Servals should be banned as pets in the ENTIRE United States no exceptions

Yes, I have strong views about owning servals as pets. I have good reasons: too many escaped servals. There is one in the news today on The Washington Times website. A serval escaped from their owner’s home about a month ago from an Illinois apartment. The Macon County Animal Control and Care Center posted on Facebook last Saturday that the serval had been found and brought in. So the serval was free from their captive environment for a month. They were lucky to survive.

As it happens, it’s against an ordinance which applies to the City of Decatur, to own a serval and therefore the cat will not be returned to their owner. The cat was captured in a live trap laid by a private landowner. Like I say the cat was lucky to survive. There are many reported and unreported examples of escaped servals.

In South Carolina, North Carolina, West Virginia, Alabama, Nevada, Wisconsin, and Idaho, you can own a serval legally without a license. In other states they are illegal unless you have a license and in other states, they are illegal as ‘pets’ period. I understand that it is illegal to own a serval in Alaska, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Utah, and Virginia. This is just a flavour of the variations in treatment.

RELATED: Are servals legal in Washington state?

A range of opinions depending in the state’s administration, which is disturbing as servals should never be kept inside a person’s home as it is an entirely unsuitable environment for this large wild cat species.

Macho men and exotic large pets
Macho men and exotic large pets. For me: idiotic. I bet he abandoned athe serval at some time. Photo: Caters Photo Agency.
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Escaping servals

In the US, there are many instances of servals escaping homes, sometimes apartments. They want to escape all the time. The same by the way goes for another popular medium-sized wild cat pet the caracal. And there are many instances of servals being abandoned to anyone who’ll take them; usually a breeder or a wild cat rescue center of some sort. The owners realise that the serval is entirely unsuitable as a pet and end up desperate to give them up.

RELATED: Are servals legal in PA?

What happens when a serval escapes a home?

Here is a list:

  • the cat is terrified but relieved to be free
  • the neighbours are terrified and call the police
  • the police waste their time finding and capturing the cat
  • Or the driver of a vehicle runs into the serval and is traumatized
  • a rescue center has to accomodate the cat
  • the cat spends their remaining days at a real zoo if they are lucky but real zoos are no where near as good as being in the wild enjoying 20 square kilometers of space.

Why it is cruel on the serval

There are many reasons why it is cruel to the cat to keep a serval inside a home, captive as if you are running a zoo. Firstly and importantly it is because in the wild the serval requires up 32 square kilometers of space as their home range (Natal). In Africa, in general, a male servals home range might be in the order of 12 square kilometers. The serval instinctively needs many square kilometers of space. This is an inherited characteristic. It is in their DNA. You can’t change it

Keeping them in a house is like a human being in a prison cell. My opinion is that it is the same kind of feeling. Humans can process being captive in a prison because they are criminals. They are being punished. But servals don’t understand understand. They are being emotionally tortured in my opinion.

The average amount of space in an American home is around 2,000 square feet. Oh, I forgot to add that it is more or less only in the USA where people like to keep servals as pets. And the Middle East where servals and cheetahs are status symbol pets.

Two thousand square feet is 0.0001858061 square kilometers. The male servals home range in Natal is 173,000 times larger!! The difference is almost unimaginable and people who want to own a serval think they can keep their cat happy under those conditions. It is impossible which is why so many servals eventually escape their captors and end up in suburbia where they terrify the neighbours and are sometimes shot by police of killed by road traffic.

Food and claws and teeth

It isn’t just the lack of space. Often owners don’t know what to feed servals. It has to be a properly prepared raw diet. They are often scared of the claws and teeth and they should be because these weapons put the claws and teeth of domestic cats in the shade. Sometimes they declaw their servals which is to pile on the cruelty. If they escape declawed they can’t even defend themselves and their climbing ability will be severely comprised. More cruelty.

Here is a video I made of an abandoned and declawed female serval at A1 Savannahs

Myopic administrators

The administrators of those states that allow their citizens to keep servals as pets are myopic. They lack a proper understanding of what they are doing. Or they are insensitive to the sentience of animals.

My wish is that there by a nationwide ban on servals as pets in homes.

Note: America’s Big Cat Public Safety Act which is a federal statute covers the big cats namely, lions, tigers, jaguars, leopard, snow leopard, clouded leopard (not really a big cat) and the cheetah and puma. It bans these cats as pets. As you can see the serval is not included. Therefore we look to state law for the answer on ownership.

Below are some pages on serval escapes to stress the point.

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