Exotic cats bred as pets

Thursday, October 2nd 2008, 5:31 pm
By: News 9

By Jennifer Pierce, NEWS 9

PONCA CITY, Okla. -- As a child, many imagined owning an exotic animal as a pet, but left that fantasy behind at the zoo.

But a Ponca City couple is living that life and they're making it possible for cat lovers all over the world.

The couple claims to have bred the perfect cat. It's a mix of wild and domesticated. And if it sounds dangerous, the couple says it's only wild in appearance.

What the cats all have in common is a rare cat; an A1 Savannah. The piercing eyes, stripes and spots come from the African survival and the playful nature comes from the cat next-door. The exotic kitties were born 35 years ago on a farm in Ponca City. The founder of the breed sold the business to Martin and Kathrin Stucki.

"It's the first time ever possible to have a cat with a wild appearance, that has a domesticated personality," Kathrin said.

A full grown Savannah is the size of a small dog, it even walks on a leash and if it's trained it will play fetch.

"It's very easy to train them to play fetch," Kathrin said. "They bring toys back faster than my dog."

The key to making the Savannah a pet is socialization. From the time they're born the cats are around people, even the Stucki's young children. But if you're looking to add some exotic to your life, you can expect to pay.

"The range is anywhere between $950 to $9,000, and then we have a very unique, supreme line we call A1 Supreme, they are anywhere between $12,000 and $18,000," Martin said.

The couple's profit goes to keeping the breed alive.

"It's not a job or a hobby for us, it's our life, it's all we do," Kathrin said.

They said the best part is seeing a happy customer walk away with a one-of-a kind cat.

Of course a Savannah cat is not for everyone. The Stucki's said the best owner is someone who can respect the breed and devote time to training it.

The Stucki's also take-in rescued exotic cats. The cats are used in hands-on programs for people with disabilities.

Learn more about the A1 Savannah Cats.