Serengeti Cat Breed
General Description and History
The ideal Serengeti cat is a medium sized cat with long legs. It should be in excellent physical condition, strong and muscular. It should appear as a graceful, statuesque, squarely built cat with a very upright posture. Also noticeable is the long neck that which blends into the base of the skull without tapering. Strikingly large, round tipped ears equal to length of the head are one of the main features of the Serengeti as are its bright, round eyes. They should have a gentle, confident, outgoing and alert temperament.
The Serengeti cat was created by Karen Sausman, owner of Kingsmark Cattery in California and a professional conservation biologist. She decided to create a domestic breed of cat that was partially modeled on the beautiful African serval. However, unlike the breed known as Savannah cats, the Serengeti cats have no serval blood and have been developed from crossing bengals and oriental shorthairs. A project to create the breed started slowly in 1995 and now Serengeti’s are being bred by individuals around the United States, the United Kingdom, Europe, Australia and even Russia. Serengeti cats are TICA registered and can be shown as a preliminary new breed.
The ideal Serengeti cat has an open, self-assured and friendly temperament. While they might be shy for a few moments in a new location, as soon as they warm up to their new owners and home they can become like Velcro, always wanting to be with you helping with every endeavor. These are extremely agile cats and very active. They love to get on high places and enjoy running through the house at full speed. They can be vocal, which comes probably from their oriental ancestors, and gladly talk with you about almost any subject. If properly introduced, they get along well with other pets.
The Serengeti is a medium boned, long-legged domestic cat. They have a short, tight coat with a silky texture. Serengeti’s come in yellow to gold with a pattern of distinctly, widely spaced black spots. They also come in solid black and they may also be a cold grey with black spots and bright, white silver with black spots. The ears of the Serengeti are very large, rounded on the end and placed directly on top of their skull. Their large round eyes are usually gold to amber. In conformation and body type, the Serengeti is more similar to the oriental short hair but with larger boned and longer legs. They are also much more upright in their posture. Male Serengeti cats can weigh between 10-15 pounds and females weigh usually between 8-12 pounds.
The Serengeti cat should appear as a graceful, statuesque, squarely built cat in gleaming physical condition, strong and muscular. It is a large boned breed and most cats have distinguishing features of a clear yellowy gold coat with a widely spaced random black spotted pattern, very long legs and a long neck, and huge round-tipped ears held very upright on top of the head that usually have what are known as ‘ocelli’ on the backs, which are central light bands bordered by a darker colour giving an eye-like effect. Less common in the Serengeti is a grey coat with black spots, bright silver with black spots or even a solid black with ghost tracings of spots showing, but whatever the colour, the short coat is always quite dense with a soft feel to it. The large round eyes are normally amber to gold, although hazel to light green is acceptable under the TICA standard. Because of the bone conformation, the Serengeti gives the impression of sitting in a very upright position, and its size it resembles that of a large Oriental Shorthair rather than a Bengal, with males weighing between 10-15lb, and females slightly less.
This is a confident and friendly breed, which should get on well with other family pets if introduced carefully. They are very active, loving to climb and play with a variety of toys as well as rushing about at top speed and jumping on and off things in their way. Despite the high level of activity, the Serengeti cat is a very people-orientated breed that loves almost constant interaction with their human family, often choosing to follow their chosen favourite around the home. Although they are fairly vocal and love to chat with their owners, their voices are not quite as loud or strident as their Oriental forebears. They are usually happy to adapt to being indoor cats, as they tend to connect with people rather than the environment, although as they are such a large active breed, they need a reasonable amount of space to move around in.
The Serengeti is generally a very healthy breed of cat with no breed-specific health problems detected so far, and should live well into their mid teens. Kittens should always be purchased from a reputable breeder, and in common with other cats, they need annual vaccination boosters against the common feline ailments of flu and enteritis, as well as against Feline Leukaemia if they go outdoors. However, if they are allowed out it should be remembered that the Bengal in their breeding has strong hunting instincts, and wildlife trophies may well be brought home for their owners to admire.
The coat of the Savannah is short and sleek and they will need only the minimum amount of grooming to remove any loose hairs, although this time will be a bonus as they are a breed that loves human contact. They will eat most good quality brands of cat food, and most will enjoy treats of cooked meat and even grated cheese. However, cows’ milk will probably give them a stomach upset, and a bowl of water should always be available.