If you’re a cat lover and you like your pets a little wild, then you may just want to consider a Savannah cat. With the African serval cat as the basis of the breed and being crossed with exotic cat breeds such as the Egyptian Mau, the Ocicats, and oriental shorthairs, the Savannah cat breed is an interesting mix of feline beauty and grace. They’re tall, lean, and energetic, making it necessary to find higher calorie food to feed your cat if you want to keep them healthy.
Let’s find out everything you need to know before getting a Savannah kitten.
A Little History
Joyce Sroufe and Patrick Kelly heard of a female kitten that had been sired by an African serval cat to a domestic cat named Savannah. They quickly went to investigate. In awe of how beautiful the kitten was, they decided to create a whole new cat breed with Savannah as the foundation.
After the first generation of Savannahs was born, Joyce realized that creating a new cat breed wasn’t going to be easy. Since the domestic cat and the African serval were completely different species, males of the first generation were infertile. Most of the female kittens, however, were fertile.
Joyce bred F1 Savannahs with domestic cats to create F2 Savannahs or second-generation Savannahs. She later discovered that the males were also infertile. Joyce continued to do extensive research on her breeding and found that the males started becoming fertile at around the 4th generation. However, it was only a small percentage of males that were fertile.
Fertility among the males improved in the 5th and 6th generations. Joyce continued her breeding program, which resulted in the modern-day Savannah. It was only until 2012 that The International Cat Association (TICA) recognized the Savannah as a distinctive breed of cat.
The Savannah cat appears slender and tall. That said, they’re similar in size to most large cat breeds. They have long ears that sit at the top of the head, a long neck, as well as a short and thick tail.
Savannahs come in varying base colors, which could range anywhere from black, silver-spotted tabby, black smoke, marbled, and brown-spotted tabby.
The cat’s fur has bold-colored spots that can be elongated, roundish or oval. These spots can be either bold black or brown in color. The face, as well as the front and back feet, have small spots. There are also stripes running through the back of the cat.
Savannah Cat Generations
Breeders use the letter “F” and numbers 1 to 5 to classify Savannah cats based on the amount of serval genetics in the cat. The numbers describe how many generations the Savannah is from its serval ancestry.
Savannah cat sizes differ based on how close they are to their serval ancestry. Generally, F1 cats are much larger than F2s. Similarly, F4 cats are larger than F5 cats. You can use this information to identify a Savannah cat.
Savannahs are definitely not the breed of cat for first-time cat owners. They’re highly intelligent, energetic, and curious. They’re playful and will have a lot of fun running around and climbing stuff. These traits mean that they require a lot of patience and attention.
Make sure that there are a lot of vertical structures as Savannah cats simply love to climb.
Their high energy and intelligence can also often get them in trouble. They can find escape routes and go off roaming.
Savannahs also enjoy learning tricks. Thus, you should get your cat interactive toys to engage their minds. At night, they will seek out your attention and cuddle close to you.
Savannah Cat Health
Savannah cats are generally a healthy breed, which they get from their wild ancestor, the serval. However, when buying a kitten, always do so from a breeder who is able to provide a health guarantee. That’s why, you should be wary of unusual behavior that your cat is showing as there might be something wrong with them.
When you get your kitten, it’s important that you understand how to keep your Savannah cat healthy. For instance, obese cats are at a higher risk of developing health complications. Always keep your cat at a healthy weight by feeding them enough food and not too much.
Grooming Your Savannah
Savannahs are a short-furred breed, which means they require minimal grooming. Brushing your cat’s fur just once a week is enough and will help reduce the number of furballs that you find around the house.
Savannah cats are a relatively new breed only recently recognized as a champion breed by TICA in May of 2012. If you have previous experience raising cats, and you can handle a more energetic and curious cat than what you’re used to, then a Savannah cat may be just what you’re looking for.