About the Savannah Cat
This is as much as an exciting breed of cat to write about, as it is to read about. Prepare yourselves as this will likely be one of the longest posts on our site. The Savannah Cat is a wildly popular choice of domestic house cat.
Given her size, nature and ancestry this feline really is a house-trained wild cat. Much larger than any other cat breeds in the world, lets dive into what makes the Savannah cat an amazing but challenging pet.
Savannah Cat History
The Savannah cat is a hybrid cat. A mix of an African wild Serval and a domesticated cat. One of the reasons people choose to buy or adopt Savannah cats is because of their wild looks but soft hearts. Imagine the issues with trying to own a Serval wild cat!
It all began when a kitten was born on the 7th of April 1986. Named ‘Savannah’ This little kitten was the litter of a Serval wild cat and Savannah. This generation of Savannahs had the size and looks of a wild cat, but possessed the personality of a domesticated cat.
The Serval cats are African wild cats which have been actively involved in their own breeding program since the 1920’s. This is a fully wild native wild cat. The Serval wild cats are much harder to tame and will not often be found as a domestic breed.
Which is why people turned to the Savannah in swarms. Cat breeders Patrick Kelly and Joyce Scroufe were involved in the breeding program since the first kitten was born. There were many breeds involved in the program to find the best partner for the Serval wild cats.
Bengals and Egyptian maus were used as well as Oriental short hairs. Cross breeding is no longer part of the program now the breed is an established and recognized breed of cat.
Savannah Cat Appearance
The Savannah cat looks somewhat like a cheetah. She oozes grandeur, luxury and personality. This certainly isn’t a cat you would expect to see roaming around your neighbourhood. Savannah cats come in various colors.
Black, brown spotted tabby, black and silver spotted tabby and black smoke are some of the colors you may find the Savannah cat in. They can have spots like a cheetah or marbling like a Bengal. They have also been found to come in non-conventional colors but are rarer when they do.
Savannah Cat Eyes
She has wide and bright eyes; which can come in a variety of colors. Her eyes look like there are sitting underneath a caveman’s brow, the corner of her eye flows down into her nose.
The bottom half of the eye sort of resembles the shape of an almond. Her face is very symmetrical.
Savannah cats have a medium sized tail and as you probably know since 2006, she has been in the Guinness book of records for being the tallest every domestic cat.
Savannah Cat Ears
The ears of the Savannah cat are pretty much identical of her ancestor, the African Serval wild cat. Considered the largest ears of any domestic feline, and large in proportion to her head. The Savannahs ears are high on her head.
Her ears are extremely wide with a rounded point on top. The outside bottom of the ear should be in line with her eyes, but maybe higher.
Savannah Cat Head
The head of the Savannah cat should resemble a wedge with rounded edges. Her head should be longer than it is wide. Quite often her head shape from the side should resemble a triangle. Her nose is long and she has a small chin.
Overall the Savannah is a much better choice than trying to keep a wild African serval as pets.
She resembles the African wild cat in many ways, but her temperament is much friendlier and she will stay trained throughout her life.
Savannah Cat Size
The Savannah is a large sized cat and can weigh between 12 – 30 lbs.
They can reach a height of between 14” – 17”
Savannah Cat Personality and characteristics
So, we have established that the Savannah is a remarkably wild looking cat. With ancestors whom are real wild cats. Let us find out some more about what its like to keep one of these cats and their personality traits.
The Savannah cat is an extremely affectionate breed of house cat. They are very much in your business and are extremely curious to know what is going on around them. They are full of energy and are constantly on the get go!
Savannah cat have high energy levels, it is important to give them plenty of stimulation and play time. As you can imagine having pure wild cat blood running through their ancestry, they are in need of a good running space.
Make sure you have plenty of room for them to run around, an enclosed garden area would be perfect as this gives them the freedom to really let loose. You can play fetch with them or even train them to walk on a leash.
Having a ball or their favorite chew toys to hand is a great way to play fetch with them.
More about Savannah cat breeds..
The Savannah breeds of cats are great jumpers and no where will be safe from their curiosity. Buying them a cat tree is a great way to keep them entertained but also to keep them off of your refrigerator and other tall cabinets.
They are agile and nimble but often knock things over, being a larger cat, it is a lot easier for them to knock things over than a conventional sized house cat. They will gnaw and chew cables and will have no problem turning on faucets and having their own water park fun.
These cats really need someone who will be able to devote play time and devotion to their needs. They love puzzles which reward them with treats and any toys or puzzles which require her to think and move more.
She gets along with cat friendly dogs but with smaller pets such as fish, hamsters and birds she may exercise her hunting instincts. It is important to distract her away from things you don’t like her doing and reward her for when she does good.
Savannah cats are known to be fond of water. Don’t be surprised if your showers aren’t your private retreat anymore!
Overall the Savannah cat can make a great house cat, but she does require a lot of attention and will sure make you work for her affection and love.
Savannah Cat Life Span
The Savannah has an average life span of 12 – 20 years
Savannah Cat Health
The Savannah typically does not have any major health issues within their genetics to worry about. Being a relatively young breed there isn’t anything but standard cat health problems to worry about.
It is important to make sure your Savannah gets plenty of exercise, eats well and is properly cleaned.
Savannah cats being bigger than domestics often need toys more suited to their needs. When purchasing cat toys for Savannahs please get durable, big and strong toys. Anything small or with smaller pieces can often get stuck in their throats or internally.
Let your vet know you’re considering getting or have gotten a Savannah as they may need to read up more about the breed so they are ready for your health checks.
It is best to leave Savannah kittens until around four months before bringing them home. Most defects can be tested for and the breeder should be able to tell you about any health issues in the family or the litter.
Please remember Savannahs do not need declawing, their claws are an extension of their fingers and declawing can be extremely painful and results in infections and life long issues.
Don’t forget your cat insurance, for minimal monthly payments your feline friend will be protected for what could be expensive treatments or surgeries.
Savannah Cat Grooming
The Savannah is a pretty simple cat when it comes to grooming, a once weekly brushing will remove dead skin and prevent hairballs. She will love the attention and you will probably find it relaxing!
During shedding season though it may be advisable to undergo a twice grooming to disburse skin oils and remove dead skin.
Remember to visit your vet for regular check-ups and regularly check your cats’ ears and eyes.
Savannah Cat Generations explained
You will often see Savannahs referred to as an F1 through to F6 breed. The numbers represent the breeds and how far they are from the African Serval cat.
Consider the F1 generation to be the litter of an African Wild Cat x with a domestic cat. This litter is a first generation of Savannahs. following generations are then considered Savannahs x Savannahs as there is no more wild cat involved.
The letter F actually stands for FILIAL and refers to the cats generation. Savannah cats are known as purebred once they surpass F4.
F1 – Considered to be 50% African Serval – one parent will be an African wild cat.
F1 Savannah cats are the closest to the African Serval and require a lot of attention. They will be at your heel night and day from going to bed to folding the laundry she will be there to make mischief and keep you entertained. They suit a home where someone is always around.
F2 – Considered to be 35% African Serval – One grandparent will be an African wild cat.
F2 Savannah breeds are considered a little more relaxed than the F1 but are still closely related to the Serval breed of cat. They are a little more open to cuddles and affection and are a little more suited to a home where they wont always need to be watched or given attention.
F3 – Considered to be 21% African Serval – One great grandparent will be an African wild cat.
The F3 Savannah cat breed is now showing a lot more signs of being a domestic house cat. They are very out going and will keep you and your guest very entertained. They have a little more house feline demeanour so will likely enjoy a little sun lounging and some private time in her house.
F4 – Considered to be 16% African Serval – One great, great grandparent will be an African wild cat.
The F4 Savannah breed is a lot more joy and much more domesticated. They love waking you up for play time and getting some comfy cuddle time in. They are a little happier to entertained themselves and will get along with young families and other pets.
F5 – Considered to be 11% African Serval – One great, great, great grandparent will be an African wild cat.
The F5 Savannah cat and lower generations are pretty much considered fully domesticated house cats. They have a wonderful temperament and are much like owning a dog in terms of their companion ship and loyalty. This generation are very adaptive and you will likely fall in love with her more and more every day.
Are Savannah cats legal ?
Savannahs are considered a hybrid breed in some states so it is important to check with your local authority before buying or adopting a Savannah.
Adopting a Savannah Cat or Kitten
If you adopt an angora cat be sure to give her plenty of space and time to adjust to her new surroundings. Don’t over crowd her and you will soon see her loving side emerge. Savannah breeders will be able to give you advice on how to welcome them into your home.
If you buy a Savannah kitten then always ask about the parents and any diseases or illnesses in the litter and family genes.