Most people dreaming of owning a Savannah cat may be wondering whether it is a good cat breed for them. This is a legitimate question, as not everybody is suitable or has the capacity to take care of one of these gorgeous hybrid cats. So before you go out and shell out big money for one of these cats, the first thing you should do is gather information, research, and honestly and objectively assess yourself as a prospective Savannah cat breeder. Most of the things that will decide you will be the peculiar needs, characteristics, and traits of the Savannah cat, and your capacity to provide these for them.
This chapter provides you a brief overview of the popular Savannah cat, a summary of the facts regarding this hybrid breed, and its history. Read on, and enjoy the process of getting to know one of the most recent hybrid cats in the world.
The very first Savannah cat came from a natural and unintended mating between a wild African Serval and a domesticated Siamese cat. The result of this mating was a beautiful female kitten named “Savannah” – after the African grasslands that are the home of its parent, the African Serval.
Since then, the development of the breed has been brought about by the dedication, commitment and persistence of many breeders working hand in hand, not only to produce the best kind of Savannah cat hybrid, but also in the promotion of this breed – which has now been accepted by The International Cat Association (TICA) as a Championship Breed.
But the Savannah cat is not for everyone. This is a high energy, very active cat that is a powerful jumper and with a sense of humor to spare. Anyone thinking of bringing home a Savannah has to be able to provide this cat the space and room it needs to thrive – including a secure enclosure outdoors, as well as vertical space for climbing. Added to that, Savannah cats require attention – as they will be constantly active and ready to play. This is not a cat you can leave alone at home for long periods of time. A responsible Savannah cat owner must have the time and dedication to provide this cat with the exercise and mental stimulation it needs – with occasional leashed walks, as well as lots of interactive playtime. This is important because if the Savannah cat has no outlet upon which to expend its considerable energy, all that energy can quickly become destructive.
With the proper attention and care, however, the Savannah cat is one of the most loving, loyal and affectionate breeds out there – to rival some of the best cat breeds, and even some of the best dog breeds out there. Yes, Savannah cats are not unlike dogs in the kind of loving bond they develop with their family. Give this cat a proper home and all the care and attention it needs, and it can be a fun and loving companion in your house for many years to come.
Pedigree: original cross between an African Serval and a Siamese domestic cat, also Bengals, Egyptian Maus, Oriental Shorthairs, Ocicats, and some average domestic shorthairs
Breed Size: varies depending on generation and sex; F1 hybrid males, and F1 and F2 generations, are considered the largest,
Weight: first generation Savannahs average at 8-20 lbs (6.3-11.3 kg); later generation Savannahs’ average weight average at 7-15 lbs (3.17-6.8 kg.)
Body Type: long and leggy, tall and lanky
Coat Length: medium-length, spotted coat
Coat Texture: dense coat that can be either coarse or soft in texture
Coat Color: accepted colors are brown spotted tabby, silver spotted tabby, black, and smoke; other color patterns, though considered undesirable, include rosettes, marbles, white lockets, white toes
Eyes: medium sized eyes, set underneath slightly hooded brows; top of the eye resembles a boomerang, set at an angle so the corner of the eye slopes down the line of the nose, the bottom half has an almond shape
Ears: largest and high on the head, wide, with a deep base; upright and with rounded tips; they are considered the largest ears of all felines, in relationship to head size
Tail: short tail with black rings, and a solid black tip
Temperament: intelligent, energetic, exuberant, outgoing, demanding of human interaction
Strangers: friendly with strangers, either curious or playful
Children: tolerant and friendly with children, though exercise due caution and supervision, especially with infants and very small children
Other Pets: playful and gets along well with dogs and most other pets, but exercise due caution and supervision when it comes to smaller pets
Exercise Needs: needs daily exercise, sufficient vertical territory (cat trees), and daily interactive play with humans and/or other active pets
Health Conditions: generally healthy with no known genetic or breed-specific diseases or conditions
Lifespan: average 13-20 years
The first documented Savannah cat was born on April 7, 1986. A female Siamese cat owned by Judee Frank gave birth to a female kitten sired by an Serval – a wild African cat. She eventually came to be owned by breeder Suzi Wood, who named this unplanned for offspring “Savannah” – after the African grasslands which Servals originally called home. Savannah later on became the name of the breed itself.
Suzi Wood wrote two articles about Savannah, and caught the interest of Patrick Kelley, who was interested in starting a new breed of domestic cat with a wild spotted look. Neither of Savannah’s former owners, Judee Frank or Suzi Wood, were interested however, so Patrick Kelley contacted several breeders, among whom was Joyce Sroufe, to help in his efforts. Patrick Kelley bought the only female kitten in Savannah’s litter, and thus began the F2 and F3 generations of Savannahs. Both Patrick Kelley and Joyce Sroufe wrote the original Breed Standard, which they presented to the TICA (The International Cat Association) on February 1996.