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Wildest Pets: Savannah Cats

Updated on October 18, 2019
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I am a young animal lover at heart. I hope to inform people about animals and maybe even help along the way.

The Savannah Cat

Savannah Cat
Savannah Cat | Source


Ancestor of the Savannah Cat is the African Serval Cat which has been actively breed in captivity since the 1920's. This wild cat native to Africa. It is rare in North Africa and the Sahel, but widespread in sub-Saharan countries except rain-forest regions. They are vulnerable to hyenas and wild dogs. In the wild they will seek cover to escape the view of a predator. If a predator is too close they will flee in long leaps, changing direction frequently and with their tail raised. The African Serval Cat is able to purr, has a high-pitched chirp, hiss, cackle, growl, grunt and meow. Compared to a Savannah Cat the African Serval Cat will cost double daily to maintain, they do not tolerate strangers, they will only eat raw meat and once full grown they will not use a litter-box. Desirable traits and exotic looks are why most owner of African Serval Cat convert to owning a Savannah Cat. Majority of Savannah Cats have less than 10% possible exotic heritage. We have compiled a rare look at historical depictions of Serval Cats dating back to the 1400's, see below pictures.

1830 Serval Cat
1830 Serval Cat | Source
1479–1425 b.c. "Cat Painting"
1479–1425 b.c. "Cat Painting" | Source

Quick Info

Origin: USA

Height: 13 to 20 inches not including tail

Weight: 8 to 20 pounds

Life Span: 17 to 20 years

Hypoallergenic: No

Pet Ratings

★★★★☆ Affection

★☆☆☆☆ Level of Health Issues

★★★☆☆ Shedding

★★★★★ Intelligence

★★★★★ Energy



A hybrid between a domestic cat and a serval.

A kitten sired by a serval (a small African wild cat) on a female domestic cat in 1986 was the beginning of the Savannah as a breed. This first-generation cross was named Savannah, and when breeder Patrick Kelly heard about her, he decided to create a new breed. Kelly and fellow breeder Joyce Sroufe began a breeding program and wrote a standard for the new cats.

The Savannah was recognized as a breed by The International Cat Association (TICA) in 2012.



Savannah cats aren't your typical cat, especially if you buy any a first or second generation. Males will typically be larger than females, but each are just as athletic and will generally be a hyper active explorer. Don't be shocked to hear that these cats are able to be walked, and most will enjoy it.

Be sure to put away any objects that can be locked down, and for some if it becomes an issue, lock your cabinets, you can use child locks if needed. Savannahs are a very intelligent, agile feline and their graceful jumps can sometimes knock down objects, and if they want something in your cabinet it is not unlikely they will find a way into it.

If you are thinking of getting a kitten be sure you have a lot of time set out for them as they will be extremely playful. Keep your cords and anything else you don't want to end up anything being chewed. A good way to train the kitten from the start is reward good behavior with pets, treats, toys. When the kitten acts out or does something not in your or their best interest, re-direct their attention to playing with something more desirable.It is in your best interest to get toys that your kitten can use and play with when you aren't around, this can be said same with the older cats, as they need a lot of work and attention.
If this isn't for you, its best to reconsider a more laid back cat.


All cats whether purebred or hybrid have a chance of multiple common health issues, such as UTD, Eye problems, worms, fleas etc... Savannah cats are typically clear of most issues, and aren't known in particular for any, nor genetic problems. The best way to protect your furry friend is vet checks, vaccines and the most common one is keeping them entertained and exercised. Obesity in cats can cause issues just as much as it can in humans.
Their biggest issue is fertility, and higher gens will produce less kittens per litter.


Allergies still happen around Savannah Cats even though they are short haired cat breed. No cat breed is truly hypoallergenic. No scientific data supports hypoallergenic cat breeds. Most allergy sufferer are allergic to the protein found in cat saliva not hair, so they are allergic to all felines.

Their fur needs to brushed at least once or twice a week as their fur can get a bit long and the last thing you want is your cats fur matting together. Mats can not only be uncomfortable for your cat but can act as a health issue, pinching skin.

It is a good idea to get your cat an indoor and/or outdoor enclosure. Indoor will allow the cat to have a go to area when feeling stressed out, and having an outdoor one will protect your cat from attacks, car crashes, disease and theft. It is also a good idea if you are letting your savannah outside to have a bell collar, as they are prone to hunting.

Please note that there are many places that have laws and regulations on savannah cats, typically first and second generation cats (also known as F1 and F2) because they have parent servals or grandparent servals, making them quite big, and some places will view them as a threat.

Nutrition requirements are the same as the average domestic cat. Almost all cat foods from a grocery store are not properly balanced for any type of cat. Feeding a cheap filler filled foods will lead to bones being brittle bones that can break easily. These cheap foods have been linked to diarrhea, weight loss and even cancer. Savannah Cats grow at a fast rate so proper nutrition is vital. They do not require a raw meat diet however a raw meat diet is the most nutritional diet available if properly prepared. Work with your veterinarian and breeder to determine the frequency of meals. Dry Food and fresh water should be available at all times.


You can look up recipes to make cat food to keep a healthy diet!


Savannah Coats & Color

Savannah Cat Colors are meant to resemble it's ancestor the Serval Cat, accepted colors are brown, silver, black and smoke. The Serval Cat has a bright buttery golden basecoat with solid black spots. This golden color is a shade of brown spotted tabby and must be registered as a brown spotted tabby or BST.

Brown Spotted Tabby = Aguoti Cat (A-)
Silver Spotted Tabby = Aguoti Cat (A-) + Inhibitor gene
Black = Non-Aguoti Cat (AA)
Smoke = Non-Aguoti Cat (AA) + Inhibitor gene

Nonstandard Colors

Nonstandard color are those not accepted by the TICA breed standard. This means they are color not desired. Such colors are typically recessive colors or dilute colors that stem from domestic heritage.

Cinnamon - Recessive
Chocolate - Recessive
Fawn - Dilute of cinnamon
Blue - Dilute of black
Lilac - Dilute of chocolate



1 - 3
$15k - $30k
Very Low
Extremely Difficult
1 - 4
$6k - $12k
4 - 6
$3k - $4k
F4 and Lower
4 - 6
$600 - $3k

Price is based off conformation to the breed standard, temperament, demand and scarcity. When a Savannah Cat has traits inline with the breed standard they are of higher value as a pet or breeder.

Breeders are obligated as TICA registered members to provide registration papers, age appropriate vaccinations and retain kittens until the age of 10-14 weeks, which is costly.

The basic rearing cost of a registered pedigree kitten results in adoption prices over $1,200 (This goes for all pedigree cat breeds).
F1 & F2 generations have very small litters once a year, sometimes going long periods without birthing. This drives up the adoption cost of those generations.


Are they friendly with _____ ?
In short... YES.

Every cat is different, but Savannah cats are usually very friendly, to children, other pets etc.


Can You Own a Savannah Cat?

Do your best to make sure to research which cat generations you can own before you adopt & or buy.

Legal requirements have to be considered in some USA states. Savannah Cats sometimes get caught in ban bills due to lose wording meant to prevent the ownership of larger exotic pets. Often these ban bills get correct over time and proper education being provided to officials. The following states have restrictions: Alaska, Delaware, Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, New York, Nebraska, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rode Island, Texas, Vermont and Hawaii. Review your state laws pertaining to hybrid animals on

Is a Savannah Cat for you?

It may comes as a surprise that the majority of Savannah Cat Owners don't purchase for exotic looks. Rather they seek a pet with a combination of traits that the Savannah Cat has to offer.

If you are seeking the following traits then a Savannah Cat might be right for your home;

  • High/Medium Energy Level

  • Not Lap Cats (They Will Be Next To You)

  • High Intelligence

  • Use a Litter-Box

  • Rambunctious

  • Affectionate

  • Expressive

  • Curious

  • Outgoing


Important Info

There are multiple scams, like most things. It is important you check your info and make sure you are not buying a fake kitten or cat.

Tips to prevent yourself from being scammed

  • Ask for a video with your name and the said kitten/cat. Photos are much easier to be stolen.
  • Pick up the cat/kitten in person.

List of Scammers (please note this information may be out of date, use your judgement)

List Of Scammers

  • Loft Savannah Cats

  • Frontline Savannah Catas

  • Excellent Savannahs

  • Golden Savannahs

  • Mothers Care Savannah Cattery

  • Cheerful Savannah Cats

  • Baseline Savannah Cats


Video of Savannah Kitten: F1Hybrids

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.


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