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Risks of Ownership of a Serval
Should I Get a Serval Cat?
The serval isn’t the superman version of a pet cat. The serval is a wild animal, and for this reason several states have prohibited their ownership or required specific licenses to contain one. There are many risks surrounding the ownership of this animal, and you should seriously consider all points before making the decision to bring one into your home.
* Serval cats need a zoo-like enclosure to explore, swim, hunt, run and occasionally climb.Too small of an area or an interior-only option will not allow this cat to expel all of its energy or fulfill its natural instincts.
* Servals require special diets. Fresh Raw meat every day more than once a day plus vitamins and minerals.
* Servals are not lap cats.
* Servals are wild animals, and legislation restricts their ownership in several U.S. states and other countries. If you decide to get a serval and later decide it won’t work, you may find it difficult to relinquish ownership of such an animal as organizations or individuals receiving the animal will also need to hold the appropriate licenses.
* They like to hunt. Keep in mind a serval weighs an average of 40 to 50 pounds on the high end. Imagine your serval is playing or hunting at 3am and those 40 to 50 pounds lands on you or another pet of yours mid-sleep!
* Servals like to mark their territory. This includes peeing on your walls, your furniture your other pets and on household items and you. Yes, you. the Serval community calls it ‘Hosing’ for a reason.
* The average life expectancy for a serval is 20 years. This is longer than the typical domestic cat, and you should understand the responsibility of taking care of a wild animal for a long period of time before deciding to obtain one.
* Unless your serval has been raised and bottle-fed by humans from early in his life, he will not take to a new owner well. I personally have seen a young 11 week old kittens attack their new owners face and leave deep scars just from being scared, and this was a socialize hand raised kitten!
* Servals are not recommended for households with young children. They play using their teeth and claws, and they will be too rough with children or view them as toys or prey.
* Servals play — hard. They can knock over large items, scratch and tear furnishings, jump extremely high and crash into things during their many excursions.
* Servals may not always take to litter boxes like most domesticated cats, and they will require a much larger box and more than one box around the house (at least 3 or 4).
* Scratches are much worse with servals. Their strength is much higher than that of a normal cat and even if they don’t mean harm, they can cause it simply by playing.
* They are more likely to chew and eat anything. Getting hair ties, plastic bottle tops, or even cat toys stuck in their intestines. Cue the vet trips!
* Servals are also high-energy and curious cats. Your house must be secured, similar to baby-proofing, to ensure their safety.
* If a Serval escapes from your home on accident it will run away and never come back. These aren’t the loyal pets that will come back to their home, they will feel ‘free’ and roam your streets home, parks, etc. maybe scaring neighbors into calling animal services to pick it up!
There are many reasons you should reconsider buying a serval. At the end of the day, this is still a wild animal. While some can be affectionate, they don’t do well with changing owners and need space to fulfill their natural instincts. Don’t confuse space with efficiency; just because you have multiple acres doesn’t mean you can just drop a serval onto the property and he will fend for himself.
If you just adore servals and feel the need for an exotic cat I highly suggest to own a hybrid Savannah. They have the wild look and intelligence of a serval but they are so much more manageable and friendly and affectionate with less problems with litterboxes, strangers and responsibilities.