Are Sergeant Cats Good Pets?

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Servals are feral cats native to sub-Saharan Africa, but are they good pets? Known for their large ears, narrow body, and distinctive spotted coat, they are attractive to cat lovers. At least 19 known subspecies currently live in at least 35 African countries. They are listed as a species of least concern by the IUCN, but face threats from habitat loss, poaching and human encroachment. Unfortunately, servo cats' penchant for killing poultry often puts them at odds with humans, who retaliate by killing them.

Angry farmers aren't the only ones threatening feral cats; they're also being hunted by poachers for the illegal wildlife trade. Their fur, teeth and claws fetch high prices on the black market. Poachers also illegally capture wild servant cats and sell them to breeders for the exotic pet trade.

Here, we'll take a closer look at why servo cats don't make good pets. We'll then discuss the exact reasons why these wild animals should not be kept in your home. We will examine the ethics of purchasing an exotic servant cat as a pet, as well as the practicalities of keeping one in a domestic setting. Next, we'll look at the legality of owning a servant cat pet. Finally, we'll explore some of the best alternatives to buying exotic animals in the same category as pets.

Can you keep a servo cat as a pet?

Pet owners seek out servo cats for their unique looks and natural athleticism—and their kittens are adorable, too. They have long been known as the "designer cats" of the exotic pet industry. However, as beautiful as they look, servant cat pets are not necessarily a good idea.

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Servants are wild animals and should not be kept as house pets . Their appeal is understandable; they are gorgeous animals. But while many people may equate them to house cats, servants are a very different animal, and wildlife sanctuaries around the world agree: servants don't belong in the family.

But just because you shouldn't have a pet servant cat doesn't mean you can't buy one. Several states in the United States currently allow people to buy and keep servants. Several other states allow ownership of licenses, while in most states ownership is completely illegal. Additionally, owning a servant cat is illegal in many provinces in Canada.

3 Reasons Servo Cats Don’t Make Good Pets

Servo cats may be cute, but that doesn't mean they make good pets. They are not domestic cats, they have been domesticated for thousands of years and thrive in residential environments. In contrast, servant cats are wild animals that can only thrive in wild environments. This also applies to servo cat/domestic cat hybrids such as savannah cats.

Let's take a look at the three most important reasons not to buy a servo cat.

fastest cat servo
Servant cats are not good pets

©alberto clemares exposito/

1. Illegal wildlife trade

Unfortunately, no civet is spared no matter the reputation of the breeder. To support the exotic pet trade, poachers illegally capture wild animals and sell them to breeders. It is illegal to capture servant cats from the wild like this. The illegal nature of these captures feeds a growing demand for all black market wildlife and wildlife parts such as ivory or tiger skins.

This means that buying a servant cat (or any other exotic pet for that matter) supports the illegal wildlife trade, no matter how adorable the servant is or how highly regarded the breeder is. It's the same illegal trade that poach and kill rare and endangered animals, such as other big cats, primates, and ivory-carrying creatures like rhinos and elephants. The black market exotic pet trade is directly contributing to the loss of animal diversity on our planet.

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2. Wild animals are not pets

Servant cats are not good pets; they require large, fully enclosed outdoor spaces, and a specific diet based on raw meat. Even if they've been housed since weaning, they'll probably mark everything with urine on a regular basis. Not only are servo cats difficult to train at home, they are also very intelligent and athletic. If their hunting instincts are not met, they may develop behavioral problems.

When considering whether to purchase a servant cat, it is important to remember that no wild animal is worth living in a home. In the wild, servants roam the vast expanse of the African savannah, a far cry from sitting on a sofa. Unlike domestic cats, servant cats are not domesticated; they rarely spend long in private homes. Frustrated owners often release them "into the wild." By then, they've either starved, died accidentally, or animal control picks them up and takes them to a big cat sanctuary.

3. Legality

Are Serval Cats Good Pets - Serval Cat
Keeping servant cats is illegal in many places; many conservation groups are currently pushing for a federal ownership ban

© Benny Marty/

In addition to the ethical issues of buying a service cat as a pet, there are also legal issues. It is illegal to own servants in most states in the United States and several provinces in Canada. There are some states in the US that allow ownership with a license, and only a few that allow outright ownership of servant cats.

Various wildlife conservation groups and big cat rescue groups are currently pushing for a federal ban on owning servant cats in the United States. This is largely because the vast majority of servants have found their way (hopefully) to big cat sanctuaries after their masters discovered the worrisome nature of trying to keep wild animals as pets.

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Alternative: Adopt a Bengal

Still wanting a cute tabby cat in your home, but don't want to contribute to the illegal wildlife trade and all that comes with it? If you want to spend your money on a designer cat with exotic spots, the Bengal is the one for you.

Bengal tigers are not wild animals; they are domestic cats with a small amount of Asian leopard cat DNA. This DNA (introduced in the 1950s and 1960s) gives Bengals their distinctive spotted pattern; they look like baby leopards. The best part? By purchasing a Bengal tiger, you are not contributing to the poaching of endangered animals. Plus, they're no different than any other domestic cat; they belong in the home as pets, not in the wild.


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about the author

Brandi Allred

Brandi is a professional writer by day and a fiction writer by night. Her nonfiction work focuses on animals, nature, and conservation. She has degrees in English and Anthropology and writes horror, science fiction and fantasy stories in her spare time.

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