Established by hybrid pioneers Petr Timchenko, retired Professor of Animal Science, and his family in 1988 when the Bengal breed was still in its infancy, Exotic Cattery has grown into a state-of-the-art cattery. Since the early days of existence when they struggled with whether the idea of creating the Savannah was even plausible, they have expanded their horizon by breeding the illusive Safari cat, continuing with a small, but high-quality Bengal program, and creating the Habari and Jambi cat hybrid breeds. Exotic Cattery holds the distinction of being one of the longest-standing, owner/breeder of the elegant, ever-popular Savannah cat.
Petr’s knowledge of animal genetics, nutrition, and health, plus his access to leading vets and academicians in animal research are impressive credentials and assets that set Exotic Cattery apart. They have been invaluable to Exotic Cattery. For instance, when researching the possibility for the yet unknown Savannah breed in 1994, Petr is tremendously encouraged by Dr. Javero, a fellow graduate student pursuing his Ph.D. in reproductive physiology. Further encouraged by visits with leading geneticists, Petr’s plan for mating the large African Serval with the much smaller domestic cat is set into motion.
Success at Last!
Years of work and many disappointments later, Exotic Cattery achieves success! And not only is Exotic Cattery successful, but breeder Joyce Scrouf’s program for a Serval/domestic cross also bears fruit as well. Reassured by Joyce’s accomplishment, Exotic Cattery realizes their creation of a Serval hybrid isn’t a once in a lifetime fluke. The Savannah is, indeed, feasible and re-creatable. Being one of the longest-standing, single owner cattery/breeders of Savannahs, Exotic Cattery feels its extraordinary felines are due to the years of hands-on experience and carefully calculated matings.
Attempts at Retrieving the Safari Cat
In 2002, Exotic Cattery launches a program to retrieve the forgotten Safari cat, a cat more difficult to breed than the Savannah. While the similar size of the Geoffroy’s cat and the domestic affords an easier mating, problems arise due to chromosomal differences. It is rare to have a female recognize her pregnancy as self and carry to term. There also appears to be a sex-linked lethal gene affecting the male kittens, making males extremely rare. In recent years the Safari program has been tabled, due to unforeseen behavioral anomalies within the breed. It was found that the Safari cats are quite inclined to go to the bathroom in water and will often retaliate by going elsewhere around the house if there is no water available. In addition, after a couple of years of age, many of the Safari cats tend to get quite territorial towards visitors into the home and have been known to show aggression towards them in an effort to “protect” their home and family.
Although Bengal pioneers, Exotic Cattery no longer breeds the Bengal cat. In recent years the demand for the Savannah has become so great that all efforts have been focused towards creating the highest quality Savannahs possible alongside Servals and Caracals.
Only the Best
Exotic Cattery constantly endeavors to produce the best in wild-looking, healthy cats that are loaded with personality. As the Exotic Cattery program evolves, consultations with leading geneticists and veterinarians will continue. This ensures everything possible is done to produce the quality clients have come to know and expect.
The Timchenko Family
Petr and Natalia have also been blessed with four wonderful children. Dinkum, Tania, Charles, and Katie all help to socialize Exotic Cattery’s kittens, roles they most certainly enjoy.