction to another. If you’re thinking about getting a serval cat, you should make sure you are aware of the current laws and regulations in your area. Here are some guidelines and considerations:

  • United States: Each state has its own laws governing the ownership of servals. Owning wild animals as pets is completely prohibited in some states, while obtaining a permit or license is necessary in others. Owning a serval is lawful in some states without the need for any special permits, however local laws may have different requirements. It’s crucial to verify with state and local regulations. Here are some general guidelines for owning serval cats in some states: Alabama: Owning servals is permitted without a permit. Nevada: Unless you live in a city like Las Vegas, which has its own restrictions, you are free to own a serval without a permit. Wisconsin: Although local jurisdictions may have different rules, this state permits serval cats without a permit. Idaho: Ownership is permitted without a permit; however, as previously mentioned, local governments may establish additional rules. North Carolina: Exotic pet ownership is not prohibited by state law, however county-specific regulations may differ significantly. South Carolina: As of my most recent update, having a serval is permissible in South Carolina as long as you have the required paperwork and permits. Indiana: Permits are required for some exotic pets, but restrictions vary by species and may be governed by local laws.
  • Canada: Each province sets its own laws regarding exotic pets, and just like the US, these laws can differ greatly from one another. It’s essential to check with local authorities.
  • United Kingdom: To own a serval cat in the UK, you must obtain a Dangerous Wild Animal License, which is granted by the local council and has stringent requirements to protect the animal’s welfare as well as the owner’s and the public’s safety.
  • Europe: Across European countries, laws also vary. Some countries may have bans, while others may require permits.
  • Australia: Generally speaking, it is forbidden to own serval cats as pets there. Exotic cat ownership and importation are strictly prohibited and limited to zoos and wildlife parks.

If you live somewhere where owning a serval cat is permitted, here are the procedures and things to think about when getting one:

  • Licenses and Permits: If applicable, you must apply for and be approved for the appropriate licenses or permits. Inspections of the living space you plan to give the animal and documentation of your expertise and capacity to provide for it may be part of this process.
  • Sources for Ethical Breeding: It’s important to purchase a serval from a respectable breeder or rescue group that places a high priority on the wellbeing of their animals.
  • Housing: Servals need large enclosures with lots of space that closely resemble their natural habitat. They are renowned for having a lot of energy and predatory instincts, making them unusual pets.
  • Nutrition and Medical Care: A serval’s ideal diet differs greatly from a domestic cat’s and can be expensive and complicated. It’s also essential to have access to a veterinarian who has experience treating exotic cats.
  • Insurance: You might need to obtain liability insurance because servals are regarded as wild animals.
  • Cost: Owning a serval is expensive. Initial expenses can be high, as can those for an enclosure, food, vet care, and insurance.
  • Long-Term Commitment: Because servals have a 20-year lifespan, owning one entails a number of long-term responsibilities.

You should do extensive research and verify with your local Fish and Wildlife agency or similar regulatory body to obtain the most up-to-date information on legality and requirements before acquiring a serval cat or any exotic animal.

Remember that the average weight of a serval cat is 29 pounds. 5.

Imagine your serval is playing or hunting at 3 a. m. and those 29 pounds fall onto you as you’re sleeping in the bed

This includes peeing on household items and you. Yes, you.

Servals need a much larger litter box than typical cats since they might not always use them like most domesticated cats do.

Lolo’s serval cat “did really well with his litter habits, but still enjoyed peeing in/on things in the house,” as Lolo wrote in a comment below. If I told him NO, he would slap me HARD. He was extremely stubborn. ”.

They may play too rough with kids or treat them like toys or prey while they play with their teeth and claws. This is not likely, but it is possible. 6,7.

“We had a baby—that’s where it really went downhill,” Lolo remarked once more. [Our pet serval cat] HATED the baby. We handled the baby, and he hissed and slapped us. We had to keep them separate 24/7. It was exhausting. ”.

And then, Lolo says, “it happened. ” The serval “attacked our baby. ”.

According to Lolo, “the baby had TEETH marks on her temple and next to her eye.” “That was the last straw. He most likely saw the infant as a threat or as prey. Regardless, we couldn’t risk our child or visitors. Luckily, we found him a good home. ”.

Serval cat play-biting. Photo:

They can trip over big objects, rip and scratch furniture, leap very far, and collide with objects during their frequent adventures.

The cats play with their teeth and claws because they are strong and have quick reflexes.

Plus, scratches are much worse with serval cats. Their strength is far greater than that of a typical cat, and even when they play with no malicious intent, they can still cause harm.

“Servals have a bite force at the canine teeth of 172 Newtons, whereas feral domestic cats have a bite force of 56 Newtons,” notes a 2016 Queensland Government safety report. “Because of this higher bite force, servals can subdue larger prey than can feral cats.”

They pay attention, bide their time, and then leap into the air8 to land on their target.

They typically bite the victim in the neck until they are either incapacitated by their weight or held in place.

Because of their almost 50% kill rate, servals are regarded as the world’s finest hunters. 9 (A domestic cat’s kill rate is more like 10%. ).

This is more than the average lifespan of a domestic cat (15 years11), so before choosing to adopt a wild animal, you should be aware of the long-term care requirements.

are serval cats good pets

Click Play to Learn More About the Wild Serval

Because they are cunning and fearless hunters, serval cats cannot be kept inside a typical house or yard. Once more, these cats are wild and have adapted to living in the savannas of Africa.

Because their legs are so long, servals can jump very well and dig a lot. Like ground squirrels, they can dig to find food and can leap over five feet into the air to catch birds. This tall, energetic predator requires more space to roam than most homes can provide, and meeting its food requirements is an enormous task.

They may not be very talkative, but they can make a range of sounds that could worry nearby residents, such as high-pitched cries, growls, and spitting hisses.

As for companionship, servals typically arent friendly. Theyre aloof and dont like being stroked or cuddled. Due to this, along with their enormous size (up to 40 pounds) and untamed temperament, this cat is not advised for households with children or other pets.

A serval, however, can form a strong emotional bond with a single person to the point where the animal would suffer greatly if it were to be rehomed. Owning a serval is a significant commitment because they can live up to 20 years in captivity.

Affection Level Medium
Friendliness Low
Kid-Friendly Low
Pet-Friendly Low
Exercise Needs High
Playfulness High
Energy Level High
Intelligence High
Tendency to Vocalize Medium
Amount of Shedding Low

Diet and Nutrition

Pet servals should ideally eat a variety of animal prey, preferably alive, so they can hunt and eat just like they would in the wild. In Africa, the typical diet consists of rodents, rabbits, birds, fish, insects, reptiles, and frogs. Because their diets are so high in protein, the majority of a serval’s diet consists of live or recently killed prey.

To locate their prey, servals rely more on their hearing and vision than their sense of smell. They often play with their food before eating it. Servals are extremely intelligent felines that enjoy games or puzzles that add enjoyment to their daily routines and meals.

A serval’s diet can include formulated pelleted food, but it shouldn’t comprise the majority of any meal. Otherwise, the animals health will decline.


Are serval cats friendly?

As for companionship, servals typically aren’t friendly. They’re aloof and don’t like being stroked or cuddled. Because of that, their large size (up to 40 pounds), and naturally wild temperament, this cat is not recommended for homes with kids or other pets.

How much would a serval cat cost?

How much is an F2? F2 savannah cats have a large percentage of wild African Serval in them, but more domestic than the F1. Male F2 kittens generally range from about $4,000 all the way up to around $8,000. Female F2 kittens typically range from about $4,000 to $9,000.

Are serval cats high maintenance?

They are not easily house-trained, and will frequently mark their territory with urine. It is extremely challenging to provide for the nutritional and veterinary needs of a wild cat like a serval in captivity. Without their needs met, they experience poor welfare.

Do serval cats cuddle?

Servals do not like to be cuddled and have razor sharp teeth. Their exceptional hearing leads them to startle and spook at loud or unexpected noises. Currently Servals and hybrid domestic cats like Savannah Cats are one of the most requested rehome / rescue cats once they have outgrown “cute” and reach maturity.