The Savannah cat is a popular breed that is best known for its gorgeous exotic appearance and for acting more like a dog than a cat. This is a hybrid breed between an African wild cat, the Serval, and the domesticated cat and those exotic roots leave many questioning if these cats actually make good pets.
Despite their wild ancestry, the Savannah cat has the potential to make an excellent pet, but they aren’t going to be your typical housecat. For those that are prepared to meet the needs of these intelligent, athletic, high-energy cats, bringing one into the family can result in a beautiful, lifelong bond.
Savannah Cat Overview
The Savannah Cat is often referred to as being more dog-like than cat-like. They are highly intelligent, inquisitive, and loyal. They are also much more social than your average domestic cat and are very devoted to their human companions.
Savannahs will thrive on human interaction and are well known for showing affection and even greeting their owners at the door when they arrive home. These cats are a bit needier than most cats because they require lots of mental stimulation, exercise, and more social interaction compared to other cats.
Reasons Why Savannah Cats Make a Good Pet
1. These Cats Are Good for Families
Savannah Cats have the potential to be excellent family pets. They often do very well with children, especially when raised with them from a young age. We do recommend caution around small children because these cats are quite active and rambunctious, which could lead to little ones being knocked over.
While there are plenty of other cat breeds that are very social and great with families, Savannahs are especially outgoing and interactive. They will love nothing more than enjoying some good old-fashioned playtime with the whole family. Keep in mind that each cat is an individual and will have their own personality traits that are unique to them.
2. Savannah Cats Get Along With Other Pets
Not only are Savannah Cats typically great with children, but also with other pets. Since they are so social, they will do best having another animal in the home, especially if their humans spend significant amounts of time out of the house.
They will often do well with other cats and even dogs. They may even be more compatible with the pet dog, providing it is well socialized with cats, because of their intense playfulness. You may even notice this cat breed being able to exhaust and outlast the dog during playtime.
As with any pet, it is highly recommended that they be well-socialized from kittenhood and exposed to a variety of people, pets, and situations. They are still cats with a natural prey drive, so you must use extreme caution around small, caged pets like birds, rodents, or reptiles.
3. They Are Hardy Felines
While most breeds typically come with certain predisposed genetic health conditions, the Savannah is a very hardy and healthy cat. It is recommended they be screened for Pyruvate Kinase Deficiency and Progressive Retinal Atrophy.
The Savannah’s longevity typically ranges anywhere from 14 to 20 years. Nutrition and proper exercise are vital for their overall health and wellness. It’s also very important to keep up with regular health examinations from a licensed veterinarian.
The Downsides to Having a Savannah Cat as a Pet
Savannah Cats Are Expensive
Savannah Cats are a very expensive breed, with prices ranging anywhere from $1,000 to $20,000 or more. These cats are categorized by filial generation or how far removed they are from their Serval ancestry.
You will typically see filial generations F1 through F5 and beyond. An F1 Savannah is only one generation removed, meaning they are 50% Serval. These are the most difficult to breed because of the genetic and gestational differences between Serval and domesticated cats. They are the most expensive to obtain for these reasons.
Savannah Cats Are Not Legal to Own Everywhere
Owners may end up running into legal issues surrounding the ownership of these stunning hybrid cats. Because they are so closely related to the exotic Serval, they may fall under exotic animal laws that are in place in certain areas.
Before committing to a Savannah Cat, you should check your state and local laws to determine whether you can legally own the breed. While they are legal to own in a lot of places, certain cities or states may require special permits or may even ban ownership entirely.
The Savannah Cat can make an excellent pet for families that can ensure their physical and social needs are met. Unlike your average housecat, this breed is highly active and social. Their reputation for behaving more like dogs is well-earned. They are incredibly intelligent, trainable, and form very strong bonds with their human companions.
However, Savannahs are quite expensive. If you are on a budget but really want a cat, a Savannah Cat is not a good choice. Also, some states have restrictions on owning this breed of cat, so it might not be legal to own one even if you can afford it. These are all considerations you want to think about before making the decision on whether to add a Savannah Cat to your family.