By Charlotte Nisbet
A family with two young children have become the first in the country to house a dangerous serval wildcat.
Kelly, 28, and Seb Jones, 29, welcomed, Anubis, a dangerous Serval cat, at 11 weeks old and despite now being nine months old and 3ft tall, he is set to double in size within the next year.
The couple from Oldham, Manchester, live with their children, Sienna, four, and Brandon, 10, and despite Anubis being a verified as a dangerous pet, he often sleeps on their beds at night.
Kelly claims that despite being a wild animal with fangs as long as two inches, that he loves nothing more than snuggling up with the family at night.
The family have built Anubis his own secured outdoor area and have set up CCTV to ensure he’s closely watched at all times.
Seb and Kelly are allowed to take Anubis into public areas but it is required from their local council – in their dangerous animal licence – that he is kept on his lead at all times.
The family, who also own a small crocodile known as a Cuvier’s Dwarf Caiman and a hairless, Sphynx cat, are hoping to breed Anubis in the near future.
Kelly, who works in a bank, said: “Seb has always had exotic animals as pets so it was no surprise he wanted a Serval cat.
“After finding someone in Peterborough who was expecting their first litter of Serval cats, we bought Anubis.
“He has settled into family life really well since May and despite him being classed as a dangerous animal we let him sleep on our beds.
“Anubis is really chilled out on the evenings and during the day he has his own space in the pen we’ve built him outside.
“I spend around £20 each week on mice, rabbits and chicks, Anubis will eat the bones and everything.
“He has already doubled in size but he’s set to grow twice the size again within the next year.
“Anubis is around 3ft tall and 3ft long but he will be huge once he has stopped actually growing.
“Considering he has been hand reared we’ve all been really surprised by how wild he actually is.
“We have to ensure our garden is secure and that if he’s indoors that no doors are left open as he is very good at trying to escape.
“The kids aren’t fazed by him at all, they are used to us bringing home strange animals.”
Kelly and Seb struggled to find a breeder of Serval cats as they are extremely rare pets to have in the UK – so much so that the couple haven’t found another family who house one.
She added: “I haven’t spoken to anyone else in the UK who also has the same cat as us.
“A lot of people have Savannah cats which are a mix between domestic and Serval cats.
“Savannah cats aren’t as dangerous as Anubis though as he would attack if he felt under threat, he has huge fangs and claws that would cause some serious damage.
“At home I’m his favourite but he has scratched me in the past but normally if he’s in a mad mood he will just want to be on his own and go in his enclosure.
“He’ll hiss at us for a number of reasons but most of the time it’s just because he’s hungry.
“He has a huge appetite and we tend to feed him little and often every few hours.”
Anubis has his own Instagram page and has racked up thousands of followers who are intrigued by his life here in the UK.
Kelly said: “We receive messages from people all over the world every day.
“He’s very popular and people do get confused and think we have a leopard living in our house.
“We love sharing his life online, the general reaction when people spot Anubis in the car or via his social media account, King Anubis, is shock.
“He is already a huge cat at nine months old and he’s only going to get bigger.
“I would recommend that anyone thinking of getting Serval cat that they do their research first as they need a lot of care.”
Seb and Kelly have had to take out public liability insurance for Anubis in the event of an incident.
Kelly said: “Anubis has cost us a lot of money but he’s definitely worth it, Seb absolutely loves him.
“I don’t think he’d ever attack anyone unless he felt cornered but if he did ever escape, at least we are covered by the insurance.
“Similar to how you’d treat a dog, we never leave Anubis in a room with the kids unless me or Seb were present.
“On the evenings he’s like a different cat and just wants to curl up next to us and sleep.”
The price of a Serval cat ranges from £750 to £12,000 depending on the sex and generation.