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Is the Savannah right for you?

The basics:
The Savannah is an exceptionally tall domestic cat with many of the features of the wild African Serval – one of the foundations of its breed. Early generations, F1 and F2 Savannahs, may be between 14”-17” tall – by comparison, your average domestic cat is between 9”-12” tall! The Savannah’s exotic appearance doesn’t end at size: a hooded brow, extra tall ears, and a field of spotted fur rounds out their wild look.

The original Savannah was a domestic cat/Serval cross but later Egyptian Maus, Oriental Shorthairs, Ocicats, and Domestic Shorthairs were used to diversify the breed. Many Savannah fanciers claim that early generation Savannahs (F1, F2, F3) are as suitable in homes as the later generations, lacking the usual undesirable traits of early generation hybrids in other breeds.

What you can expect from a Savannah is an athletic, exuberant, and even dog-like cat. Not for the faint of heart, the Savannah has a reputation as intelligent and just a little mischievousness. You’ll never be bored with a Savannah in your life, but prepared to make sure your Savannah feels the same about you: a bored Savannah is likely to find creative ways to get your attention. They’ll need lots of exercise and array of interesting toys – but in exchange, you’ll find the Savannah is as loyal and dedicated as the household dog.

Appearance / health:
The Savannah is a long cat with long legs and many of the features of the wild African Serval. Despite their apparent size, later generation Savannah’s weigh much less than they appear, and are often no heavier than a large domestic cat – between 12 and 16 pounds. The early generations, F1 and F2, are considerably taller than other domestics, and are closer to 17-22 pounds. All generations of the Savannah are long, lean, and well-muscled. They are deep chested with prominent shoulder blades. The Savannah’s back end may appear a bit out of proportion with the front, having full and heavy hips and thighs and a slightly rounded rump. The back legs are slightly longer than the front. The feet are medium and oval. The tail is somewhat thick, medium in length, and tapering to a blunted tip.

Sitting atop a long and lean neck, the Savannah’s is somewhat small in proportion to the rest of the body. It’s triangular in shape with a tapered muzzle, a slightly convex forehead transitioning to a slightly concave nose from the ridge of the eyes to the tip of the nose. The nose is wide with a slight downturn at the end, giving a rounded appearance. When seen in profile, the chin appears to protrude slightly. The Savannah’s ears are significantly oversized, and sit high on the head, very upright. They have a deep base and rounded tips. Long wisps of hair may be present from the inside edges of the ear. The Savannah’s eyes are notable for their slightly hooded brow. The eyes themselves are medium shape, with a flattened upper curve and an almond-shaped lower curve. They are moderately deep set. Tear staining may be present. All eye colors are acceptable.

The Savannah’s coat is short to medium in length with a somewhat course outer coat and a softer undercoat. The coat lies flat to the cat’s body. In the Savannah, colors most closely resembling that of their wild Serval foundation are most desired. They may be brown, silver, black, and smoke. A buttery gold base coat with black spots may occur, and is registered as a brown tabby. All Savannahs should be spotted. The spots should be solid (rosettes are not preferred) and a round or oval shape. Parallel black stripes run from the back of the head, over the shoulder blades, and fan out over the back. The spots follow the same pattern along the sides of the body. The legs and feet may have smaller spots.

Behavior / temperament:
Like most of the hybrids, the Savannah is not a breed for the casual owner. Smart, active, athletic, and somewhat demanding, this cat is doglike in many ways. The Savannah will need regular opportunities to exercise and in particular, places to climb. Because of the Savannah’s wild look, letting this cat roam the neighborhood isn’t advised. Specially built outdoor enclosures and fence-in systems are an ideal way to ensure your Savannah gets the stimulation it needs. They are also very responsive to leash training and even clicker training.

The Savannah is curious and a little mischievous. Some Savannah owners describe them as having a sense of humor. If your Savannah is feeling neglected, you may find them acting out in creative ways, from knocking knick-knacks onto your head from shelves high above, or dropping their favorite toy into your drink. They are known to play tag, hiding behind curtains or under beds, and darting out when you least expect it to tag your ankles. It’s a good idea to keep a wide variety of toys in the house for your Savannah, including interactive toys and more complex puzzle toys.

Don’t think the Savannah is all games, however. They have a loyal and affectionate side, and treasure time spent with you. The Savannah is not a cat you can leave alone for long periods of time. While they may not be a lap cat, they’ll never be far from your side. They’ll be at the door to greet you when you get home and they’ll curl up at the food of the bed at night.

Because of the Savannah’s size and exuberance, they’ll do better in families with older children and active adults. They often get along quite well with cat-friendly dogs, even forming bonds of friendship. Having a second cat in the home is a good way to ensure your Savannah doesn’t get too lonely while you’re gone, but you should probably choose cats with similar, active personalities, like the Abyssinian, Siamese, or other hybrids. Think twice about bringing birds and other small animals into your home: with keen predatory instincts and the exceptional problem-solving abilities, even closed doors may not be enough to keep hamster safe! Even fish aren’t safe: the Savannah has a reputation for being quite fond of water!


great family pets, laugh, exotic appearance, doglike personalities, high energy


mischievous nature, claws, SUPER expensive cats, destructiveness


shower, crazy jumping abilities, toilet paper rolls, LOVE water, leash outdoor

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