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The Serengeti Cat is a relatively new breed of exotic cat at 2008. There is an interest in wild cats and the keeping of them. This is seen in the popularity of keeping the serval (a tame wild cat) and other exotic hybrid cats cats such as the Safari Cat and Savannah.

Development of this breed began in 1994 almost 20 years after the beginning of the development of the Bengal Cat by Jean Sudgen Mills.

The founder of this breed is Karen Sausman and she has kindly allowed me to use her own photographs to illustrate this article. She has been in the breeding business for 40 years and breeds a lot more than cats. Karen Sausman has been showing dogs (whippets and Italian Greyhounds) since the ’60s and also Fox Terriers. Karen also breeds Andalusian horses and Bengal cats. She has a lot of experience in breeding animals. Her website indicates to me that she takes a concerned and professional approach.

Her business, Kingsmark Cattery, is located near Mountain Center, California, which is about 20 miles as the crow flies from Palm Springs (see map). It looks a fairly remote and open spot judging from Google maps. The cattery is TICA and CFA registered.

Karen wanted to create a breed of domestic cat that looked, in part, like the Serval. The Savannah looks somewhat like the serval because it is a hybrid cross between the Serval and a domestic cat.

However, Karen makes it clear that, unlike the Savannah, there is no wild blood (e.g. serval blood) in the Serengeti Cat. Karen emphasizes this point. This cat is a cross between the Bengal and the Oriental Shorthair.

I am guessing here, but I suspect that Karen’s belief that wild animals should not be kept as pets is carried forward into the firm conviction that the serval should not be one of the parents of the Serengeti Cat.

Although in breeding from a Bengal (a 4th generation Bengal has about 12% wild blood) there will be some wild blood in the Serengeti on the face of it.

I personally agree that wild animals should not be kept as pets.


The Serengeti Cat is tall and elegant, a domestic and smaller version of the African serval almost. The colors are the same as for the Bengal.

This cat has inherited genes from a wide range of domestic and wild cats. Apparently the American Serengeti has larger ears than the UK Serengeti as the foundation Orientals have larger ears.

Breeding – Oriental Shorthair x Bengal

Karen is keen to make clear that the ideal type of Oriental Shorthair has these characteristics:

  • The ears should be placed more to the top of the head. The picture of the Oriental Shorthairs shows ears that are not placed sufficiently at the top. The ears should be extremely large.
  • The body of the breeding Oriental should be heavy bodied (some are not – see picture).
  • The preference is for rounder eyes.
  • The coat preference is for non-dilute spotted tabby so the Oriental selected should have ancestors with that look of coat.

These two photographs of an Oriental Shorthair show some of the characteristics that are looked upon favorably by breeders of this cat. The positioning of the cats’ ears is notably different between these two Oriental Shorthair cats. The ears in of the cat opposite are probably still not enough on top of the head.

The Orientals used for foundation stock should have “extremely large ears”.

The other parent of this breed is the Bengal. I should think that you are all aware of the Bengal cat’s appearance as it is a well known breed, so I won’t reproduce a picture here; but please click on the link to see Bengal cat pictures.

The ideal Bengal characteristics would be those cats with:

  • larger ears than ideal and placed high on head
  • large round eyes
  • “distinct spotted pattern” in preference to bars. Rosettes (e.g. paw or arrowhead prints) are not ideal for this breeding program
  • no marbled coats in the line of Bengal selected

I have focused more than usual on the breeding of the Serengeti cat as this is a relatively new breed. Karen has an excellent website, Kingsmark Farms, at which you can go into more detail.

Update: Lesley Dart of Neverneverland Serengeti Cats has made a submission to the forum. Please see here article.

She is the first to import a Serengeti cat from the USA and from the founder, Karen Sausman.

I have also received a very nice submission called “The Serengeti cat” from Sue Threapleton who runs the Aalspotz cattery with her husband Paul.


  • Oriental Kittens
  • Breeders sites

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Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 71-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in a many jobs including professional photography. I have a girlfriend, Michelle. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare.

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