by Sue Threapleton
I first saw a photograph of a Serengeti cat, Kingsmark Safii, a few years ago, and instantly fell in love! I breed Ocicats and Egyptian Maus, both breeds being beautiful spotted cats with lovely temperaments, but still the Serengeti cat had that extra “something” – the extremes of type, the look of the wild hunting cats of the African plains, and I was hooked.
I started my search for a foundation cat, and found a lovely boy down in Cornwall. I then found Jackie Morris, of Mandingo Serengeti, who had been breeding the Serengeti cat since 2003, and had some lovely looking cats, and reserved a very pretty girl. Jackie is now my very good friend and we work closely together, developing the breed, gradually working towards the standard, and showing our cats at the TICA shows now becoming popular in the UK.
Last year I decided to bring a girl over from Karen, and was overjoyed when she offered me Kingsmark Bakara, a lovely silver Serengeti cat, and the daughter of Safii, the girl I had originally fallen for!! I could not believe I was going to share my home with such a beautiful Serengeti cat – and when Karen offered to mate her up before she left America it was a dream come true. The next few weeks were a time of hope and, as her due date approached, I had my fingers permanently crossed for a safe delivery. As I sat spellbound and watched five beautiful Serengeti kittens enter the world, it really was one of the best days of my life! They are CON Serengeti, the first such Serengeti cats in the UK, and are a huge step forward in the development of the Serengeti cat in this country.
Recently I have also had a litter from my foundation cats, chosen so carefully two years ago, and one of their daughters is everything I hoped for. Working with such a new breed is immensely satisfying, particularly as there are so few breeders, not only in this country, but also throughout the world. The chance to actually make a difference in the development of the Serengeti cat is an honour, and I am proud to be one of the founder members of The International Serengeti Cat Club (www.tiscc.org ).
So what is it like living with a Serengeti cat? They are very affectionate, purring loudly whenever they get attention. Their Oriental side comes to the fore when nothing much is happening – they will patiently lay and watch the world go by, preferably near to a source of heat ! Get out the toys and the Bengal appears – fast, agile, determined, they will chase a moving toy, especially one made of fur or feathers, for hours. They soon learn to retrieve, and will also happily walk on a harness and lead if it means they can accompany you outside. They are as happy living alone with one special person, as they are as part of a large family – they adapt to their surroundings and enjoy life to the full.
The Serengeti cat is a very special new breed, worthy of its recognition by TICA. You can find more information and photographs on my Aalspotz website.