The pictures show the appearance better than words. Some obvious things stand out:

  • The wildcat species has very long legs and large ears. Both these physical attributes are in tune with the cat’s survival in the wild. As mentioned the ears pick up sound very effectively and locate the prey accurately and the legs provide massive leverage to jump high and down onto prey killing it.
  • The ground color varies from tan to orange. The spots are dark brown to black. The tail has several rings. The serval is a graceful cat.
Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles:- Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

Savannah resting on top of a Serval copyright Helmi Flick

The Law

The laws governing the keeping of a wild animal obviously varies from country to country and in the US from State to State. An absolute must is to study the situation carefully before embarking on adopting this magnificent cat. At 2010, There is a general tightening up of the regulations governing “exotic animals” in the USA and some states prohibit it (e.g. Massachusetts). These regulations affect wild cats and wild cat hybrids. People who keep high fillial wildcat hybrids should, I feel, be particularly aware of the legislation or legislation that might be in the pipeline (in the form of a bill).

It would seem impossible to contemplate “owning” a wild but tamed cat without having a lot of space and the financial means to build a large and well equipped enclosure. There will be laws governing everything to do with this cat as wild animals are potentially dangerous to humans. For example, there will probably or possibly be laws governing the materials used in an enclosure and the design of the enclosure. Want to own a Serval in New York State or city? This page might help: Adopting a Serval Cat in New York State.

You might like to read this page too which touches more on legalities: Serval cats [link].

The Moral Issues


Above: ‘Serena’ – a captive serval. No judgment or comment provided, but here are some thoughts:

  • is it right to keep a wild animal in an enclosure all its life?
  • whose interest are you thinking of when you think about adopting this or any wild cat, yours or the cats?
  • can you guarantee to comply with the law?
  • how will neighbors react?
  • can you guarantee to protect your serval (you owe this cat full protection for life once adopted)?
  • can you meet the demands? On 27th Jan. 2008 there was story on the news that there was a serval running around West Seattle. Another serval had been found 2 weeks earlier doing the same thing. Obviously some people are unable to meet the demands to the detriment of the cat. Serval Escapes.

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