If you’re thinking of a feline addition to your family, then you have probably gone through numerous cat breeds looking for the most appropriate breed for you and your family’s lifestyle. While many people go for popular breeds because that’s what they grew up with or what they’re used to, some look for more exotic breeds which will fully match their personality.
If you are a person with an active lifestyle, or simply have a passion for interesting and fascinating pets, then you probably aren’t best served by looking for a regular domestic cat. What you should look into are Savannah cats – the exploration alone is worth your time.
The Savannah cat is a relatively new domestic cat breed, with the first cat being born on April 7th, 1986. It is the result of mating between a medium-large, wild African cat (the serval) and a domestic cat (regardless of its breed). Even though it may look like a regular cat at first glance (especially if it’s young), the Savannah cat is larger than any domestic cat you’ll ever see. The Savannah essentially has taken the friendly nature of a regular domestic cat and combined it with the unique physical characteristics of the serval, which features a yellowish or tanned fur with black spots (and sometimes even black lines), long legs (which make it look larger and heavier than it really is), and large ears.
The Savannah cat has also taken a lot of the behavioral features from the serval. This intelligent cat can be taught to walk with a leash (like a dog), play fetch, and loves to play in the water (something a normal cat hates to do). In addition to that, Savannah cats are extremely social both with human beings and other animals. So if you have children or other animals in your house, this cat should not cause you any issues.
Savannah cats were recognized as a breed by TICA in 2001, and are legal in most U.S. states. There are states, however, that have certain rules and regulations regarding this breed, so you should explore the rules for your state before actually purchasing a Savannah.
Overall, Savannah cats can be great companions, especially for those who have long dreamed of an active, playful, and sociable cat. Its exotic look and friendly personality will capture the heart of everyone who meets it.
Types of Savannah Cats
Although the Savannah cat stands in a class of its own when it comes to domestic cats, there are several different types of Savannah cats, which vary primarily based on the cat’s generation (how far removed it is from the original domestic cat/Serval mating). Each generation of Savannah cat is marked by a filial number (F1, F2, etc.). The different types are explained below:
This is the most difficult type of Savannah cat to produce, as it is the offspring of the domestic cat and Serval. In other words, this Savannah is generally 50% Serval. In some cases, F1 Savannah cats contain a higher percentage of Serval genes – for example, if an F1 Savannah (50% Serval) mates with a Serval, you would have a Savannah that is 75% Serval.
These types of Savannah cats (F1) are the largest and most exotic due to their close proximity to the Serval. F1 males are 17-30 pounds and F1 females are 13 to 19 pounds. Because of the F1′s highly Serval nature, this Savannah will typically only bond to one or two people (presumably, its owners) and will not have interest in socializing with others. Despite this, they are not aggressive with people, so this shouldn’t be a concern.
F2 males generally range from 16 to 30 pounds and females range from 12 to 16 pounds. Because this Savannah cat is further removed from the Serval, it’s usually more social than an F1 Savannah, but still is not a lap cat (nor does it really like being held).
Despite this, they love to play and be petted, which makes them preferable over the F1 as a family pet. They still retain the exotic look and intelligent behavior displayed by the F1 Savannah, so the F2 might be called “the best of both worlds.”
F3 males range from 14 to 20 pounds and females range from 10 to 13 pounds. Although these Savannah cats are not quite as large as the F1 and F2 types, they are still very large for domestic cats, and have incredibly social and friendly temperaments. These Savannahs like human contact a bit more (meaning they usually like to be held and will sit on your lap), making them a great, intelligent family-friendly pet.
F4 & F5 Generations
We’re grouping these together because they are very similar in appearance and temperament. In terms of weight, these types of Savannah cats are actually very similar to the F3 generation, except that they are more likely to develop toward the lower end of the range. Of all Savannah cats, these are the most social and hands-on types, however they are also the furthest from the Serval predecessor. Even so, this Savannah’s character is still more active and intelligent when compared to normal domestic cats.