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The Savannah is one of the newest and most sought after cat breeds due to its wild heritage. However, being such a recent breed, there is a lot of misunderstanding around them. Savannah cats are a cross between a wild African serval and a domestic cat and are one of the biggest breeds today.
Many cat lovers are attracted to this wild-looking kitty because of its exotic spotted coat, large ears, and elegant long neck. While high maintenance, Savannah’s are not dangerous, and ownership is legal in the UK, except for first generations.
Savannahs are certainly not for everyone. So, if you’re considering getting a mini cheetah like this, you should do your research beforehand and ask our Cat Breed Specialist for an advice if this is a right pet for you.
Meet the Savannah
While a Savannah may look small and cute as a kitten, these felines get big! As adults, they can weigh anything between 12 and 25 pounds, and they will grow to about 20-22 inches long and 14-17 inches tall. Their size and weight depend on their generation, though, with later generations typically being smaller.
Savannahs have a slim but athletic build with long legs and well-defined muscles. They have a short to medium-length spotted coat, which will be either black and brown, black and silver or black-smoke.
Savannahs have a small head and a long neck. Their ears are large, round and erect, and their eyes are almond-shaped with a faint hood and a dark tear duct line. Savannahs live just as long as other domestic felines, between 12 and 20 years, depending on the quality of their care.
The temperament of a Savannah
When many people think of a Savannah, one of the first questions that come to mind is, “are they dangerous?” Of course, being a new cat breed coming from African cat descendants, it’s normal to have this concern.
It’s important to note that different generations of Savannah cats can be bred and sold. First-generation (F1) Savannahs are technically half-wild, whereas later generations, such as F2, F3, and F4, are more domesticated. With each new generation, the Savannah becomes tamer, easier to care for, and less likely to act dangerously or aggressively.
In Great Britain, Savannah ownership is legal for F2, F3 and F4 generations. However, only people with a Dangerous Wild Animal Licence can own the first-generation Savannah. The breed is banned in some US states, or only F4 and later generations are legal.
Savannah cats develop solid bonds with their owners and are as loving and affectionate as other domestic cats. They always like to be in your presence and make loyal companions that will follow you around the house. Some Savannahs can be fearful of strangers, whereas others are more confident. The key is to ensure your Savannah kitten gets plenty of exposure to different humans from an early age.
Savannahs are highly intelligent and curious kitties. They can learn to open cupboards and doors, so you’ll need to find a good hiding place for their food! You can also train your Savannah to walk on a leash or even to fetch. These clever kitties need new challenges regularly and frequent exercise, so taking them for walks on a leash can be a good idea.
10 reasons to add a Savannah to your family
- They make devoted companions - Savannahs have a dog-like loyalty to their owners. They will seek to protect you by always staying by your side and lying by your feet at night.
- They are highly intelligent - Being such clever cats, they are easy to clicker-train, leash train, and teach various tricks and games.
- They have exotic looks - Their leopard-like coats and large size gives them a wonderfully wild appearance, unique from any domestic cat.
- You don’t need to groom them - They may be needy in other ways, but Savannahs require no grooming as they take care of their short coats well enough themselves.
- You can raise them with other animals - As kittens, Savannahs lovingly accept and become friends with other animals in the home. So if you have an existing pet, your Savannah will shower them with affection, just like how they do with you.
- You can take them for walks - Savannahs love to walk on a leash and adore taking outdoor adventures with their favourite humans.
- They love water - Unlike many domestic breeds, Savannahs have no fear of water. Like a dog, they will play in their water bowl and probably follow you into the shower, too!
- They are very healthy - Savannahs are a hardy breed with almost no genetic health problems. The only concern is that they are more prone to hypertrophic cardiomyopathy than other breeds.
- They are a super exclusive breed - As well as being the most exotic cat you can own, they are also one of the rarest.
- Having a Savannah is extremely rewarding - These mini cheetahs may be a lot of work and demand much of your attention. Still, they will repay you in a lifetime of love and affection.
Best homes for a Savannah
Savannahs require a lot of attention and can be pretty demanding. So, if you don’t have much free time and are not home regularly, a Savannah is not a good choice. Likewise, they can be an overwhelming pet for those becoming kitten parents for the first time.
It’s a misconception that Savannah cats are dangerous. These kitties are not savages in the slightest, but they can be destructive to their surroundings if they do not get the attention and playtime they require. Therefore, a Savannah is best suited to owners who have plenty of free time, do not work full time away from home, and have experience with cats.
Savannahs also need a larger living space than other domestic cats, so they are not suitable for those who live in small apartments. In addition, they love to jump and can leap up to 8 feet high thanks to their long legs. Therefore, standard cat trees may not be sufficient for a Savannah, so it’s best to fit some elevated platforms for them to explore and perch on.