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FAQ about Savannahs

Frequently Asked Questions About Savannahs



1.         Why is the Savannah Cat such a desired feline?  

If you have ever loved the look of a Cheetah, African Serval or any Exotic Feline than the Savannah is the next best thing.  The Savannah has the look of the wild yet is a domesticated cat.  The Savannah was originated by breeding an African Serval to a domestic cat.  The Serval was admired for their magnificent beauty, that even in Egyptian times they were once the domestic Cat of the Royalty. They are regal, elegant, highly intelligent, and display charming personalities. However, many states don't allow private ownership of Servals, but they will allow some Savannah hybrids. Please check your State, County and City for requirements and make sure that they are legal in your area. 


One of the desires of owning  a Savannah is not only because of their Striking appearance but that they are the largest hybrid feline available.  Savannahs encompass all the wonderful Serval traits while being considered a domestic cat and allowed in most States. They are much more manageable than a Serval and the Savannahs are smaller, weighing approximately 25 pounds for higher generations. They don't require special diets or facilities like Servals would require.  Even though we feed a raw meat diet, you can feed a Savannah a high quality domestic cat diet. Savannahs are extremely intelligent, can be trained like a dog and are very exotic looking.   They're excellent with other pets and children and create very strong bonds with their owners.

2.         Why do Savannahs cost so much and even more than Servals? 

Higher percentage Savannahs are rare and very difficult to breed. There are many factors involved in the expense of a Savannah cat.  Savannahs are produced by breeding a domestic cat and an African Serval. Since the Serval and the domestic cats have different gestation periods for pregnancy, 75 days for a Serval and 63 days for a domestic cat, it makes breeding them very difficult.  It can create the potential for additional costs due to the many complications that can arise during pregnancy. It takes many years and a lot of luck to mate a Serval with a domesticated cat. Only a few breeders worldwide have been successful.  You can put a Serval with 20 domestic cats and there is no guarantee that they will breed at all.  The Serval costs less as they are easier to breed to each other but to a domestic it is very difficult and with no guarantee for success.


An F1 and F2 Savannah mother cat usually only produces 1 to 3 kittens per pregnancy and if the babies are born too early none of the kittens may survive at all, so supply is very limited. The cost of a Savannah goes down as they are further breed down.  Also, earlier generations of male Savannahs are sterile until the 5th generation or in some cases the 4th generation.

It takes a lot of time, money and experience to raise the higher generation Savannah’s but they are well worth it!  Not many people have the time, money or patients that it takes to breed this remarkable breed. Where else can you get a gorgeous, exotic looking animal that is a household pet that will cherish you and give you love for up to 20 yrs! Their love and bond is like no other cat and their loyalty is like a dog.

3.         Do Savannahs get along with children and other pets? 

Absolutely!  Just like other cats, the Savannah cats are very adaptable and will get along with well behaved children and socialized dogs. They seem to be very instinctive and friendly with children. They have been known to bond with dogs but tend to assume the alpha status.  If your current cat or dog is social, your new Savannah will most likely end up sleeping in the same bed with them or maybe even you! The Savannah Cat is extremely energetic, active and playful. While they get along well with children and other pets, most won't allow children to hold them or pack them around for any length of time.

They can also be very comical!  If they are socialized properly, while they are young, they will become fast friends with other animals and children. However, as with any animal, caution should be taken with children and other small animals in the house, especially when your kitten is just introduced as this will be a new surrounding and they need time to adjust. They will become great friends with both children and pets. They do have high prey drive so they WILL eat birds, fish, rabbits and rodents if they can get to them. Savannahs are VERY intelligent and will keep trying to figure out a way to get into everything and they are great escape artists!My Savannah can open every door in the house!  So you must “Child Proof” your home.


4.         How big do Savannah cats get? 
As we cannot guarantee the size that your kitten will get the typical Savannah cats are usually around 9 to 28 pounds depending on which generation they are from and if they are male or female. The Male F1’s and F2’s weigh approximately 15 to 28 pounds and measure about 16 to18 inches at the shoulder and 22 to 24 inches long from chest to hindquarter. The Female F1’s and F2’s weigh approximately 9 to 20 pounds and stand about 15 to18 inches tall at the shoulder and 20-22 inches from chest to hindquarter.


A lot of the size will depend on the actual breeding pair that was used to produce the Savannah. Most people are first drawn to the Savannah Cat due to their size but it is hard to describe the size of a Savannah Cat in terms of weight as they are tall, long and lean, which makes them appear larger than their true weight.  Each Savannah generation will decrease in size but will stabilize in size at the third or fourth generation. The Savannah Cat will grow for three years, the first two years they get their height and length and the third year they will develop their muscle and weight.


5.         Are Savannah cats wild? 


The Savannah’s we raise are very loving, very cute, cuddly and affectionate cats.  Each Savannah cat varies in the percentage of “wild” African Serval generation in them but they are not “Wild”, like a feral cat.  I consider a “feral” cat to be wild and cannot be handled.  Our Savannah’s are handled since birth, and raised as part of a family and are highly tamed. Savannah’s are very hyper and more energetic then the average cat and they like to run and jump and get into almost anything.


6.         Do Savannahs really have a domestic personality? 


Savannahs are one of the most loving animals that I have been around. They have a domestic "dog-like" personality. You will be amazed at how a Savannah will follow you around the house and come when he or she is called.  They also like to play fetch, take baths and walk on a leash!  Savannahs are much more intelligent than a dog or cat and have very high energy.

7.         Do Savannahs have to be kept indoors? 

Yes and No, they don't have to be kept indoors but they should only go out if they are in an outside enclosure or on a leash. You do not want to object your precious Savannah to stray animals that often times are carrying various diseases.  Also, if you have a higher generation Savannah someone might mistake them for a Serval or Wild cat and harm them.  If you do teach them to leash, please do not use a collar with the leash, use a harness only.

8.         What kind of care is needed for a Savannah? 

A Savannah can be treated just like any domestic cat. NO SPECIAL CARE IS REQUIRED, unless you have a higher generation F1 or F2 as they will need to have special toys and no towels etc…see (Cautions below).  A regular veterinarian is qualified to treat a Savannah. Savannah’s are vaccinated the same as domestic cats, but some breeders use only “Killed” vaccine on the F1’s and F’2’s but this is something that you should discuss with your Veterinarian.  


9.         Do Savannahs use a litter box? 


Yes. All of our kittens are completely litter trained prior to leaving our home. Kittens will use a litter box as faithfully as any domestic cat. . When going to a new home, kittens should be confined to a small room so they will know where to find the litter box. If given too large of an area, kittens may lose the litter box and have an accident.  It is important to let the kitten know where the box is and if you have a large home put several litter boxes around the house.  Also, try to use the same litter that they are use to using and then you can gradually change them to a different brand if you prefer.  It is important that Male pet kittens, even early generation “sterile” male kittens, should be neutered to prevent spraying.  


10.      How long do Savannah cats live?
Since a Serval Cat can live to be over 20 years old domestically but average only 12 years in the wild there is no reason why a Savannah cat should not live just as long.
11.      Do Savannah Cats have many health problems?


Like their Serval ancestor they have a great immune system and suffer from almost no ailments. But since they are exposed to domestics they need to be vaccinated just like other domestic cats.


12.      Do Savannah cats need immunizations? 
Yes, just like any domestic cat would, but some breeders believe that the higher generations should have a “Killed” vaccine only. This is something that you should discuss with your veterinarian as there are several opinions on this.  Each veterinarian and state will have different vaccination schedules and requirements so you should discuss your Savannah Cat's health care with your local veterinarian.


13.      When are Savannah kittens ready to go to their forever home? 

Kittens are typically ready to go home at around 9 to 11 weeks of age. Every kitten is different so we will only send a kitten when we feel he/she is ready for the transition.

14.      Do you need a permit to own a Savannah cat? 
Every State as well as county and city has different restrictions and laws. Just because they are legal in the State does not mean you can own one in your County or City. Please check with each to make sure you are legal before you purchase your Savannah.  You can also check on to see if they have your area listed but always check with your authorities to make sure you are in compliance.

15.      Is the Savannah breed recognized by any breed registries? 


Yes. TICA first accepted Savannahs as an experimental breed and accepted the breed in 2001.  TICA accepts Savannah cat registration regardless of their “F” Generation and will even register a Serval if it is used for a Savannah breeding program.  Exotic Hybrid Cats registers all of our breeding animals with TICA and provides the proper paperwork to our customers so they can register their new pet.



Registries That Accept the Savannah:


  The International Cat Association (TICA)


  The International Progressive Cat Breeders' Alliance


16.      Is a Savannah Cat the right cat for me? 
If you own a cat, you understand a cat’s behavior. If you own a dog, you understand a dog’s behavior. Well, with a Savannah you have a combination of both!  The Savannah cats are extremely intelligent and like getting into everything and discovering things. They act like dogs as they are very trainable and they literally follow you around the house all day. They want your attention, they bond closely with you and they want you to play with them. Savannahs do tricks, play fetch and like playing in the water, so be careful to shut the door when taking a bath or shower! Even though a Savannah wants to be a part of your daily life he/she does not require the constant attention that a dog does. The Savannah will go and do his/her own thing yet they are much more social able than most cats. You don’t have to take your cat for a daily walk and pick up their stool like a dog but they do love for you to take them on a leash just for the fun of it!   So make sure you’ve fully committed to having a loving companion for 20 years or more before you adopt.

He/she will love you like you have never been loved by a cat.  Also, Early generation Savannahs have a difficult time being re-homed because they bond so closely to their family so please make sure this is the animal for you. 


17.      Which Savannah generation is Right for You?



Early exposure to people and pets is the key factor in socializing a Savannah kitten regardless of their generation. Even F1s can become highly socialized if they are separated from their mothers at an early age, and exposed to a lot of human interaction.


F1 Savannahs - The F1 will range from 50% - 82% or higher wild blood. The F1 will show a friendly, playful, active nature but does not like being held.  It does love to be scratched, petted, and to be in contact with humans. They generally bond to one or two people and get along with other pets that they are raised with. The weight of an F1 will range from 15-30 lbs., but like all generations, they look much larger due to their long legs and long, lean bodies.  The F1 Savannah have their hyper more energetic moments where they like to run and jump and get into almost anything so you will have to “Child Proof” your home.  They also have a few sounds that might be intimidating to most people such as a “hissing” sound that sounds like a snake hissing or a growl. These are sounds that they make like a cat meow’s a Savannah hisses or growl’s even when excited!


F2 Savannahs - The F2 will range from 25% - 50% wild blood and will have a weight range of 15-25 lbs. The Savannah males appear very similar in size to the F1, but the females are usually a little smaller. The F2 will bond with one or two people and will get along with other pets.  The F2 will generally make a better pet than the F1 and will tolerate being held for short periods of time.  They love human interaction and are friendly, active and will really show affection.  It is very hard to re-home the F2 as they feel like you abandoned them if you re-home them.   They love snuggling in bed but might keep you up kneading on you or the bed!


F3 Savannahs - The F3 is a much better choice for a family that has children. The F3 doesy do not like being held for long periods of time but they will tolerate it more than the F1 or F2 does.  They too love attention and are friendly to other animals. The lower the generation the more domestic their personality becomes and the more suited to families with children.


F4 Savannahs - The F4 is more enjoyable for the entire family and loves attention. They are quite friendly and playful and will provide countless hours of entertainment and love. The F4 has a very domestic personality and loves being held and played with.