The Savannah is a hybrid breed, originating from a cross between a domestic cat and a Serval, a wild cat from Africa. They are athletic, graceful and have the charm of their wild ancestors.
Key facts about the Savannah
Life expectancy :
Temperament :Playful Intelligent
Type of coat :Naked Short Long
Origins and history
The Savannah comes from the cross between the domestic cat and the Serval, Leptailurus Serval, a cousin species. Indeed, the cat and the Serval are both part of the Felidae family and are sufficiently similar from a genetic point of view to hybridize.
Since ancient times, the wild cat has accompanied humans in their daily lives as pets and as hunting assistants. Hybridisation of Servals with the domestic cat began in the 1980s and the breed was officially accepted in 2001.
Physical characteristics of the Savannah
Female : Between 12 and 17 in
Male : Between 12 and 19 in
They reach maturity at the age of 3.
Note that the higher the proportion of the genome from the Serval, the larger the cat will be. For example, cats of the first generation (called F1), following breeding with the wild cat, can measure more than 17 inches!
Female : Between 11 and 26 lb
Male : Between 11 and 26 lb
The female is usually smaller than the male, there is little knowledge as to why this is so. Once again, the more exotic the genome of the individual, the larger the animal will be.
According to the specialised nomenclature, black cats, brown spotted tabby, black silver spotted tabby and black smoke are accepted. In any case, the Savannah has a spotted coat.
Type of coat
Golden yellow, Green
The Savannah displays the characteristics of both animals from which they descend. A slender cat, on tall legs. Their heads are small with large ears. Their spotted coat gives them a unique, wild and captivating look.
Good to know
The Serval is present mainly in sub-Saharan Africa. According to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the natural populations of this wild cat are stable. Moreover, Servals are most common in places where their habitat (savannah and other open environments) is protected. However, we must remain vigilant and continue to conserve this habitat, because its decline is rapid in certain areas.
The athletic individuals will prefer games to cuddles.
In most cases, these are very playful cats, combining power and enthusiasm. In addition, their natural skill for physical activity, which comes from their wild ancestors, makes them exceptionally good at jumping, climbing and running. They’re great for walks on a leash. Some of them are even good swimmers!
Once they’ve used up their energy they can be calm and tranquil.
Lively, sharp and interested, their cognitive ability may shock you.
Fearful / wary of strangers
Many factors can influence a cat’s confidence around newcomers, but a Savannah usually appreciates new things and strangers.
They are autonomous and can cope with being on their own as long as their physical and mental needs are met.
Behaviour of the Savannah
There are lot of differences between different individual cats but a Savannah will usually use their voice to communicate with humans.
Need for exercise / Sporty
They need exercise, games and stimulation.
Tendency to run away
The Savannah is an adventurous, energetic and curious breed…using a leash and a harness for walking will reduce the risk of running away.
Greedy / Gluttony
Lots of energy requires lots of food!
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Savannah and cats
The quality of this relationship depends on how the Savannah was socialised as a kitten, so it’s important to take the time to choose the right breeder. They usually get on with other cats of the same breed. However, cohabitation between a hybrid and a domestic cat is not suggested, especially if the Savannah is F1 to F3.
Savannah and dogs
Compatibility with dogs varies and depends on many factors, including socialisation at a young age and how you introduce them to one another. However, a dog and a Savannah can become good playmates. It is important to have cat trees and high spots so the cat can avoid unwanted contact with the dog.
Savannah and children
The two can be great playmates but it is so important to ensure your child understands this feline’s body language and respects their limits.
Savannah and the elderly
Their high energy levels do not make this cat particularly good for the elderly.
Kot savannah - cena
The price of a Savannah kitten varies enormously according to the sex and the generation of the individual, calculated since the initial cross with the Serval. On average, they cost between £1500 and £2600. Lineage, breeder and age also influence the cost. It costs at least £35 / month to provide for their needs, by offering a quality diet and ensuring their good health.
Regular maintenance of the fur, eyes and ears is all that is required.
Despite having a huge amount of hair, the Savannah is a moderate shedder.
Nutrition of the Savannah
A high quality diet that is appropriate to the individual’s energy, age and medical requirements.
Health of the Savannah
The average life expectancy for this breed is between 13 and 20 years.
Strong / robust
Savannahs are considered robust. Their thick undercoat protects them from the weather and they are typically healthy.
Tendency to put on weight
Many factors influence the risk of feline obesity, such as age, environment, diet and activity levels. Their high energy reduces their risk of becoming overweight as long as their need for physical activity is met.
It is generally recognised that the Savannah enjoys good physiological health. However, an annual medical checkup is suggested to ensure your cat’s well-being. Indeed, they can suffer the same diseases as domestic cats that are not crosses, including oral diseases. In addition, the following illness is sometimes diagnosed:
- Pyruvate Kinase deficiency, or "PKDef". This is a hereditary disease that can lead to nonspecific anemia. A genetic test is however available.
Breeding is allowed with another Savannah or with the following pedigreed domestic cats; the Egyptian Mau, the Oriental Shorthair and the Ocicat. Mating is also accepted with a Serval, provided that they comply with the regulations in force concerning the possession and reproduction of wild exotic species (notably CITES Appendix 2).
On average, the litters are of 3 kittens.
Jasmine, Rea, Pharaon, Rambo
Frequently asked questions
Are Savannah cats good pets?
Considering their genetics, Savannahs have a high prey drive, are extremely inquisitive, and have the physical dexterity to get into a lot of trouble if they want to! For this reason, they might not be the best choice for first-time cat owners. However, they can be extremely loyal, affectionate, and are even considered social with other animals, especially when they are properly socialised from a young age. So they can make wonderful pets for the right owners!
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Can I have a Savannah cat in the UK?
F2, F3, and F4 generation Savannah cats are legal to purchase from breeders in the UK. However, F1 generation Savannah cats, meaning one of the parents is a Serval, require a Dangerous Wild Animal Licence to own. F1 generation Savannahs are more difficult to handle and require an expert owner.
Check out 5 other cat breeds that look like wild animals!
Do Savannah cats like to be held?
Considering they have somewhat ‘wild’ genes, Savannah cats are not the most affectionate of breeds. F1 generation Savannahs in particular can be independent and might prefer their own space to a cuddle on the sofa. However, F2, F3, and F4 generation Savannahs are a little more human-oriented and can bond closely with their owners. If well-socialised, they can make friendly pets, even around strangers.
Find out which cat breeds like to cuddle the most!
What does F mean in cats?
The ‘F’ in F1, F2, F3, and F4 generations stands for ‘filial’. These nominations represent how many generations your Savannah cat is from the Serval parent. F1 generation Savannahs are quite rare as it is difficult to successfully breed a domestic cat with a Serval, and the resulting offspring is illegal to own without a license.
Check out the top 10 rarest cat breeds!
Can I let my Savannah cat outside?
You should let your Savannah cat outside as they love the outdoors. However, their love of adventure can be quite dangerous if they are left unsupervised. It is recommended to build a catio in your backyard and to train your Savannah to walk comfortably at the end of a lead. That way, you can fulfill your cat’s needs all the while ensuring that they remain safe at all times.
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