Every now and again I am asked why we don't just get an African Serval (especially when people find out they actually cost less than an F1 Savannah). I would be lying if I said I didn't love the idea of sharing my life with a serval, but I have also done my research and understand that there is a whole lot of reality that goes along with it. And responsibility, even more crazy amounts of it than comes with living with three high-energy Savannahs.
There is also a matter of logistics. We have our kittens trained to travel well, it could possibly be done with a serval as well, but there is a chance it would not work. What then? Further, servals are not legal everywhere (hell, Savannahs are not legal everywhere either), including the two states where we spend our time. They are also often unwelcome in campgrounds or parks, and we love to take the feline herd camping.
Tracy Wilson, from the Serval Education Group on Facebook has put together a great starting list of things you need to do or consider before getting a serval and she has given me permission to share the information here. Below is her list and some other information.
DISCUSSION TOPIC of the week for our expert panel: PROPER STEPS TO OBTAIN YOUR FIRST SERVAL. I have listed here some bare minimum first steps to take towards getting your first serval, if our experienced people will elaborate on each step in detail and add anything additional that should be done BEFORE a new person obtains their first serval. I'll edit the steps below if I left something out.
Other points she added are that you also need to check local laws in addition to state and to check with your home owner's insurance to make sure that they allow exotic animals.
I think that her list above is very good, and anyone seeking to bring an animal (ANY animal) into their life needs to be willing to take full responsibility for that creature, as well as its health and happiness. And yes, that means by starting with making sure that it is even legal to have it. Do you really want the heartbreak of having your cat taken from you by the authorities? Imagine how that poor animal would feel were it removed from a loving home and placed in a cage outside in a rescue shelter, separated from the only family it ever knew. What if it turns out to be more than you can handle? What if the serval sprays everywhere (some thing many of them can do, even if they are fixed at a young age). One needs to really assess how the reality of this cat can impact one's life as servals, or even Savannahs, are not for everyone, and yes, you might have to change your lifestyle for your pet.
So yes, I am very content to live happily with my clowder of kittons, and will just instead just continue to follow the photos of people who do share their homes with beautiful servals such as Vader (of Tarkin and Vader).
Savannah Caretaker who is honored to do the job.