What starts as a shy cat quickly turns into one of the most loving cats you can find. The Serengeti cat, known for its giant ears and 7-foot jump span, is an exotic cat with high energy to spare. The Serengeti has the longest legs of any fully domesticated cat. It also has another prominent feature, one that makes it seem as though it is always watching you: giant, alert ears.
An Overview of the Serengeti
Even though this cat is often mistaken as a descendant of wild cats, particularly the Serval, this cat is anything but. Serengetis are a mixture of Oriental Shorthairs and Bengal cats that were bred in the early 1990s with the desire to create a cat that looked like the Serval. The breeder, Karen Sausman, wanted to fight against a trend in the early 1990s to breed domestic cats with wild cats because she, along with other conservation supporters, didn’t support how breeders were searching ruthlessly for wild cats.
Instead, she wanted to breed a cat that looked like a wild cat but its line would be from domestic cats. The Serengeti was originally bred in California. The International Cat Association (TICA) notes that these cats are still in developmental phases as the ultimate goal is to breed a cat without using any recent wild blood, and the Bengal cat is a mixture of a leopard and a domestic cat. Because of the Bengal blood, the Serengeti is classified as a hybrid cat.
What Do Serengeti Cats Look Like?
TICA recognizes three of shades of coat for this spotted cat: ebony silver, tabby, ebony smoke, and solid black. Their coat is covered in a bold, spotted pattern, and the translucent hairs almost seem to shimmer from far away. The long legs and round tipped ears mark them from other exotic cats. Their necks are also quite long and they blend into the skull of the cat quite seamlessly. These cats are the epitome of grace.
The Serengeti is a graceful creature, from its bone structure to its shimmering fur. The way the Serengeti sits seems as if it is practicing for a modeling competition. It sits incredibly upright, and with its giant ears perked up, it looks as though it is constantly scanning its surroundings. The Serengeti also has distinctively large, amber eyes, although hazel to light green is also acceptable according to TICA guidelines. The Serengeti looks most similar to its shorthair ancestors, but just with longer legs and larger bones.
What is the Temperament of a Serengeti?
Serengeti cats are born to dance. Their long legs are essentially a guarantee that they will have boundless energy. Thankfully, the Serengeti is incredibly friendly as well, both with adults and children. However, because of the bursts of energy and curiosity, you should keep an eye on these cats rather than leave them alone. They are constantly curious and will often steal small objects and hide them away. They also love to climb and jump, and will find refuge in all of the hidden nooks of your house. Because these cats are so curious, it is highly encouraged that they stay indoors as they may be easily distracted outside and could find themselves on a long journey without knowing where they’re headed.
One of the ways that the Serengeti bonds with its family is through its voice. This is a very vocal cat. If you do not want a cat that loves to have long conversations, then this cat may not be best for you and your family. These cats are also quite spontaneous, so if you tend to be a little anxious and startle easily, then perhaps look for a slightly more docile cat. However, for the energy lovers, the Serengeti will become your comrade in action. These cats are independent but also loving, similar to their shorthair ancestors. They can entertain themselves but also go through moments when they need tender love and care. With their vocal opinions, they’ll always let you know what they want.
How Do I Train a Serengeti?
Even though the Serengeti is noted for being a “Velcro cat,” it does take a few days for this breed to warm up to its new family. These cats don’t require any specific training, other than constant diligence due to the high level of energy. Training should start as a kitten. You can train the Serengeeti to speak, step over objects, jump, and sit.
A Look at the Serengeti Cat in Action
What Do I Need to Know about Grooming, Diet and Health?
This cat does require a bit of maintenance because it is an average shedder. Brushing or wiping your cat’s coat with a soft cloth every week can keep the shine of the fur. This should be all the grooming you need to do. Also, you should examine the ears frequently and clean them with a cotton ball.
Although in general the Serengeti is a healthy cat, this breed is victim to a few specific health concerns. These ailments include vomiting, diarrhea, and feline lower urinary tract disease. Most of these ailments come from urinary crystals in the kidney or bladder. These crystalline stones can increase in size and number, becoming incredibly painful for the Serengeti. Therefore, diet is important. Serengeti cats prefer meat and protein heavy meals, along with the fats and carbohydrates that all cats need in a balanced diet. The average size for females is 8-12 lbs., and the average males are 12-15 lbs. As with all cats, make sure to brush their teeth and trim their nails to avoid common diseases. These cats do have a longer life expectancy, typically 18-20 years.
How Much Does a Serengeti Kitten Cost?
You can find Serengeti breeders in the United States as well as other countries. They tend to cost at least $600, but they can go up to nearly $2,000 depending on the breeder and the quality of the cat.