Savannah Cat FAQ


 

Does a Savannah cat make a good pet?
The Savannah cat can be a great family pet and one like no other you have known before. They are a high energy, intelligent breed and not your average, lazy house cat. The Savannah cat is desirable because it is very exotic in looks, much like it's ancestor, the African Serval. However, the Savannah can live as a house pet without the specialized needs of a wild cat. They can get along with dogs, kids and other animals. We have five kids ages 9 months, 3 yrs., 14 yrs., 15 yrs. and 17 yrs. We raise our Savannah kittens right alongside the babies. Both are well mannered and taught respectable rules.

Don't believe the hype about Savannahs not making good pets put out there by Animal Rights activists and BCR.

Please read "Savannahs Do Make Good Pets" written by Brigitte Cowell.

Are Savannahs destructive?
Savannahs are intelligent and high energy but not necessarily destructive. If given enough to play with, cat trees and cat furniture to climb on and a companion they ordinarily don't tear things up or scratch your furniture. If they get bored or don't have an outlet for their energy they could invent their own games or play with things that you wouldn't approve of. They also like to get into high places such as shelves, top of curtain rods, bookcases, etc. Again, a high cat tree will help meet this need. Savannahs also like to steal things such as toothbrushes, kitchen sponges, pens, etc.

What generation Savannah is right for me?
Once you have decided to add a Savannah to your family, the next decision is what generation? You will read and hear talk of F1, F2, F3 and so on. The "F" stands for Filial Generation and indicates how many generations removed the cat is from its African Serval ancestry. F1 is one generation away from the Serval and therefore at least 50% Serval. F2 is two generations away and at least 25% Serval. F3 is three generations away and at least 12.50% Serval. There are several things to consider when deciding on the right generation for you.

Size: The F1 and F2 generations are generally the largest generations. They can run anywhere from 15 to 25 lbs. Their tall, slender build gives them the appearance of even greater size. Savannahs are more about the height than weight. Savannahs start getting more average domestic size from the F3 generation down, although generally taller or longer legged than the average cat.

Cost: Healthy, well socialized and well bred Savannahs can cost anywhere from $950 up to $8,000 depending on generation and quality with F1 and F2 Savannahs being the most expensive and lower generations such as F5, F6 and F7 Savannahs being much less expensive.

Behavior: All Savannahs can be great house pets but the different generations will have different levels of energy, persistance and antics. I find the earlier generations such as F1s are more persistant about something they want and so you have to be more creative in training. It is like having an eternal toddler around. They also have boundless energy and require outlets for this energy such as more games with a wand toy, fetch, chase with another pet or a walk outside (safely with a walking jacket!).

You can see some pictures of different generations of Savannahs on the Savannah Cat Club website.

Why are Savannahs so expensive?
The first generation of Savannahs (F1s) are created by breeding a Serval to a domestic cat. This is a very difficult endeavor. Many breeders put a lot of time, energy, care and financial investment into a F1 program. Due to the gestational difference between the Serval and domestic, often the kittens are born premature and needing 24 hr. around the clock care. There are a limited number of F1s made available each year.

Why are there such different prices for Savannah kittens of the same generation?
This is a very good question! Some Savannah kittens are of higher quality than others. Some breeders have paid top dollar to obtain the absolute best breeding stock and this usually is reflected in the quality of the kittens. Some kittens look closer to the breed standard than others and will be more highly sought after. They might have better overall type and/or coat color, contrast and spotting. Some kittens in a particular litter can even be priced differently. They may not meed the expectations or match the breed standard closely enough to warrant top dollar. However, they may still be very exotic looking and good personalities. There may be some Savannah kittens for sale that priced exorbitantly but aren't necessarily higher quality kittens. It just means that breeder is asking a premium price. Do your research and see if the quality and pricing is similar to other top quality Savannah kittens available at that time.

Why don't I just get a Serval?
Servals are cheaper than F1 or F2 Savannahs because they are more easily bred and readily available. However, in many states, cities, counties and townships pure wild cats are illegal. Much more than hybrid breeds such as the Savannah. (Check your local laws at HybridPride.org ) Further, Servals don't make good house pets. We, ourselves were so smitten with our Serval that we thought we would get one as a pet. That is until we researched the very, very highly likelihood that a Serval, even if neutered or spayed, WILL spray. We have an adult Serval and let me tell you...the smell is not pretty. In fact, it is a very strong, musky cat urine smell and they spray a lot each time. Not something you want in your house. They are also more difficult to house train, keep off counters and be kept safe. Another consideration is that their diet is much more specialized.

Please read "Advantages of Savannahs over Servals as Pets" written by Brigitte Cowell.

Do Savannahs use a litter box?
Savannahs are just like domestics with litter box habits. The only difference is that occasionally the F1s prefer a large, open box. The kittens are usually litter trained before leaving the breeder's home to come to yours. They should be spayed or neutered to prevent spraying. Even females can spray if left intact.

Do Savannahs get along with other pets?
Yes they do! Savanahs can get along great with other pets, with the exception of birds or fish. They do well with other high energy breeds such as Ocicat, Egyptian Mau, Oriental Shorthair, Absynnian, etc. It is strongly recommended to have another Savannah or high energy cat companion for your Savannah. They get bored too quickly and if you don't have hours and hours to spend with them a friend that can keep up is a good idea!

Do Savannahs need a special diet?
Savannahs eat commercial cat food like any other domestic cat would, but are usually also very receptive to a raw diet. We recommend a high-quality cat food brand be used, especially as Savannahs grow fast in the first years of their life, so will need good nutrition. We also recommend that as much canned, pouched or raw be given as possible. High quality wet food is usually always better for cats than dry kibble alone.

Raw vs. Kibble: Premium cat food, whether raw, canned or kibble is recommended and your Savannah will be happy and healthy on premium foods. If you choose to feed raw food, please research dietary requirements for cats prior to preparing a raw diet. You can find many nutritious recipes by researching raw diets for cats online.

Is a male or female better?
Whether to get a male or female is usually personal preference. With Savannahs, pricing and availability can sometimes play a role. Because F1s are so hard to produce, the females are often kept or sold as breeders and are more expensive than the males. Male Savannahs from F1 thru F4 are sterile due to Haldane's Rule, with the exception of a few lucky F4 males. These sterile males can not be used in a breeding program so they are sold as pets cheaper than their female counter parts. Once you get to the fertile generation of F5 and lower, the males become more valuable. However the number of breeder quality males actually in a litter is lower and so many are made available as pets. Breeder/show quality male and females sold as pets may be higher priced.

What does A, B, C and SBT mean?
You will often see Savannahs listed as A, B, C or SBT for example: Nanji is a F6 "C" Savannah and Callisto is a F6 "B" Savannah. The letters indicate how many Savannahs are in the line. An "A" Savannah will have one Savannah parent and one outcross parent. Due to the F1 thru F4 males generally being sterile, outcrosses had to be originally used to create the breed. A "B" Savannah has two Savannah parents. A "C" Savannah has two Savannah parents and grandparents. A "SBT" stands for Stud Book Tradition and has three generations of Savannah to Savannah breeding behind them. Therefore they have two Savannah parents, two sets of grandparents and great grandparents and is considered the "pure bred" level..

What does BST mean?
BST stands for brown (black) spotted tabby. Most Savannahs are BST. This color ranges from a cool brown to a more golden color.

What other colors do Savannahs come in?
Savannahs come in a variety of colors and patterns. The most common pattern is brown spotted which can be different shades of brown such as golden, sandy, cream, greyish brown or tan. There is silver spotted which has a base color of silver, gray or a light silver that looks almost white. There is black or black smoke. These are the standard colors. Because of the outcross breeds used to create the Savannah you will often see non-standard colors and patterns such as cinnamon, chocolate, blue and marble. These unique colors can be quite attractive but often you can get them at a reduced price from their siblings due to the non-standard color or pattern.

I want a golden kitten. Will the kitten be gold?
Many want that perfect golden kitten and understandably so! It isn't always easy to tell if a kitten will end up gold as an adult. Many times a golden kitten can darken and lose the gold coloring as an adult. Sometimes more brownish kittens can develop golden tones as an adult. Often in this early stage of the breed if you get a gorgeous golden coat you may lose some type. Combining the flashy golden coat with serval type isn't an easy thing to do. However it is one of our goals here at FusionKatz.

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