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The Savannah Cat

Savannah portraitPortrait of a Savannah Cat

The Savannah cat is an amazing creature that looks like a wild cat because it actually has a wildcat’s blood in it’s veins.

The Savannah cat is the result of crossing a domestic cat with a serval, which is a wild species of cat from Africa. Therefore it is a hybrid – a cross between two different species- and not an actual breed.

Because of this, there may be local restrictions or requirements in regards to ownership that you should learn about.

The hybrid was first attempted in the late 1980’s when a breeder successfully mated a serval with a domestic Siamese cat.

The result was the Savannah cat, an extraordinary creature with large ears, powerful, long limbs and a stunning, spotted coat.

Savannahs are classified by how many generations they are removed from the wild serval.

An F1 is the offspring of a direct mating of a serval and a domestic cat. The “F” stands for “fillial” which designates the generations removed from the serval cat. There are F1, F2, F3, F4 etc. generations, depending on what percentage of the kitten is serval.

F4 and F5 Savannahs make the most reasonable pets for folks looking for just a little wild. They have less than ten percent serval in their system and are generally quite manageable.

Since these are hybrids, there are sterility problems, and the basic issues that present themselves when breeding different species.

All Savannahs have a percentage of wild serval in them, but the generation that they are will dictate many variations in size, coloring and temperament.

In addition to potentially being quite a handful, these cats can be very, very expensive, with some F1’s costing many thousands of dollars.

This is a commitment that should not be undertaken without a great deal of thought and preparation, not just for the monetary output, but for the time and energy it takes to keep these cats mentally stimulated.

They are extremely active and must have copious amounts of exercise or they may become destructive and even aggressive.


Savannah cat descriptive wordsHow Do You Describe a Savannah Cat?

Savannah Cat-Stats


Savannah vert

The personality of the Savannah cat is often very dog-like. They love games and tricks and love to fetch, which is a great way to work off some of their energy.

Savannahs are known for becoming extremely attached to their families, and are notorious “head-butters” greeting their loved ones this way on a regular basis.

The Savannah cat is not recognized by the Cat Fanciers Association (CFA), the world’s largest cat organization. They are recognized by the TICA, another large organization and are one of the most popular “exotic” cat breeds.

These cats are usually very large and retain a wild look that is very attractive. They have very long legs, and depending on the generation, can have very large ears as well.

The Savannah can make an amazing pet in the right environment, but requires lots of stimulation and, ideally, room to roam.

If left alone, even for short periods, they may become destructive and with their size, strength, and leaping abilities its tough to keep them off of or out of places.

A secure cat pen outdoors would be greatly appreciated by this active cat. And many owners choose to crate their Savannah when away from home to avoid “events” like demolished sofas.

Savannahs have a very dog-like personality and enjoy learning tricks, playing fetch and walking on a leash.

Shedding may be very high and regular grooming is desired.

These are graceful, magnificent, very large-sized cats that have few breed-related health issues, although medications and anesthesia should be administered sparingly due to the tendency of the liver to be smaller than a domestic cat.

Some breeders recommend a special diet for these cats as well. Because they are a very active animal, and a domestic/wild hybrid, the Savannah may not be suitable for a family with children or additional pets. Research very carefully and have lots of exposure to both kittens and adults before taking the plunge. -Savannah Cat Facts

F2 Savannah catF2 Savannah cat
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Savannah kitten!Savannah Kitten!

Savannah kittens are powerful, energetic and independent, even at an early age. 

They are compelled to explore everyting and everywhere and will play till they absolutely collapse exhausted on the carpet or across your lap.

Kitten-proofing is an absolute neccessity before bringing a Savannah kitten home.

A firm hand is required to clarify boundaries and establish routine with Savannahs. They are very strong-willed, even when tiny.

In appearance, Savannah kittens look very much like adults. They take a very long time to grow and may not reach full size till they are five years old. Males get quite a bit larger than females, and male kittens usually have very large paws.

These are very expensive and rare kittens and finding a breeder may be tricky.

Savannah cats are priced according to the percentage of serval cat that they are, and can be many thousands of dollars.

Be careful of exotic kitten scams where photos of show-quality kittens are displayed and huge deposits are requested.

Silver Savannah catSilver Savannah cat

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F1 Savannah CatF1 Savannah Cat

The appearance of Savannah cats varies greatly depending on how many generations removed from the wild African serval cat an individual may be.

Head Shape: The head is a broad, modified wedge shape, with rounded contours, triangular when viewed from the front and with a small chin. The head is slightly small for the body size. Ears vary depending upon generation, large with rounded tips. Eye spots on the backs of the ears are highly desirable. The eyes are almond shaped, large, gold, green or orange in color.

Serval CatServal Cat

Body and Tail: Large size body, well muscled, powerfully built, and longer than tall. Legs are long  Feet should be medium size and oval shaped with long toes. Five toes in front and four in back. The tail should be 3/4 of the body length. Not whip-like.

Coat: Short in length. Dense and soft.

Pattern: Wild pattern, tabby or tiger of different shades of brown and grey, clearly spotted is very desirable.

Overall Appearance: This should be a hard-bodied and muscular cat with a long, powerful torso, and good bone.  Wild looking, large, exotic.


F4 Savannah CatF4 Savannah Cat
  • The Savannah cat is not an actual breed, it is a hybrid – the result of cross-breeding between two different species- domestic cats and African servals 

F5 Silver Savannah CatF5 Silver Savannah Cat

Next cat from A to Z is the Scottish Fold  

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