The Savannah Cat is a new and still fairly rare exotic domestic
that is the result of a cross between an
African Serval and a
As Savannahs are produced by
crossbreeding servals and domestic cats, each generation of Savannahs is marked
with a filial number. For example, the cats produced directly from a Serval/domestic
cat cross are the F1 generation, and they are typically 50% serval (although if
you use a F1 Savannah as the domestic cat, the percentage of serval blood can
jump to 75%). The F2 generation, which has a serval grandparent and is the
offspring of the F1 generation, is 25% serval. The F3 generation has a serval
great grandparent, and is 12.5% serval. They can be very expensive to
purchase because of their scarcity.
Male Savannah cats are typically
sterile until the F5 generation or so, although the females are fertile from the F1 generation and on.
Savannahs tend to be one of the larger breeds of cats, ranging up to 32
pounds (most other domestic cats range in the area of 5.5 and 16 pounds). The
earlier generations, F1's to F3's or so, tend to be larger than the later
generations. Also, the males are often larger than the females.
The bodies of Savannahs are long and leggy--when a Savannah is sitting, their
hind legs are often higher than their spine, like a
Their heads tend to be longer than they are wide, and like their serval
ancestors, they have long necks. Also like servals, they tend to have spots on
their ears, and their tails are about 3/4ths the length of other cats'.
of a Savannah depends a lot on the breed of cat used for the domestic cross.
Early generations always have some form of dark spotting on a lighter coat, and
many breeders employ "wild"-looking spotted breeds such as the
Egyptian Mau for the cross to preserve these markings in later generations.
The Savannah can have a tan coat with black or brownish spots, or a silver coat
with dark spots, a marble pattern, and many other patterns and combinations,
although the TICA
breed standard limits member cats to Black, Brown Spotted Tabby, Silver Spotted
Tabby and Black Smoke types only.
Temperamentally, Savannahs have been compared to
dogs in their
loyalty, and they will follow their owners around the house like a canine. They
greet people with head-butts or sometimes pounces out of nowhere (many a guest
entering a house with a Savannah have been pounced upon in the entry way!) They
have a lot of energy and are social animals that do well with both cats and
Owners of Savannahs say that they are very impressed with the
intelligence of this breed of cat. Savannahs have been known to get into all
sorts of things; they often learn how to open doors, cupboards, and anyone
buying a Savannah will definitely have to "Savannah-proof" the house to prevent
their pet from getting into things it shouldn't! Also, many owners have trained
their Savannahs to walk on a harness and do various tricks like fetching toys.
Water isn't a fear of the Savannah cat; they will jump right into the bathtub
or shower with people sometimes, and get into pools and streams like their wild
Vocally, like their serval parents and grandparents, Savannah cats normally
"chirp" instead of meow.
Savannah cats have no special care or food requirements; they can eat cat
food like any other domestic cat, use the litterbox, and a normal
veterinarian is qualified to care for one that needs a checkup or is sick.