Serval cats make great pets for the avid exotic cat lover. Southern Savannah's is a Serval sanctuary owned and operated by the Whitaker family and is located in Southern Alabama on a beautiful 30 acre farm outside the city limits. It is a safe and loving haven for re homed and rescued Servals. The Whitaker's love for exotic animals led them to discover a need for a sanctuary for Serval cats. There are several sanctuaries located thoughout the US that house all kinds of exotic cats, but this sanctuary is for Servals only. Mechel Whitaker says," We are hoping to raise enough money to enlarge our facility in order to accommodate other small breeds of exotic cats". On occasion people buy Servals as pets and for one reason or another they may find that they are not able to keep them anymore. There are several reasons why this may happen. One reason is the cost of caring for a Serval cat. It is very expensive and if, for example, a owner loses his job or gets injured in some way, it could make it impossible to continue caring for the Serval in the way it needs to be cared for. Another reason is if the State the Serval cat is in decides to change the exotic animal law and makes it illegal to keep the Serval, the owner is faced with a heart breaking decision that has to be made. This is a shame because the bond that a Serval forms with their owner is very intense and the separation is extremely upsetting to them. Re homing is a hard thing and it takes a special person with a lot of Serval knowledge and patients to be able help the sad, and emotionally upset serval adjust to his/her new environment. Not only do you have to understand how to supply a well rounded nutritional diet plan and health care program for these cats, you also have to understand how to read their temperament, body language, and vocal sounds. Mechel has had over 12 years experience with exotic cats and has studied them and researched them endlessly. There is not a whole lot of information on line about re homing exotic cats, so maybe this website will help anyone attempting to do so. Mechel has already accepted 3 adult servals and one 4 week on kitten as re homes and she says the experience has helped her learn a lot about the character and habits of servals. Mechel says, "A serval can be a lap cat to their owner but when they are re homed they become a wild animal again. In order to change their behavior you have to spend a lot of time around them. The main thing you have to understand is that you have to earn their trust and this may take months, but just stay patient, calm and non-threatening toward your serval and soon they will start to calm down. Never raise your voice, hit them, spray them or throw something at them. Let them come to you on their own terms and don't make them do anything against their own will, except in the case of an emergency. Sometimes the Servals are so upset that they may refuse to eat. You just have to keep offering it to them and talk to them sweetly. The hunger will overtake the fear eventually. When a serval is re homed they seem wild again only because they are scared and they are trying to protect themselves from strangers and strange surroundings. Servals are very smart and they have survived on this earth for thousands of years, so the fact that they are very skittish and will run from danger is really a good thing. So it is important to understand that if you run after or chase a Serval, they will think you are trying to hurt them. So they run from you thinking you are danger. You will have better success trying to get the Serval to come to you instead of you trying to catch him/her. As kittens servals are more social to stranger but as they get older they may become shy of strangers. That's why if you decide to own a Serval, make sure to get one at a young age, because they usually bond with their human by the time they are 8 weeks old. After they have bonded with their humans they may never welcome strangers again. When you have visitors come over, the Serval may go hide and not come out until after they are sure the visitors have left. Do not try to force your Serval out in the open for display. This will frighten your Serval and may do harm emotionally or physically. You have to gain their trust and soon they will come to you on their own terms. Never try to force yourself on one. It may take months but soon enough they will start to come around. I have one female Serval that I got when she was almost 2 years old. She surprised me by re bonding with me within a few weeks. So their are special cases like this. She is very loving and affectionate, even more than a domestic cat would be if re homed. I have another 3 year old male that came to me after being unsuccessfully re homed 3 different times. He was a lot to handle at first and was 48 pounds of pure piss and vinegar. I was the only one brave enough to enter the cage with him. I would sit for hours with my laptop or book in his cage for weeks and weeks. It took 9 weeks before he decided he would sit in the chair beside me and now after 3 more years he will come to me on his own terms and allow me to pet him. But you have to wait for him to decide if he wants your company. If not I leave him alone. One thing I do that he can't resist is to take a nice fluffy blanket into the pen and spread it out on the ground, sit down and 90 percent of the time he will come lay down beside me and put his head in my lap. I have a few more successful re homing stories to tell you later and I hope to have more in the future." If you have a Serval that needs to be rehomed or know of some one that needs help, please contact Mechel at 334-449-0168 anytime. Leave a message if their is no answer, she maybe outside playing with her Servals!
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