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Savannah Information FAQs

What is a Savannah cat?

  • A cross between an African Serval (an exotic cat originally found on the plains of Africa), and a domesticated house cat

  • Noted for their tall and slender bodies, and their big ears

  • One of the newest breeds in the world, with just a few breeders worldwide that have achieved their goal of successfully mating a Serval to a domesticated cat

  • All Foundation Savannahs have an F and a number associated with it to indicate how many generations it is from its Serval ancestor

What does F1, F2, F3 mean?

  • The "F" stands for filial generation

  • The sequence of generations following the hybridization of a Serval crossed with a domestic cat

  • The number is how many generations away from the Serval it is

What does A, B, C, and SBT mean?

  • "A" registered Savannahs are Savannahs with only ONE Savannah parent, usually the Savannah mother and a domestic out-cross sire

  • "B" registered Savannah is one in which both parents are Savannahs, but not all grandparents are Savannahs. For example, crossing an "A" registered Savannah to another "A" registered Savannah will give you B-registered offspring.

  • "C" registered Savannahs are when all four grandparents are Savannahs … or two generations of Savannah to Savannah breeding. Crossing a "B" registered Savannah to another "B" registered Savannah will give you "C" registered Savannah offspring.

  • "SBT" stands for "Stud Book Traditional" and is a Savannah with three generations of Savannah to Savannah breeding – all great-grandparents are Savannahs. Two "C" registered Savannahs will produce a "SBT" Savannah. This is what is considered a purebred Savannah and is the eventual goal of the Savannah breed section.

  • These codes are not terribly important to the pet buyer, but critical to a breeder. To develop this breed, we need to progress through the codes to "SBT". The importance to the pet buyer of codes might simply be that you might expect a "B" kitten to be "more" Savannah than an "A" kitten. This is not true in all cases, as careful selection of the cats is necessary no matter what the letter code is.

Why are Savannahs so expensive?

  • Savannahs are very difficult to breed

  • It takes several years and lots of money to purchase and raise a Serval with several queens

  • Out of these queens few will go on to produce litters

  • Savannahs are very rare thus they are priced accordingly

How big do Savannahs get?

  • F1's usually weigh between 15 to 20 lbs

  • Each subsequent generation will decrease slightly in size until the third and fourth generation where the size stabilizes

  • They should still have the long body and long legs making them appear larger than they really are if properly bred

  • Ultimately, the size of the later generation savannahs will depend on the out-cross used in each generation

  • Savannahs are slow to mature, usually taking 3 full years to reach full size

  • Depends very much on the size and type of their parents and also of the percentage of wild blood they have from the Serval

Which has a better temperament, a male or female?

  • Gender appears to have no impact on temperament

Do Savannahs get along well with other animals?

  • With proper socialization as they are growing up, you will find they will become buddies with all other animals that do not represent food to them naturally

  • It is not recommended that an F1 or F2 Savannah be placed in a home with birds or parrots

  • F1 and F2 Savannahs might also be a bit too much for hamsters or gerbils, as they are extremely intelligent could easily figure out how to open the lid on the habitat

Do Savannahs get along with children?

  • Savannahs seem to instinctively take up very well with children

  • Care should be taken when placing any Savannah in a household with infants or very small children

Can Savannahs eat cat food?

  • Yes - they are considered domestic cats and eat the premium cat foods on the market

Do Savannahs need inoculations like other cats?

  • Kittens should receive their first veterinary visit and set of vaccines by 8 weeks of age

  • They should be isolated from all outdoor cats, and those not current on their vaccines until they are at least 14 weeks and after their last set of vaccines

  • It is wise to have household pets tested for feline leukemia before bringing home the new kitten (if they have not been tested previously) and brought up to date on their shots.

  • Veterinarians will have different vaccination schedules and requirements for rabies shots

  • Kittens should be tested for internal parasites (worms) and de-wormed if indicated, especially if there are young children in the house as roundworms can be passed to children through cat feces

  • NEVER give a cat ANY medication that has not been prescribed by a veterinarian

  • Cats may not metabolize medications the same way people and dogs do and may react poorly to them

  • Tylenol can actually be fatal to a cat within hours, and aspirin can also be fatal unless dosed by a vet

  • Kittens are like other babies....they do not tolerate dehydration, vomiting or not eating for long

  • If your kitten is playful and appears normal, but has vomited once or had diarrhea, call the vet for consultation during office hours

  • If your kitten is lethargic, you may want to call an emergency center

  • Kittens do not tolerate sudden food changes, and even a different flavor of the same brand of food may cause a digestive upset

  • Fleas and ticks can happen in any household, especially if there is an outdoor dog

  • Be VERY CAREFUL what you put on your kitten...a veterinary prescribed product is safest

  • Do not use products for your dog that can harm cats

  • Even being in the same house with a dog treated with a toxic product can affect the cat

  • Some over the counter flea products for cats can cause very toxic reactions

What is the Savannah life span?

  • Many domestic cats live as long as 15 plus years, and Servals have been known to live as long as 17-20 years

  • There is no reason to believe that the Savannah cat’s longevity would be any less, especially in light of “hybrid” vigor that usually results from crossing two species

Do Savannahs like water?

  • It is believed that highly active cats tend to want to play in water

  • Many of the Savannahs do find pleasure playing in water, as Servals love to play in water

  • It comes natural for a Savannah to enjoy it as well

Are Savannahs 'trainable' like a dog?

  • Savannahs are highly intelligent and can be trained to do many things

  • They are not as versatile with their tricks as a dog

  • Savannah's love to walk on a leash and they learn easily

  • They can be taught to walk on a leash, sit, lie down, take their mark, and jump through a hoop, fetch, and other simple tricks

Are males bigger than females?

  • Male kittens in most litters are generally larger than their female litter mates

Should you allow a Savannah to wander freely outside?

  • Absolutely not, and for several reasons:

  • The danger of being run over is very real for a cat on the street

  • The Savannah could wander into a yard and that person may decide to keep it or there, could be a dog there that could maul or kill it.

  • If you live in a rural area, there are several wild animals that will take a cat's life

  • It might get lost and not come home.

How high can Savannahs jump?

  • They will most likely be able to jump as high as the highest place in your home is within a leap or two

Do Savannahs climb fences (like chain link)?

  • Yes, they can climb almost any type fence

Do sterile males need to be neutered?

  • Yes, the sterile males will need to be fixed around 5 months of age

  • Although sterile, they still have the male hormones and will most likely start to spray and mark their territory

What of litter box habits do Savannahs have? Does it vary between generations?

  • Kittens that are raised by their Mom’s generally have little to no difficulties using the litter boxes

  • Kittens that are bottle fed should be placed in a small room with other kittens, who will teach the new kitten all about hygiene

  • The breeder should do this prior to placing the kitten in its new home

  • This is another reason why kittens should not go to their new homes until they are 10-12 weeks of age

  • Small kittens should be confined to a small room, or sometimes a cage, until their litter habits are perfected and they remember where the litter box is

  • Of course, as with ANY cat, there is ALWAYS the chance that an individual cat may refuse to use a litter box

  • There are many reasons for this, but they are almost always environmental.

Will Savannah cats really open doors cabinets and drawers?

  • Early generations, the F1's and F2's, are well known for being able to open cabinet doors

  • They can open any leaver door, as they learn very quickly

  • Not that many have the knack of turning a door knob

  • Many can open drawers

Are there any known breed specific health risks/problems?

  • In general, Savannah cats and kittens are very healthy and there are no known, breed-specific, diseases or afflictions to date

Do you need to childproof the home?

  • Absolutely! All babies and especially inquisitive kittens can get into trouble

  • You should keep a kitten in a small safe room until it is perfect in the litter box

  • Check your home for safety, as kittens can ingest small objects such as rubber bands, string, tiny plastic objects, coins, parts of toys, and small rubber objects

  • Look for holes that kittens can fit in, such as uncovered floor vents

  • They love to crawl behind dressers and desks and into drawers

  • Check for poisonous plants and heavy objects that could fall on them

  • Put away precious knickknacks or secure them

  • Kittens can chew on electrical cords and die or have severe mouth damage from the shock

  • Cover wires and cords or run them through PVC pipe

  • Check for human medications that may have spilled on the floor, as they can be deadly

  • Remove any poisons, especially mouse bait

  • Put lids down on toilets and be careful with full bathtubs

  • Watch for hanging drape cords, as playing kittens can strangle in them

  • Rocking and lounge chairs pose a big hazard, as kittens can be injured easily by the mechanisms

  • As your kitten grows watch out for the hot stove, and easy to open cupboards

  • Sneaking out the door is something to watch for, and be careful closing any door as they like to run through them

  • Some kittens never seem to get into trouble and others are always into things

  • Attention to safety issues will give you peace of mind no matter your kitten's personality

How do I go about acquiring my kitten?

  • Decide what type of kitten will best suit your family environment (Do you want a high energy kitten or one that is more laid back?)

  • Decide what your budgetary constraints are

  • Decide whether you are willing to pick up your kitten in person, or if it will be necessary to have your kitten shipped to you.

  • Call the breeder(s) and determine they have kittens available that meet your requirements (as determined above)

  • If the breeder(s) you wish to purchase from do not have kittens available, decide if you are willing to place your name on their waiting list, or if you would rather alter your requirements in order to be able to purchase your kitten sooner

  • If you DO decide to place your name on a breeder's waiting list, and then ultimately purchase from a different breeder, please have the courtesy to notify the first breeder of your decision so that they can remove your name from their list and give your position on their list to the next in line

  • Once you determine that your breeder of choice has an available kitten, request a copy of that breeder's purchase agreement.

  • READ IT CAREFULLY. Ask any questions you may have, and obtain any clarifications that are needed UP FRONT!

  • When you have agreed upon the terms of purchase, give that breeder a deposit to hold your kitten. (Most breeders will not hold a kitten without a deposit.)

  • If, for any reason, your situation changes and you are NOT able to take he kitten agreed upon, notify the breeder AT ONCE!

  • Failure to do so may result in forfeiture of your deposit and/or legal ramifications, if the breeder has turned away other buyers for that kitten

  • Make sure you understand the deposit agreement BEFORE you decide to purchase a kitten

  • Buying a Savannah is, not only a big monetary investment, but is a life long commitment to the care and welfare of that kitten

  • Be sure you are willing to take on this life-long commitment BEFORE you assume the financial commitment

Are there waiting lists?

  • These kittens can be high in demand so one may not be available immediately

  • You may have to go on a waiting list or contact several breeders to find a kitten

  • Some breeders may require a deposit to go on their wait list

What is the average length of time to wait for a kitten?

  • It often depends on what generation kitten you are interested in (For example, for an F1 male a waiting list of 12 months is not unusual, and an F2 male you may be lucky enough to find one available, or have to wait for a few months until the next litter is born)

  • This wait would also be dependent upon your specificity. If you want a kitten from a specific pairing, of course your wait might be a lot longer than if you were on several breeders’ wait lists for any kitten

Why has the Savannah been called the 'Most Desired' new breed?

  • Many people dream of sharing their lives with an exotic cat, but due to laws prohibiting them, in addition to very few of us having the proper space and facilities to keep a wild cat, our dreams would go unfulfilled if it were not for this magnificent breed

  • The Savannah breed allows us to share our lives with a feline that encompasses the best of both worlds…all the majesty, grace and beauty of the wild cat without the undesirable traits usually associated with owning a full blooded exotic

  • Much like other high-energy domestic breeds, the Savannah cat thrives in a home environment. They are intelligent, affectionate, and quite dog-like in their behavior and interaction with members of the family. They are very social animals, by nature, and bond quickly to humans and pets. They are self confident and curious creatures, with a warm and loving personality.

  • The beauty, grace and intelligence of the Savannah, coupled with their warm, affectionate personality account for the Savannah cat being referred to as “the most desired new breed”

Source information for this page can be found at Wild Trax Exotics, and A1 Savannahs.