The Serengeti cat is a breed of domestic cat, first developed by crossing a Bengal cat and an Oriental Shorthair. Recognized and registered by The International Cat Association (TICA), no other first generation crosses can be registered as Serengeti. From the Bengal x Oriental cross came the first foundation Serengeti. Breeders then worked with the cat to produce a cat that resembles the breed profile set by TICA. Created by Karen Sausman of Kingsmark Cattery in California in 1994, the breed is still in the development stages, but the ultimate aim is to produce a cat that looks similar to a serval, without using any recent wild cat blood. (Bengal cats originate from hybridization of leopard cats and domestic cats. Most Bengal cats used in Serengeti breeding programs are many generations removed from these origins and possess few genetic contributions of the wild forbear except alleles affecting coat color.) Serengeti cats are spotted cats, with long legs and very large ears. Males are generally slightly larger and heavier than females and can weigh up to 15 lbs; females generally weigh between 8 and 12 lbs. Because the Bengal stock is a hybrid cat, the Serengeti is also classified as a hybrid.
They are recognized by TICA in tabby, ebony silver, ebony smoke and solid black. A group of breeders in the UK are currently working towards getting TICA to also recognise the snow spotted (aka lynx-point) variety.
The tabby is known as the brown-spotted in the UK. However spots can be black or dark brown on a tan, light beige or gold background. The silver has black spots on a silver background. Ghost spotting can sometimes be seen on the solid black version.