For cat enthusiasts looking for the call of the wild in their felines’ look, having a Savannah cat is one to consider. It is a hybrid cross between a domestic cat and an African serval and got its name from the latter’s lush habitat. Much like its progenitor, the Savannah cat is a tall, slender cat with large pointed ears, long legs, and a spotted coat pattern. While it looks like a smaller version of the Serval, it is a friendly, loving breed that does well with children and other pets.
Origin of the Savannah Cat
Savannah cats were developed into a breed after a domestic cat crossed with an African serval, producing a kitten in 1986. The offspring was named Savannah, referring to the favored habitat of its wildcat forefather.
After learning about the kitten, breeder Joyce Sroufe and Patrick Kelly collaborated to develop a new breed. Several breeds were incorporated to produce the modern Savannah cats, which includes the Egyptian Maus, Bengals, Orientals, and some domestic shorthairs.
Savannahs are a relatively new breed, only first registered in 2001 and earned its full recognition or championship status twelve years later.
Physical Characteristics of the Savannah Cat
Length: 13 to 20 inches
Weight: 12 to 25 pounds
Life Expectancy: 12 to 20 years
Coat Color: Black, black silver spotted tabby, brown spotted tabby, black smoke tabby, or black smoke with a solid pattern
Type of Coat: Short, Medium
Eye Color: All colors
Savannahs sports an exotic wild look, characterized by a tall, slender body, with a spotted velvety fur. Their head is triangle-shaped, with large, high set ears sitting atop. Their weight and physical attributes vary greatly, depending on how much African Serval flows in its lineage. The coat’s spots are bold, solid, can be oval, round, or elongated, with smaller markings occurring on the face, legs, and feet.
Savannah Cat Personality
Savannah cats are adorable cats, brimming with personality. However, they are not typical lap cats, and may not be the feline for owners looking for their first feline companions.
These cats are highly curious and active and thrive in homes on a fast lane. With their athleticism, they can jump to the house’s high points, while their confidence allows them to survey their surroundings keenly.
Nevertheless, Savannahs are fun to live with, given their innate sense of humor. These felines love to play good jokes, usually at their owners’ expense. They can turn on the faucets, drop different things in the house, or hide thinking that their masters don’t see them, and then smack them in “surprise.”
At the end of the day, it shows a friendly, loving side, sleeping in their owner’s bed, bringing their toys with them, and cuddling with families under covers if they get cold.
Caring for the Savannah Cat
Savannah cats’ short, lustrous soft coat is easy to care for. Brushing them weekly is enough to keep hairballs away. However, they love attention and appreciate it if brushing more often, serving as a fun bonding session between them and their owners.
Other parts of the routine are primary care, such as regular nail trimming, ear cleaning, and dental hygiene. It is best to acquaint these cats with these grooming needs at a young age to be welcoming of these activities, making it hassle-free to do as they grow up.
Savannah cats will be happiest when given plenty of time for human interaction. They are highly active and intelligent and can be trained to play fetch, do a few tricks, and walk on a leash. With their athleticism and long, powerful legs, these cats also love to climb and be in high places. Cat trees and high perches are suitable investments to provide them with climbing opportunities.
As much as possible, it is advisable to provide Savannahs with a large outdoor enclosure, as their high jumping ability can easily overcome fences. Otherwise, it is best to keep them as an indoor-only cat to prevent them from acquiring diseases from other animals, being attacked by predators, having stolen, or getting into accidents.
When it comes to health, Savannahs are hardy cats, with no known breed-specific genetic condition or health issues. However, as with other cats breeds, they can be vulnerable to hypertrophic cardiomyopathy or thickening of the heart muscle. Regular consultation with the vet can help detect or prevent any health problem before it goes out of hand.
Savannahs cats are purr-fect for owners looking for an exotic and playful cat to add to their lovely homes. However, they may require more attention and caution, given their intelligence and athleticism. Once met, they will be active, amusing, yet affectionate companions to their families.