The Savannah

A Savannah cat is a cross between a domesticated cat and the serval, a medium sized wild African cat with big ears. The unusual cross became popular among breeders at the end of the 90’s and in 2001 TICA recognized the species as a separate cat breed.

In May 2012 the breed was accepted as Championship Breed or the species is allowed to compete for points at TICA organized shows. Judee Frank, an American breeder, crossed a male serval with a siamese to give birth to the first Savannah cat on April 7, 1986.

In the year 2001 the Savannah was recognized by TICA, in May 2012 the breed was accepted as Championship Breed and Savannah cat may participate in TICA organized shows from 2012.

What is a Savannah SBT?

A Savannah SBT is a Savannah of at least generation F4 SBT in which the parents and ancestors are Savannah. If a breeder breeds pure without crosses (with the exception of the serval) you would encounter the following generations.

  • F1 A
  • F2 B
  • F3 C
  • F4 SBT
  • F5 SBT
  • F6 SBT
  • F7 SBT
  • F8 SBT

Physical appearance

The long and slender appearance of the Savannah cat gives the impression that the animal is bigger than they weigh. Size is very dependent on generation and gender. Male F1 cats (Filial 1) are cats of the first generation which are normally the largest. F1 and F2 cats are bigger than subsequent generations because with them the genetic influence of the African serval as an ancestor is much bigger than with later generations.

Male Savannahs are bigger than females. The first generations can weigh 9 kilo or more and F2 and F3 neutered cats can weigh the most, but these are exceptions. Later generations usually weigh between 3 and 13 kilograms. Because different factors influence genes, Savannah cats can vary in size and weight, even in one litter.

The coat of a Savannah depends on the domesticated cat used for cross breeding. Previous generations have a kind of black dots on a lighter coat. The TICA breeding standard describe a brown dotted stripe pattern (cold to warm brown, tinted or gold with black or dark brown dots) and a black smoke (black dotted silver with black dots).

In general, the appearance of individual Savannah strongly depends on the generation, The feral appearance of a Savannah is caused by the presence of many Serval distinguishing features. The most prominent features are the different color patterns, the long body, the width of the animal, the standing ears, the very long legs, the thick swollen nose and the sunken eyes.

The body of the Savannah is long and long-legged when a Savannah stands. His buttocks are often higher than his shoulders. The small head is longer than wide and stands on a long slender neck. A male Savannah usually weighs about ten kilograms, while the females weigh about eight kilograms.

The back of the ears of the Savannah have eye spots. A central light stripe bordered by black, dark gray or brown hairs provide this eye-like effect. The short tail has black rings, with a firm black tip. The eyes are blue when kitten (like other cat species) and can become green, brown, gold or a mixed shade when adult.

Character and sound

Savannahs are often compared to dogs in terms of loyalty. They will follow their owners, in and around the house, and can also be trained to walk on a leash. Savannahs are described as very social and friendly, with new people, other cats or dogs an often noticed characteristic of the Savannah is her jumping ability. They are known to jump on doors, fridges and high cabinets.

Some Savannahs can jump about 2.5 meters high from a standing position, Savannahs are also very curious. Many Savannah cats have no fear of water and will play with it or even immerse themselves in water.

In terms of sounds, Savannahs will either chirp as their Serval fathers, or meow as their domesticated mothers, or chirp and meow. Sometimes they produce sounds that are a combination of the two. Twittering is more often observed in earlier generations. Savannahs can also ‘hiss

Nutrition and care

A Savannah does not differ from a normal house cat, they need the same (inactive) vaccinations. Furthermore, you can let the Savannah eat the same as any other domestic cat. Of course high quality cat food is required and you can feed it with raw meat. A Savannah needs no special care. The care one would give to any other cat is also sufficient for a Savannah.

There is enough choice to feed raw, think of chicken, rabbit, turkey, guinea fowl, hare, beef, lamb and also rats, mice and day-old chicks can be bought at the pet store. Also, at the better pet store there is ready to eat raw frozen food, usually in the form of a sausage. Carnibest is very well known for it, but there are many brands, unfortunately not easily available everywhere.

NEVER give your cat pork or boar meat this can be infected with the Aujeszki virus once it’s infected it’s always lethal and even within a maximum of 3 days. Symptoms: foaming, lots of meowing, character changes and nerve disturbances

Bron: CatVision