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The Savannah is a relatively young breed of cats. Due to her eye-catching fur color, she has meanwhile become a fashion cat and not infrequently a prestige object. The Savannah cat is named after the habitat of its wildcat ancestors – the savannah in Africa.

History of the Breed

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The Savannah is a cross between a domestic cat and a serval. The latter is a wildcat that originated in Africa and belongs to the order of predators.

The first Savannah cat was created by crossing a serval cat with a Siamese cat. The crossing happened accidentally in 1986: In reality, the tomcat that Judee Frank borrowed was supposed to cover a Serval cat. But Frank brought the tomcat together with a Siamese cat, which is why they mated. The cat’s owner, Suzi Mutascio, later had the only kitten in the litter. She then started breeding the second generation of Savannahs (F2 generation).

In 1996 the breeders Patrick Kelley and Joyce Sroufe wrote the first breed standard. The TICA (The International Cat Association) finally recognized the Savannah in 2001. In 2012 she achieved championship status.

Branch Generations

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The branch generations indicate how the Savannah relates to their ancestors. For example, F1 animals were mated directly with a serval. At F2, the serval is the animal’s great-grandfather, and so on. In order to be able to state the degree of a relationship more precisely, letters are used:

  • A = One parent is a Savannah cat.
  • B = Both parents are Savannah cats.
  • C = Both parent and grandparent animals are Savannahs.
  • SBT = The last three generations are made up of Savannah cats.

Incidentally, Savannahs of the branch generation F1 to F4 have a high proportion of wild blood and thus belong to the hybrid breeds.

Appearance: Big, Graceful, and Exotic

Savannah cats look like a smaller imitation of the serval. The peculiarity of this cat breed is the polka dot drawing. The coloring in general is a golden or beige base tone with a light underside. This depends on the breed being crossbred. Nowadays, however, Savannah-Savannah crossings are standard.

Savannah cats are tall and slender. They have long, muscular legs. The hind legs are usually slightly longer than the front legs. The paws are oval and medium-sized. In addition, the Savannah has a relatively broad tail of medium length. The neck is long and narrow according to the body.

The head has a triangular shape and is rather small in relation to the body. The ears are high on the head and, typical of the breed, are very large. They are erect, broad in shape, and rounded at the top.

The medium-sized eyes are set low on the head. All eye colors are allowed and do not depend on the color of the coat. Typical of Savannahs is also the torn drawing, which is reminiscent of a cheetah and thus gives the cat an exotic look. The Savannah cat looks very graceful and graceful due to its slim body shape.

The following colors are allowed:

  • Black
  • Brown spotted tabby
  • Black silver spotted tabby
  • Black smoke

First and second-generation Savannah cats are very large animals. Their weight is between 4.5 and ten kilograms and, like their size, depends on the generation. The reason for this is that the genetic influence of the African wildcat is still very strong in animals of the first generations. From the fourth generation onwards, size and weight level off slowly.

Temperament: Savannah Cats are Friendly and Very Active

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Savannahs are very friendly, playful, and social, also curious, and always looking for adventure. Since they have a high urge to move around and are very active, they need a lot of activity. This can be done through cat toys or a second cat. Basically, because of their lively nature, Savannahs shouldn’t be kept individually.

Docile, Social, But With a Mind of Its Own

Savannahs are often referred to as “a dog in a cat’s body” because it is possible to teach the fur noses to fetch and walk on a leash. It makes sense to get your Savannah cat used to a leash when it is a kitten and to practice it indoors a few times before venturing outside. Another special feature of this breed of cats is their love for the water. She likes to go swimming if you give her the opportunity in the form of a tub filled with water.

As a rule, Savannahs get along well with other pets and are easy to socialize with dogs. They are also patient with children. However, Savannahs also have a mind of their own and strong assertiveness. Nevertheless, they are very loving and develop a close bond with their owner. Due to its temperament, the Savannah is not a beginner’s cat and is therefore particularly suitable for experienced cat owners.

Owning and Caring for the Savannah Cat

Savannah’s higher generations have special posture requirements. Savannahs of generations F1 to F4 are considered hybrid breeds and fall under the Species Protection Act. For them, there is an official reporting requirement in some federal states.

The restrictions and prohibitions vary from state to state. In Bavaria, for example, the keeping of Savannah cats of the generation F1 to F4 requires approval, as they are classified as dangerous animals. In addition, an outdoor enclosure of at least 50 square meters and 2.5 meters in height must be available throughout Germany for the Savannahs of the first four generations.

Create Many Employment Opportunities

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On the other hand, you can easily keep Savannahs of the generation F5 and lower indoors. A cat-safe garden or a balcony with a cat net is recommended, however, as the fur noses have a pronounced urge to move.

Their athletic build allows the Savannah cats to jump and climb up to two meters high. It is therefore essential that you have high places in your apartment. A sturdy multi-tier scratching post is also essential. At the same time, various scratching furniture are used for claw care.

In addition to climbing opportunities, Savannah cats also need places to hide or play. You should definitely offer your cat a cat tunnel or playhouse. Intelligence games are also useful to keep the clever animals occupied. If you are bored, your Savannah will attack your home furnishings. Avoid this with secure exercise and employment!

As mentioned earlier, Savannahs should not be kept individually. A feline companion to play and cuddle with comes towards your fur nose.

Regular Visits to the Vet

The fur of the Savannah should be trimmed with a brush or comb from time to time. You should also see your Savannah cat at the vet regularly to get the necessary checkups, vaccinations, and deworming. This is how you make sure that your fur nose stays in good health.

The life expectancy of Savannahs is twelve to 20 years with appropriate nutrition and husbandry.

Diet: Which Feeding Method Should I Choose?

When it comes to nutrition, Savannahs of Generation F1 to F4 are very demanding. It is best to feed them raw feed. Your breeder will be happy to provide you with information on this.

Savannahs from the F5 generation do not have any particular nutritional requirements. Since cats are naturally carnivores, the food should contain a high percentage of meat. Here you have the choice between dry and wet food. Both variants have their advantages and disadvantages. While dry food is compact and easy to store, the liquid content is lower than that of wet food. With dry food, you must therefore always ensure that your cat drinks enough water.

Pay Attention to the Composition of the Feed

When it comes to the choice of feed, the quality is always crucial. The cat food label is arranged in a specific order: the ingredients of the food are sorted by quantity. This means that the ingredients with the highest amount are at the top of the food label. Make sure that the food you choose has a high meat content, i.e. the meat is listed at the top of the label.

The so-called “animal by-products” are to be consumed with caution. Cats also have to eat offal, which comes under animal by-products, but the term often hides waste products such as horn, fur, or organs that are difficult to digest such as rumen or lungs. At best, these by-products are declared openly. This means that the label lists exactly which by-products are contained in the feed. In addition, cereal products should only be supplied in small quantities and should therefore be found at the very bottom of the feed label at best.

Alternatives: Self-cooking and Barps

Other options for feeding your Savannah cat are self-cooking and barfing (organic, species-appropriate raw feeding). Although these methods are complex, they are species-appropriate. However, a prerequisite for these feeding methods is to know the exact needs of your fur nose so that there are no deficiency symptoms. It, therefore, makes sense to find out exactly what amount and type of food and supplements your cat needs with the help of specialist books, veterinarians, and nutritionists.

Where Can You Buy a Savannah Cat?

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In terms of price, you have to reckon with at least 1000 dollars for a Savannah of the lower generation. Depending on the size of the litter and the rising generation, the price can also be in the range of 10,000 dollars.

There are a few things to consider when choosing the right breeder. First of all, it is important that you are with a reputable breeder who has adequate knowledge of the breed and cat genetics. Because only with responsible breeding can inbreeding be avoided and the risk of hereditary diseases reduced.

A breeder should therefore be a member of a breeding association. Correct handling of cats is also important: a professional ensures regular preventive examinations as well as species-appropriate nutrition and housing conditions. The kittens have to stay with the mother for at least twelve weeks because during this time they learn everything they need from the mother cat.

Going to the animal shelter is always recommended. Many fur noses – including pedigree cats – are waiting here for a new home. Maybe you can find your dream cat right there!