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Home > Cats > Cat Breeds > Serengeti Cat Breed: Pictures, Care Guide, Temperament & Traits

Serengeti Cat Breed: Pictures, Care Guide, Temperament & Traits

Serengeti Cat on a grey background

Have you always had a soft spot in your heart for wild cats and wished you could keep one as a pet? A Serengeti cat is one way you can bring a domestic kitty with a wild look into your life.

Breed Overview


8–10 inches


8–15 pounds


9–15 years


Gold, gray, brown, black, spotted

Suitable for:

Energetic families with a lot of space to play and explore


Energetic, gentle, playful, outgoing

This beautiful cat breed is a mix between Bengals and Oriental Shorthairs with spotted coats, long legs, and large ears. Their striking appearance is only part of what makes them a sought-after cat breed. Serengetis are known for their high energy levels, loyalty, and agility.

Whether you just want to know more about this breed or are considering adopting one yourself, let us educate you. We’re going to take a deep dive into Sergengetis so you can decide if this beautiful breed is right for you.

Serengeti Cat Characteristics

High-energy cat will need a lot of mental and physical stimulation to stay happy and healthy, while low-energy cats require minimal physical activity. It’s important when choosing a cat to make sure their energy levels match your lifestyle or vice versa.
Easy-to-train cats are more willing and skilled at learning prompts and actions quickly with minimal training. Cats that are harder to train are usually more stubborn and will require a bit more patience and practice.
Some cat breeds are prone to certain genetic health problems, and some more than others. This doesn’t mean that every cat will have these issues, but they have an increased risk, so it’s important to understand and prepare for any additional needs they may require.
Some breeds, due to their size or their breeds' potential genetic health issues, have shorter lifespans than others. Proper exercise, nutrition, and hygiene also play an important role in the lifespan of your pet.
Some cat breeds are more social than others, both towards humans and other animals. More social cats have a tendency to rub up on strangers for scratches, while less social cats shy away and are more cautious, even potentially aggressive. No matter the breed, it’s important to socialize your cat and expose them to lots of different situations.


Serengeti Cat Kittens

Image Credit: Krissi Lundgren, Shutterstock

Serengeti cats are a very rare and difficult-to-find breed. In almost all cases, you will need to go through a breeder to find a Serengeti kitten to adopt, and even finding a reputable breeder can be quite a task.

When you’re in the midst of researching breeders, don’t be afraid to ask them a lot of questions. Reputable breeders will not hesitate to meet with you as many times as it takes for you to determine if a Serengeti is right for you. They should also provide health guarantees, TICA registration paperwork, and proof that the kitten is guaranteed against defects like PK Def (Pyruvate kinase) and PRA (progressive retinal atrophy).

Reputable breeders will not release their kittens until well after they’ve weaned. Most kittens will be ready to leave their mothers by the time they’re 14 weeks old. You mustn’t take the kitten away from its mother too early as they need that time to socialize. Sometimes kittens who are separated prematurely can have behavioral issues when they’re older.

You can always try to find a Serengeti at your local humane society or shelter, and you’ll be saving a cat’s life as well.

Temperament & Intelligence of the Serengeti Cat

Serengeti cat closeup
Image credit: LTim, Shutterstock

Serengetis are known for their open and self-assured temperament. Some can be shy at first, especially if they’re put into a new location or are with unfamiliar people, but the moment they warm up to their new surroundings, they will always want to be by your side. Serengeti cats form very strong bonds with their humans, and you might find it difficult to tear them away from your side.

This breed does not like to be left alone. They need love, affection, and attention at all times. Although they don’t discern between a human family member and other animal housemates, you would do well to ensure your Serengeti doesn’t spend a lot of time without human interaction.

Serengeti cats can be quite vocal at times, a trait they likely stole from their oriental lineage. They will happily chat away with you at any time of day.

Like their Oriental Shorthair ancestors, Serengeti cats have nimble little toes that are adept at opening cupboards and drawers. Don’t be surprised if your kitty eventually finds a way around the childproof locks that you’ll inevitably have to purchase, either.

They are also great at turning on faucets and opening doors. You might need to consider changing some of your home’s door handles and faucet styles to prevent your Serengeti from getting into too much trouble.

This breed is highly intelligent and very driven, so if there’s something they want, they’ll find a way to get it.

Are These Cats Good for Families? 👪

Yes, absolutely. As you already know, Serengeti cats thrive on time spent with their favorite humans. They are very affectionate with their family members, and their playful nature makes them great playmates for your kids.

That said, you should always exercise caution when leaving your pets alone with small children. There should be adult supervision at all times to ensure that neither cat nor child gets injured.

Kids need to learn from a young age how to act in the presence of animals. Pulling their tails, yanking them around, or holding them against their will are all behaviors your Serengeti will not enjoy, so you must be around to be a good role model for your kids.

Does This Breed Get Along with Other Pets?

Yes, Serengetis are capable of getting along with other pets in the household. The key factor to ensuring they get along is to do the introduction slowly and deliberately. New cats should be kept in a separate space of your home for several weeks before you even begin the introduction process.

When you start bringing your Serengeti into the shared spaces of your home, be sure to have an escape route available they can take if they get overwhelmed. Keep all doors open and set up cat trees so they have options for exiting the situation if it becomes too much.

Serengeti kitten sitting
Image By: Krissi Lundgren, Shutterstock


Things to Know When Owning a Serengeti Cat:

Food & Diet Requirements 🐡

While Serengeti cats don’t require a specific diet based solely upon their breed, there are some considerations responsible owners should take into account as they choose the best food and diet for their pets.

You should aim to feed your cat the highest quality diet that your budget allows. Look for foods with real meat as the first few ingredients since all cats are obligate carnivores. They need nutrients that are only present in animal flesh, such as taurine.

Grains often get a bad reputation in the pet food industry as many owners believe their pets are allergic to them. In reality, it is more likely that your pet is allergic to the meat in their food than the grains. Meat allergies are the third most common allergen in cats. You might still opt for a grain-free diet for your Serengeti, but we recommend talking with your vet before doing so.

Many cat owners get stuck on the canned versus dry food debate. Some experts swear that wet foods are healthier, while others maintain the belief that cats can do well on both food types. While it is true that canned foods are higher in moisture which is essential for cats who aren’t drinking enough water, dry food is great for convenience and cost.

You might wish to implement a diet that contains both wet and dry food to get the best of both worlds.

A cat water fountain is a must-have for your Serengeti to help boost their hydration levels. Fountains with flowing water can encourage cats to drink as many refuse to drink out of stagnant bowls of water. Flowing fountains make an inviting bubbling sound that will entice your kitty to drink more often.

Exercise 🐈

This breed is energetic as you might expect with any cat that has even a minute amount of wild cat in their ancestry. They are very athletic and would be happy to spend their days climbing to the highest point in your home.

They are fantastic athletes and need a home that can provide them with activities they need to burn off some energy. You’ll need to invest in several high perches and cat trees and get used to keeping keepsakes and dangerous items far out of reach. If you think the top of your kitchen cupboards is a safe spot, think again. Your Serengeti will figure out a way to get there and then spend a considerable amount of time up there watching you and the other members of your household as you go about your day.

serengeti cat on a woman's back
Image By: LTim, Shutterstock

Training 🧶

Serengeti cats are known for their high intelligence levels and confident personality. You shouldn’t find it too difficult to teach your kitty how to do basic tricks like fetch or simple commands like “come.”

Use a positive reinforcement-based training program to keep your Serengeti interested in participating in your training sessions. Offer him treats like fresh meat or commercial cat treats as a reward for a job well done.

Some Serengeti owners have great success with clicker training their cats.

Grooming ✂️

Serengeti cats require very little help from their owners when it comes to grooming. Their coat is ultrashort and sleek, so we recommend brushing them at least once a week to remove any loose hairs. This will help cut down on shedding while also reducing your Serengeti cats’ risk of hairballs.

In addition to their weekly brushings, you should also trim their nails, clean their ears, and brush their teeth. These grooming tasks can be done on an as-needed basis.

a serengeti cat lying by the window
Image By: LTim, Shutterstock

Health and Conditions 🏥

Serengeti cats are relatively healthy and aren’t at risk of any particular health conditions due solely to their Serengeti breed. It might be worth looking at the typical health issues of the breeds that the Serengeti was born from—the Oriental Shorthair and Bengals.

According to Embrace Pet Insurance, Bengals have hereditary issues that could be a cause for concern if they were not acquired from reputable breeders. Conditions like cataracts, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, and progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) are possible. Responsible breeders will take steps to prevent these genetic issues from forming and identifying them before adoption, however.

According to the Pet Health Network, Oriental Shorthairs can be prone to conditions like bladder stones, mast cell cancer, periodontal disease, and liver amyloidosis.

Remember, however, that the above-mentioned conditions are more commonly found in the Serengeti lineage and aren’t necessarily issues that you will run into. It’s also important to note that when you buy from a reputable breeder, they will provide proof of veterinary health checks and screenings as well as a health guarantee.

Minor Conditions
Serious Conditions

Male vs Female

As with most cat breeds, the main difference between a male and female Serengeti is size.

Males will be slightly larger and heavier and can weigh up to 15 pounds. Females, on the other hand, will generally be smaller and weigh between 8 to 12 pounds.

Male cats generally have more rounded faces and wider cheeks due to the testosterone in their bodies. Wild cats with large cheeks denote a certain physical fitness that helps them survive in the wild.

Male cats may be more likely to urine mark to mark their territory. Unneutered males are much more likely to display this behavior because of their high testosterone levels. Most instances of urine marking will be reduced by getting your cat neutered.


3 Little-Known Facts About the Serengeti Cat

1. Serengeti cats do not hail from Africa.

Despite its name, Serengeti cats do not originate from Africa. This breed was actually created in California by a conservation biologist named Karen Sausman in the 1990s, whose ultimate goal was to create a breed that looked similar to a wild serval without using actual servals during breeding.

2. Serengetis are sometimes known as “Velcro Cats”.

Don’t let their wild look fool you. Serengetis are a highly sociable and loyal breed who thrive while in the company of others. They love their humans so much that the breed earned the nickname “Velcro Cats” because of how much they love to be by their people’s side.

3. Some Serengetis have melanistic markings.

Melanism is a genetic trait seen often in wild cats and simply refers to a black coat color. Many species in the Felidae family have melanistic coats, such as black-coated leopards. Despite their coats being black, you are still able to see their spots in the right lighting. The same can happen with Serengeti cats. They can grow up to have “ghost spots” or stripes that are most commonly seen in animals like black jaguars.


Final Thoughts

The Serengeti cat breed is truly visually stunning. Their silky coats and beautiful markings make them highly covetable by cat lovers everywhere. But this breed has more to offer its owners than just a pretty face. The Serengeti is a personable, loyal, athletic, and playful breed that can bring a lot of joy into its owners’ life.

If you’re considering adopting a Serengeti, you must be willing to spend time with them. A lot of time. They’re also known as Velcro Cats, remember? Your Serengeti will want to be by your side every minute or every day if it is possible.

You also must be willing to make your house fun and safe for their antics. Your cat can’t decipher between precious keepsakes and toys so it’s best to keep your prized possessions far out of reach. Make sure you have plenty of cat-safe perches for your Serengeti to scale and climb upon.

If you’re willing to make some sacrifices for your new kitty, a Serengeti might be the perfect breed for you!

Featured Image Credit: LTim, Shutterstock

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