The Serengeti cat is a young breed. Although the name suggests otherwise, this cat does not come from Africa (Serengeti is the name of an area in East Africa) but from the United States. An American biologist had the idea of breeding a cat that looked a lot like the wild serval cat.
This became the Serengeti, an affectionate cat that has since joined the official breeds. What kind of cat is it exactly, what are the breed characteristics and how do you get a kitten?
Serengeti Cat, Her Origin And Namesake Of The Breed
The American biologist Karen Sausman was a cat lover and had a boarding house and cattery for these little four-legged friends. At some point, she thought that she could produce a kind of serval cat by crossing. One that does not live on the African savannah like the real serval cat, but one that can live in the living room.
Karen Sausman has studied different varieties in order to arrive at a correct crossing. She decided to cross a Bengal and a white Oriental Shorthair from existing breeds. The most beautiful kittens have crossed again, of course with an extra new bloodline to prevent inbreeding.
Slowly the cat she wanted to ‘copy’ emerged in her Kingsman cattery. This is how the Serengeti was created in 1994.
The name Serengeti owes this cat to the Serengeti plain in East Africa where the true serval cat occurs. The cat is registered with The International Cat Association (TICA)
The External Breed Characteristics
It is a medium-sized, muscular cat with average weight. The cat has an elegant gait and, contrary to what is often thought of as a muscular cat, is not very energetic.
The cat stands relatively high on its legs, just like its wild example. The legs are firm in structure and muscular. The feet of this cat is relatively small. Finally, this cat has a thick tail that tapers towards the tip and is of medium length.
This cat has a wedge-shaped head, with relatively large erect ears on top of the head. She has large round eyes and the color is preferably a deep copper or gold. The breed characteristics also allow green and amber eyes. The finely built muzzle, unlike that of its eastern ancestors, is not very large. The neck is quite long and muscular like the rest of the body.
The coat of the Serengeti cat is usually golden with large dark spots. The contrast between the base color and the stains must be clearly recognizable. The Serengeti cat with the spots usually has a very light fawn or white belly. There are some exceptions in terms of coat color, namely the completely black or deep brown version.
The Serengeti cat has a friendly character, she can be called very sweet and affectionate. She likes to stay with people and this cat goes well with other pets. Furthermore, it is a self-confident cat and can be temperamental every now and then.
The latter only happens when she knows the environment well. This cat will initially take in a new environment with more than average restraint and will give a timid impression during that period.
Serengeti is vocal cats, so what the Oriental Shorthair is known for has also been inherited in this cat’s genes. The Serengeti cat is a sociable ‘talker’.
The care of this cat is actually very simple. The coat is short and a good brushing or combing once a week is sufficient. Take a brush or comb with not-too-hard bristles and start brushing at a young age. Most cats are not really waiting for a brush.
After all, there may be a painful tangle in the hair that needs to be combed out. If you start brushing or combing at a young age when it is not really necessary yet, she will not know any better and the weekly brushing will not be a problem in adulthood.
This cat likes to stay outside and likes to climb. A cat running with climbing possibilities is therefore good for her well-being. Properly furnishing a cat run also helps prevent her from seeing her own furniture as climbing objects.
No specific health aspects of the Serengeti cat are known. This has to do with the fact that this is a relatively young variety.
Buying a Serengeti Kitten
Find A Breeder
Good breeders can be found in many countries for many purebred cats. It is different for the Serengeti. In 2019, the Serengeti has no breeders in the Netherlands who only have this breed in their cattery.
Through one of the pedigree cat associations, it is possible to find out which affiliated breeders also have the Serengeti cat in the cattery.
However, if you get a kitten from the United States, it is a bit more distant. Then make contact with the breeder, make sure you can skype (or another way of visual contact) and see if you get a good feeling with the breeder.
A good breeder will show you the cats on the screen, send you photos, etc. You will then be placed on a list and you will be notified when a litter is born. At least if you are not on a very long waiting list, because then it can take considerably longer.
How Much Does This Cat Cost?
If you want to buy a kitten, you have to take certain costs into account. Of course, initially, the purchase price is the cat itself. In 2019, $ 500 is the lower limit to buy such a kitten from an official breeder. The more the kitten conforms to the breed characteristics, the more expensive it will be. This can amount to about $ 1,750. With a kitten from the United States you have to take several costs into account, namely:
- All necessary vaccinations.
- Travel papers.
- A special travel crate for the plane (in which the kitten is obliged to stay during the flight).
- The journey itself.
For the travel papers, the flight, and the special travel crate you have to take into account $ 250 to $ 300 in terms of costs. The costs for the vaccinations can differ per vet but can amount to around $ 75.
Minimum age for a kitten on the plane
A kitten younger than 3 months and 21 days may not be transported on the plane. In practice, this will not easily cause problems. A kitten from a cattery is not allowed to leave the nest before 12 to 13 weeks anyway and there are many catteries that set a lower limit of 16 weeks. The longer the kitten is with the mother, the better off she is.
A savannah cat is not a Serengeti cat
It may sound strange, but if you like the appearance of the Serengeti cat, then during your search you can also accidentally end up with the savannah cat, a cat that looks a lot like the Serengeti cat and which in The country is relatively easy to buy in the cattery. However, these varieties have no genetic link with each other and it is therefore essentially different varieties with an associated character.
In addition to the similarity, confusion can also arise because the savannah cat once originated from the crossing of a domestic cat and a wild serval cat. This wild serval cat lives in the area after which the Serengeti cat is named.
The Serengeti cat is a beautiful, sweet, and very affectionate cat. A nice cat that, in appearance, is reminiscent of the feline in nature, but is the result of older breeds that were simply bred for humans. In terms of coat, the Serengeti is more like the Bengal, but it certainly has the vocal qualities of the Oriental Shorthair. Definitely a cute cat!