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Savannah Cat
Country of origin
Breed standards (external links)

The Savannah Cat is a new and still fairly rare exotic domestic cat breed that is the result of a cross between an African Serval and a domestic cat.


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 Cheetah. 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'.

The coat 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 Bengal and 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 dogs.

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 ancestors.

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.

External links

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