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Serengeti

Height: Medium
Weight: 8 – 15 pounds
Lifespan: 9 – 15 years
Colors: Golden, gray, black, brown, usually spotted
Suitable for: Energetic families, with or without other pets
Temperament: Friendly, active, agile, chatty, outgoing, confident, gentle

The Serengeti Cat is a newer breed created in 1994 by Karen Sausman of California, who mixed the Oriental Shorthair with the Bengal breed and gave us with the Serengeti. Karen is a conservation biologist who was interested in creating a domestic cat that would look similar to a wild cat, specifically the African Serval but was 100% domestic as a way of giving the cat owner a substitution to owning an actual wild cat. The Serengeti is recognized by The International Cat Association (TICA)

The Serengeti is a medium-sized cat with long legs and large ears that are slightly rounded at the tip and round eyes that are usually gold to amber in color. They have short, smooth, and soft coats that come in a golden to yellowish color with distinct black spots, or they can be a cool grey or silver with black spots or solid black. These spots tend to appear similar to leopard spots, which is what gives them the wild cat look.

Cat ball divider 1Serengeti Kittens – Before You Buy…

Energy
Trainability
Health
Lifespan
Sociability

The Serengeti is a highly energetic and active cat with an average lifespan expected for any domestic cat. They are trainable with consistency and patience and have no known health issues associated with the breed. The Serengeti tends to form a strong bond with her family and is generally outgoing and social.

What’s the Price of Serengeti Kittens?

The Serengeti is rare and rather hard to find, so the price will depend on the breeder. Serengeti kittens might be as low as $650 to as high as $2,500 but be sure to only deal with a responsible and reputable breeder. Ask them lots of questions and request to see their cats’ medical history as a responsible breeder will be more than willing to answer all of your questions and be open about their cats.

Kittens learn a lot from their mother and siblings and should not be taken away from them at too young of an age. Kittens are usually weaned at around 8 to 10 weeks and are ready to leave their mother when they are 12 to 13 weeks old. It’s essential to allow the kitten this time with her littermates and mother because if she is removed from her mother when too young, she will be prone to behavioral issues and health problems.

You might also consider adopting a Serengeti from a rescue group, but given their popularity and rarity, this will prove to be a challenge. However, if you do find a Serengeti through a rescue organization, the fee usually ranges from about $100 to $300, and you’ll be giving a cat a new chance at a happier life.

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3 Little-Known Facts About the Serengeti

1. The Serengeti is nicknamed the “Velcro Cat.”

They tend to stick with their favorite human like, well, Velcro! The Serengeti forms a strong bond with their family and will follow you around and stick to you like glue.

2. The Serengeti is known to be chatty.

Because the Serengeti has both the Bengal and Oriental Shorthair breeds as part of her breeding background and are both known for being extra talkative, the Serengeti is also known to talk. A lot.

3. The black Serengeti can still have black spots.

This is known as Melanistic but is also called ghost spots and is common with the black panther. While the black spots are hard to see on a solid black coat, they are still there.

Serengeti kitten_Krissi Lundgren_shutterstock
Credit: Krissi Lundgren, Shutterstock

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Temperament & Intelligence of the Serengeti

The Serengeti is a devoted and loving cat that will follow you around and take as many opportunities as possible to cuddle with you on your lap. While they are incredibly energetic and playful, they are also gentle and affectionate and are quite confident and outgoing cats.

The Serengeti is a smart cat that can be a little shy when first introduced to a new place or situation but will very quickly adjust and show off her friendly and easygoing nature in due time. She might also be a little wary of strangers initially but will warm up quickly when introduced or becomes familiar with this new person.

Are These Cats Good for Families? 👪

Absolutely! The Serengeti gets along with children of all ages and will be a fun playmate thanks to their energetic and playful natures. However, like with any animal, there should be supervision with younger children and the Serengeti. Children should always be taught how to be gentle with animals. Pulling of tails or constantly carrying the cat around should be avoided.

Does This Breed Get Along with Other Pets?

If the Serengeti is given time to adjust to any new pets introduced into the household or is raised alongside other animals, she will get along very well with them all. Always have an escape route, such as shelves or a cat tree, provided for your cat in case she becomes overwhelmed or scared.

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Things to Know When Owning a Serengeti:

Food & Diet Requirements

Find a high-quality dry cat food and follow the instructions on the back of the food bag so you can figure out how much you should feed your Serengeti every day. Keep an eye on the amount of food and treats she’s eating as you don’t want an overweight cat, but you can talk to your vet if you’re ever concerned about her weight or health

You should also think about purchasing a cat fountain for your Serengeti to help increase her water intake. Many cats do not get enough water, and they could end up with kidney problems as they get older and a fountain can help prevent this from happening.

Exercise 🐈

The Serengeti is a very active cat that will spend a lot of time running and playing independently, so most of her exercise will be taken care of naturally. You can also provide her with cat puzzles when you’re not around as an additional way to ensure she’s entertained and not bored. You should consider keeping the Serengeti indoors, as her exotic looks might tempt someone to snatch her up.

As previously mentioned, the Serengeti loves jumping and lounging around in high places, so be sure to provide her with cat shelves or just clear off some of your own shelves to avoid breakage.

Training 🧶

The Serengeti is not known to be highly trainable for tricks, but basic socialization and a little obedience training is doable and important.

Grooming ✂️

The Serengeti has a short, sleek coat that will not require frequent brushing, and she’ll probably do a good job taking care of it all by herself. However, it is a good idea to get her accustomed to brushing while she’s young as it can be a bonding experience, and she will need more help grooming as she ages.

When she’s young, it’s also a good idea to get her used to your trimming her nails, and a cat scratcher will help to save your furniture. Providing your cat with dental treats can help keep her teeth clean, and you can get her used to a toothbrush while she’s still a kitten.

Health and Conditions 🏥

The Serengeti is a healthy cat that is also a rare and relatively new breed, so she has no known problematic health conditions, particularly compared to other purebred cats. Considering she was bred from the Bengal and Oriental Shorthair, it is helpful to be familiar with the health problems associated with these breeds.

Your vet will check your cat’s hips and knees and will run heart and blood tests to check for these health problems. Remember, these conditions are a little more common in the Serengeti’s breed background and not necessarily in the Serengeti herself.

Your vet will check your cat’s eyes in addition to the standard testing during an annual physical exam. If you bought a kitten from a breeder, she would have been screened for all of these conditions before going home with you. Any problems with the kitten should be disclosed to you by a good breeder.

cat + line dividerMale vs. Female

The female Serengeti is usually slightly smaller than the male, which is typically about 10 to 15 pounds in weight, and the female is around 8 and 12 pounds.

The next obvious difference is getting your Serengeti spayed or neutered. Spaying the female will be a little more expensive but will stop her from going into heat and, of course, prevent pregnancy. Neutering is a quicker and cheaper operation and will stop your male from spraying and from wandering off.

There is also the belief that, in general, female cats are a little less affectionate than males and tend to be more cautious. But the true determinate of most cat’s personalities come from the time they spent with their mothers and littermates and how they are treated by people throughout their lives.

cat paw dividerFinal Thoughts

Finding a Serengeti will most definitely be a challenge as there are very few breeders of this exotic looking cat in North America. Speak to cat clubs and any breeders you do find to help steer you in the direction of a good breeder with available kittens. You can also post your interest in the Serengeti on social media. You could also search for a Serengeti through adoption agencies, but that will take time and patience, but this cat is worth it!

If you are looking for a miniature wild cat in appearance with a decidedly domestic cat personality, the Serengeti is a perfect mix of sweet and fun and might be the ideal fit for your family.


Featured Image Credit: Krissi Lundgren, Shutterstock