Savannah Cat: Cat Breed Information, Characteristics and Facts
Presenting both tricky challenges and wonderful rewards, the Savannah cat is a popular choice amongst feline lovers. They are both highly energetic and highly intelligent, which means that they offer hours of fun and entertainment. Their adaptability helps them to fit into a range of different households – including those with kids and/or other pets.
However, it is important to bear in mind that they are not for everyone. If you are looking for a kitty to while away the hours on your lap, a Savannah is probably not for you. This is down to how much energy they have – needing plenty of mental and physical stimulation each and every day. A lack of this stimulation can lead them to becoming bored and finding their own destructive ways of keeping themselves busy.
If you have still not made your mind up about getting a Savannah cat or want some more information about the kitty you already own, this is the blog post for you. Let’s start with a little bit more info about their history.
History of the Savannah Cat
There is no doubt that the Savannah is an exotic looking cat, but it doesn’t have the same long history as other domestic felines. In fact, it is a relatively new breed of cat that was developed over time after a domestic cat and a medium-sized Africn wild cat produced the first one in 1986. Once one was created, some professional breeders got involved, fascinated by the physical appearance and personality traits that Savannah showed.
Plenty of cats were involved in creating the Savannahs that we know today including Bengals, Egyptian Maus, and Oriental Shorthairs. The breed was officially registered in 2001 – and given full breed recognition – or championship status – in 2012.
While the history of Savannah cats is relatively short, they have quickly become a highly popular breed amongst cat lovers. Of course, they can certainly be quite pricey as well, so you need to ensure that you have the funds to not only buy one, but also be able to look after them properly once you bring your kitty home.
Quick Facts About the Savannah
So, let’s cast our eyes in a little more detail to find out a bit more about Savannah cats.
Savannahs have a lean and muscular build with short, thick tails, long limbs, and a long neck. Stood side by side with many domestic felines, the Savannah will look quite tall. However, they are officially classified as a medium-sized breed. But size can vary significantly from cat to cat. As for their weight, it can range anywhere between 8 and 20 pounds. One feature which is often commented on is the hooded eyes of the cat, which appear flat on top. Its ears appear large and tall – sitting right on the top of their head.
The classic look of the Savannah cat is a marble pattern, though others appear to have a snow coloration or diluted colors including black, silver, and smoke. Genetic breeding has a big weight on the way that they appear, but even the most talented of breeders cannot guarantee what color the kittens are going to come out.
It takes around three years before they reach adult size, but they may reach their maximum height within just three months – it just takes longer for their body to fill out fully. Another neat little fact is that their back legs are a little longer than their front legs! F1 males are nearly the biggest type of Savannah cat that you can own.
Before you decide to adopt a Savannah, you should go with a clear list of questions that you want answered. You want to know how well they get along with other animals, as well as how old they are, whether there are any known health issues and their energy levels. And you should have your cat checked over by the vet soon after adoption to make sure that there are no underlying health issues causing a problem.
As for the price, this depends on the closeness to the original ancestors. F1s are the closest and can fetch up to $16,000. As for F5s, they tend to cost between $1,000 and $2,500.
Things You Should Know
Now we will look at some of the other things that you should know about Savannahs to help the two of you enjoy a happy and healthy relationship. To start off with, we will discuss any health concerns that you may have with your cat. Next, we will look into feeding and what you can offer them to keep them in peak physical condition. Savannahs also have some specific issues regarding care and grooming, which both have their individual sections below. And we finish with a section on their temperament, which is quite a unique aspect of the Savannah cat – and one you want to make sure that you are ready to handle
To take proper care of your Savannah cat, it is important that you know more about their health and any conditions that they are predisposed to developing. Savannahs have a direct lineage from the Serval cat, which means that they may have a small liver for their body size. Ketamine can have complications for the breed as it is metabolized through the liver. It is worth giving your vet the head’s up in case they weren’t aware.
Taurine deficiency is another potential issue. This nutrient found in meat and fish is essential for cats, so it is important that you offer your kitty a high protein diet that is also grain-free – or low in grain. Therefore, you may decide that the best course of action is to give your cat premium cat food.
But in terms of general health, Savannahs are known to be healthy and athletic, which is unlike many pedigreed or mixed-breed cats. There are currently no known genetic problems.
Overall, Savannah cats are healthy, hardy and athletic, and are considered to be one of the healthiest of the domestic feline breeds. Of course, obesity is a common issue which is becoming more and more prevalent amongst domesticated cats – and it is one of the most dangerous conditions for them. Savannahs usually have the exercise instinct themselves, but you can help by watching what you feed them. Which leads perfectly onto the next section…
We have just mentioned the importance of diet to Savannah cats, so let’s look closer at what you should be feeding your kitty. First, let’s start by looking at what you should be feeding Savannah kittens. When they are between 0 and 8 weeks old, they should be fed a diet of raw- ground chicken supplemented by vitamins and minerals. Towards the end of this period, you can start mixing in wet cat food with a chicken-based formula. Between 9 and 12 weeks, you can start weaning your cat entirely onto wet food. You can then start introducing them to some dry cat food kibble, but you don’t need to rush at this stage.
Once your Savannah is full-grown, you may decide that the time has come to make the switch to a dry cat food. Other owners prefer to stick to a raw diet, but this presents its own set of challenges, and you need to know what you are doing. What is not up for debate is that the primary part of your diet consists of meat. Poultry-based recipes that feature chicken or duck are generally best.
It is also worth looking further down the ingredient list too. Dry cat food often features potatoes or sweet potatoes, which can be beneficial. If the carbs are too low quality, this can lead to future health complications. Be wary of food that contains too much corn, wheat, or rice. Don’t just be seduced by the low price tag as you may be compromising your cat’s health.
Now we come onto the issue of care. Unlike many sedentary domestic felines, Savannahs need plenty of physical exercise. If you have an outdoor cat, they have plenty of exercise opportunities, but if you keep your cat indoors, you should buy some toys and play with them on a regular basis. The downside of allowing your cat to roam outdoors is that they could get attacked by a larger species or stolen by opportunists looking to get their hands on a rare and exotic species of cat. Also, Savannahs are highly adept hunters, so there is every chance that they will get to work decimating your local bird and rodent population!
If you have a large enough back yard, a good solution is to create an enclosure for your kitty. Regardless of which living situation you choose, Savannahs like plenty of human interaction, so you should make a special effort to show them plenty of love and affection on a regular basis.
Brushing your cat’s coat once or twice a week will help to remove any dead hair and spread skin oils evenly. Also, brushing your cat’s teeth on a regular basis will help to prevent dental disease. Getting into a good habit of brushing can be quite challenging for many cat owners, but if you start off at a young age, it is often easier. Bear in mind that no brushing will almost inevitably lead to some sort of periodontal disease. You should get a scratching post for your cat so they can work off this natural instinct. Otherwise, you are likely to find that it is your furniture that gets ripped to shreds! The other main advantage of a post is that it allows you can to stretch out their spine and muscles.
As we mentioned earlier, grooming your Savannah on a regular basis will help to keep their coat in tip-top condition. They have a short coat which takes weekly brushing to maintain properly. Most cats love the attention you give when they are being groomed, and they are less likely to cough up hairballs and leave fur all over the house. However, for short-haired cats, this is certainly less problematic than their longer-haired counterparts.
As for other grooming advice, it generally follows the things that you would do for other cats. You should get into the habit of trimming their nails on a regular basis – weekly is a good idea. Also, providing a scratching post will allow them to look after their own nail health. Checking their ears for any bad smells or rashes. You can wipe them down yourself with a dampened cotton ball and ear cleanser. Invest in a special cat toothbrush and toothpaste, so you can take care of their dental hygiene. You can also book them in for professional dental cleanings as needed.
Savannah cats are known for their high energy levels, so don’t think that they will be happy simply lounging around the house all day like other domesticated felines. First-time cat owners may struggle to deal with their incredible sense of adventure and intelligence. If you aren’t giving enough of your attention for their liking, they may find unique and creative ways of getting it! F1 cats are generally the toughest to deal with as they have the most ‘wildness’ in them. While they can’t be trained in exactly the same way as dogs, you can still reward them with treats and love when they demonstrate behavior that you like. Any special belongings should be kept well out of the reach of Savannahs, who like to play with anything and everything that they can get their paws on! If all of this is starting to sound like a little too much to handle, you are better off choosing a quieter and calmer breed of cat.
Since they have such an athletic body, they need to have the chance to exercise it properly. While all cats have an element of curiosity about them, this seems even higher in Savannahs, who love roaming around and exploring. This is a cat who loves climbing and hiding. Remove anything breakable from your shelves as these could easily be knocked off by a roaming Savannah. Unlike most cats, they may even try to seek out water for playing! Providing some cat furniture like towers or window perches gives them the chance to make their own entertainment. Interactive puzzle toys can also provide hours of fun – especially if they offer treats as a reward. It is a combination of mental and physical stimulation that Savannahs crave.
In fact, in many ways, they behave like dogs. You can even train your Savannah to walk along on a leash with you or fetch objects! If you have a family, this is a good choice of cat. Of course, you should teach your kids to respect your cat at the earliest possible opportunity. If you have a dog, most Savannahs will get along well with them, but it may take some time for them to get used to one another. They get on well with other high-energy cat breeds, but may prove to be a little irritating to those who enjoy lounging around the house for hours on end. Their affectionate nature means that they get along well with strangers, and they are unlikely to cower away in the same way that many cats are liable to doing.
Always bear in mind that it is dangerous for some smaller pets to be around active hunting cats, so if you have fish, hamsters, guinea pigs or something else that is potential prey, you should be especially wary. Savannahs are cunning and can even bypass any barriers that you put in their way.
If you are looking for a beautiful, loving, and high-energy cat, the Savannah could be the one for you. Of course, as we mentioned at the start, they are not for everyone as they are high-energy and need plenty of attention. They score highly on the adaptability scale, so they fit into a variety of different households. In terms of genetic health problems, there is nothing specific to speak of, but you should have your cat checked out before you take them home and address any concerns at the earliest possible opportunity.
Before you adopt a Savannah cat, you should make sure that you choose a reputable breeder. Try to get a personal recommendation if this is possible. Of course, the internet is an invaluable tool that allows you to see reviews sourced from previous adopters. If you can meet the parents of your kitten to get a better understanding of their temperament, this can also help. On the whole, Savannah owners don’t regret their choice and love the years of laughs and companionship that they can provide.