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Our History

Overview

Established by hybrid pioneers Dale Hummel, retired Professor of Animal Science, and his family in 1988 when the Bengal breed was still in its infancy, Select Exotics 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. Select Exotics holds the distinction of being the longest standing, one owner/breeder of the elegant, ever-popular Savannah cat.

Background

Dale’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 Select Exotics apart. They have been invaluable to Select Exotics. For instance, when researching the possibility for the yet unknown Savannah breed in 1994, Dale is tremendously encouraged by Dr. Favero, a fellow graduate student pursuing his PhD in reproductive physiology. Further encouraged by visits with leading geneticists at UC Davis and Cornell, Dale’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, Select Exotics achieves success! And not only is Select Exotics successful, breeder Joyce Scrouf’s program for a Serval/domestic cross bears fruit as well. Reassured by Joyce’s accomplishment, Select Exotics realizes their creation of a Serval hybrid isn’t a once in a lifetime fluke. The Savannah is, indeed, feasible and re-creatable. Being the longest standing, single owner cattery/breeder of Savannahs, Select Exotics 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, Select Exotics 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 not water available. In addition, after a couple 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, Select Exotics 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.

Only the Best

Select Exotics constantly endeavors to produce the best in wild-looking, healthy cats that are loaded with personality. As Select Exotics’ program evolves, consultations with leading geneticists and veterinarians will continue. This insures everything possible is done to produce the quality clients have come to know and expect.

The Hummel Family

Both Dale and Holly hold college degrees. Both have hands-on knowledge and diverse animal backgrounds since childhood. Experience, plus their deep, sincere love and respect for their cats, have richly contributed to Select Exotics’ success in exotic feline breeding.

Dale and Holly have also been blessed with four wonderful children. Dylan, Tara, Chase and Kadie all help to socialize Select Exotics’ kittens, roles they most certainly enjoy. To learn more about the Hummel family, go to the Our Family page.