Distinctive physical features and coat patterns make Savannah cat popular among breeders. This hybrid cat can be easily distinguished from its spotted coat and large ears received from their ancestor, the wild African cat. The cross was considered unusual but it was finally accepted by TICA as a new registered breed in 2001.
For breeders, Savannah gives a unique experience of raising a cat. It inherits a wild nature of its parents, yet it is a domestic cat that can be raised at home. If you are a new breeder who needs more information about Savannah, you’ve come to the right place. All you need to know about the hybrid cat is gathered here.
Among other cat breeds, Savannah is the largest. The hybrid cat is a cross between an African Serval and a domestic cat. African Serval is a large-eared, spotted wild cat with medium size native to Africa. The cross resulted in a large-eared, spotted breed with a domestic cat’s nature depending on the generation it comes from.
Savannah was first bred in the 1980s and became popular at the end of the 1990s. Later in 2001, the International Cat Association registered the hybrid cat as a new breed. Because of its impressive and tall physical features, the breed was recorded as the world’s tallest domestic cat by the Guinness Book World Record since 2006.
Today, breeders can find Savannah in different patterns and colors. However, the cat association only accepts spotted coat with certain colors and combinations. Savannah cat Bengal cat are often mistaken, especially for poorly developed Savannah. This is because poorly raised Savannah may have a smaller body that makes it look similar to Bengal cat.
Physical Features and Characteristics
Savannah cats have all traits found in its ancestor, the African wild cat. Here are physical features that help distinguish Savannah from other hybrid cats:
A pair of upright, sonar-like ears with rounded tips should resemble its ancestor. It should also be large and high. Savannah cats also have distinctive oceli on the back of the ears. Oceli is an eye-like effect caused by a light band with brown, dark grey or black border.
Savannah is also characterized by its medium-sized, expressive eyes below hooded brow. The upper part looks like a boomerang with an almond shape on the bottom. The distinctive black tear stain become another trait brought by the hybrid cat.
Savannah’s coat is short and vibrant with contrast marking. The cat has different colors and color combinations, including black, black smoke, brown spotted tabby, and black spotted tabby. Aside from standard spotted patterns accepted by TICA, Savannah cat also comes in non-standard colors and patterns including cinnamon color, rosette, marble, snow and even lavender. The color usually derives from domestic cat parents.
The overall build of Savannah is leggy and long. When it is standing, its prominent shoulders become lower than the hind-end. The head is small yet wide with a long and slender neck. Savannah cat how big? The hybrid cat commonly has a large and slim build, slightly larger than domestic cats.
The first generation, however, is known as the largest hybrid from the breed called the F1 and F2. These generations commonly weigh somewhere between 8 and 20 pounds. Meanwhile, later generation weighs around 7 to 15 pounds.
5. Life span
Most domestic cats live up to 15 years or somewhere between 10 and 12 years. African Serval can live up to 20 years. The cross between a domestic cat and Serval cat can live 12 to 12 years. The life span depends on the Serval ancestor. To prolong cat’s lifespan, some breeders suggest the cat owner to feed raw meat with balanced and properly.
As with other hybrid cats, Savannah cat has several generations. Early generations commonly have a strong genetic influence from its ancestor, the African Serval. Not only does it get the largest build, but it also has all the traits of the parents. Here are some generations in Savannah breeds.
1. F1 generation
The F1 Savannahs are rather difficult to produce. This is because the significant difference in periods of gestation between a domestic cat and African Serval. The domestic cat needs only 65 days of gestation while the serval requires 75 days. Not to mention sex chromosomes also play a significant role in breeding.
This generation is the largest as it weighs around 17 to 25 pounds. It makes no surprise that Savannah cat F1 price is much higher than later generation such as F2 and F3.
2. F2 generation
The F2 Savannah commonly is commonly the offspring of F1 Savannah female and has a serval grandparent. This serval ranges between 25% and 37.5%. This generation usually weighs around 16 to 25 pounds and measures between 15 and 18 inches at the shoulder.
3. F3 Generation
The later generation F3 has a serval grandparent with at least 12.5% serval. This Savannah cat is typically friendlier due to the dominant domestic cat’s nature. This generation weighs around 14 to 20 pounds for male and 10 to 13 pounds for female.
Savannah cats is known to be a friendly breed with a unique personality. The temperament is mild and she can be a great companion in your household. If you plan to pet a Savannah, make sure to understand its personality as follow:
1. Dog-like personality
The hybrid cats are loyal, adventurous and playful. When properly raised, the Savannah would be like a dog. If you do not want to raise a dog but need an active pet, Savannah can be an ideal companion. They love social interaction and can be very friendly especially to immediate family members. Some cats, however, may hide when seeing a stranger but their curiosity pushes them to make an interaction.
Savannah cat is known to be energetic. They have an excellent jumping ability and they often jump on to the fridge, top of doors and even high cabinets. Some of them can leap up to 8 feet high from their position. Many times, the cats are getting into trouble because their high level of energy.
3. Not fear of water
Unlike most domestic cats, Savannah are not afraid of water. Instead, they love to immerse themselves or play in water. When you give a water bowl, Savannah may play with the water with their paws. It makes no surprise that some owners take a shower with their cats.
Savannahs are intelligent breeds. They can learn how to open cupboards or doors. They can also be trained to play fetch or walk on a leash. In addition to their intelligence, the cats are often curious with their environment so they love to wander around.
5. Strong hunting instinct
Savannah cat inherit the strong hunting instinct of their African Serval ancestor. The hybrid cats are typically not suitable to live together with pets like birds or hamsters.
Diet and Allergies
Giving appropriate and high quality food to your Savannahs is important to keep them healthy and energetic. The diets can be a combination of raw meat, wet food and dry food. Kittens should be fed a high nutrient and well-balanced food, both dry and raw. You can also give cooked chicken for kitten’s diet.
As the cat grow older, the amount of food should be increased. It can be the combination of raw meat, wet food and grain-free dry food. It is not recommended to feed your Savannah food products with corn as it is hard to digest and may cause intestinal problems.
Allergies can developed due to some factors such as food, environment and flea. The most common allergens for Savannah cat are cheese, milk and fish. The reaction may include a runny nose, swelling and sneezing. In some cases, allergy may also cause diarrhea. Bring the cat immediately to the vet for the right treatment.
Savannahs can also suffer from flea allergy. This kind of allergy is often noticed from small bumps and crust along the back and the neck. To diagnose the allergy, you can prepare a sheet of paper and comb the fur. When you see white or black specs, it can be flea feces and eggs.
How to Take Care of Savannah
Taking care of Savannah is basically simple. The hybrid cat does not require special health care. A regular visit to the vet will be enough to maintain its health. It is also typically a lower-shedding breed that requires less grooming. Learn more how to take care of Savannah cat right here:
1. Basic needs
There are several basic needs that should be met to maintain Savannah’s health. It may include vet brushing and grooming, nail trimming and tooth brushing. The cross-bred has short hair so it is pretty easy to maintain. Brush it twice or at least once a week to remove dead hair. Despite it requires less grooming, the hair can be messy so they need a bath.
Savannah’s nails should be trimmed every 14 days. You can trim by yourself or have a professional groomer do it for you. Do it carefully so you do not harm the paws. Make sure to only clip the white part and leave the pink part.
Brushing the teeth helps keep the hygiene of the cat’s mouth. Do it at least three times a week to avoid cavity. Instead of using human toothbrush, use a Q-tip and brush with your finger. Use a special toothpaste for cat and apply onto cat’s lips. Brushing its teeth can be a real struggle but the result is worth the effort.
2. Keep the litter box clean
Check the cat’s litter box routinely, at least once a day. If you find cat feces, remove it immediately from the box. Wash and disinfect the box every 15 days with mild soap and hot water. Avoid using cleaning products with strong scents as it may disturb the cat.
3. Feeding the cat
Feed your cat based on its age. Choose only high quality food to make sure it contains high nutrition such as protein, fat, mineral and vitamin. You can choose both wet and dry food. Adult cat needs to be fed twice a day. Kitten can be fed three times a day with a smaller bowl. The amount of food depends on the age, activity and health. Also provide fresh water every day.
4. Provide physical stimulation
Giving a physical stimulation is important to train your cats. Savannah cat is known to be active and energetic. They also love to jump, so you may need to place cat trees somewhere around the house. The hybrid cats are very intelligent. You can stimulate their intelligence by teaching some tricks to sit, spin, and fetch.
5. Remove toxic plants
Cats are often chewing plants and it is normal. Just make sure to keep your Savannahs from toxic plants such as azaleas, lilies, oleander and African violets. Instead, you plant safe greeneries such as button fern, pony tail palm, blue echeveria, bamboo, and spice orchid. These plants are safe to chew.
The price of Savannah cats may vary depending on the breed and generation. Savannah cat price F1 is the most expensive, considering it has all the traits of its ancestors. Price is also based on temperament, scarcity and demand. Here is a list of Savannah price you might need to know:
- F1 Savannahs: $15,000 to $20,000
- F2 Savannahs: $4,000 to $11,000
- F3 Savannahs: $1,500 to $6,000
- F4 and F5 Savannahs: $1,500 to $9,000
Before buying a Savannah, be sure to understand the legal requirements in your country. In the United States, the law vary depending on the state. Some states including Texas, Hawaii, Massachusetts and Georgia even restrict the ownership of Savannah and other hybrid cats.
Savannah cat is a hybrid cat with distinctive physical features such as spotted vibrant coat and upright, large ears. The cross between African Serval and domestic cat has a friendly personality that makes it an ideal pet for every household. If you plan to pet a Savannah, make sure to learn how to take care of it. Paying attention to local regulation is also important as some states restrict the ownership of this cat.