About Savannah Cats

The Savannah cat is the result of crossing a domestic cat with an African Serval, which is a wild species of cat from Africa. The Savannah Cat is a lovely cat who’s full of personality, but is definitely not the cat for everyone. They are wonderful, trusting and a self assured cat who enjoys interacting with people and other cats. They are very curious, highly intelligent, very active and always looking for something interesting to do. They bond strongly to family and make every effort to be with them. These are just some of the qualities that require a lot of patience to live with. A bored Savannah can become destructive in the home as they will have to invent their own things to do for fun. Make sure you provide them with plenty of mental and physical stimulation as well as sturdy toys and a lot of playtime. Harness training with a walking jacket (**see below**) is always a good idea. This will allow the owner to take them into the back yard, for walks out and about, and will give some control if the need arises to take them to the vet.

Savannahs like to climb up high—the higher the better. They might drop their favorite toy into whatever you’re drinking, to make a splash and cause you to have to fish it out. Yes, this includes the toilet. When they are not displaying affection by giving a few head butts, they might be seeking out water to play in. This is a happy, entertaining cat that does best with a person who will enjoy playing and interacting with him. When raised with them, he can get along well with kids, other cats and friendly dogs.

At bedtime, most Savannah cats will sleep in bed with you, nuzzled in under the covers. Some may try and even sit the top of your head, spoon against your back, or bring favorite toys to bed with them.

****A walking jacket is a special harness that is handmade. It has a large piece of material that goes over the back and fastens around the neck as well as under the abdomen. These are custom fit and you will need to take a few measurements of the cats necks, around the abdomen and length. The walking jackets made by Lori Greer at www.hyendry.com have a lot of high praise. You can order your own personal walking jacket at: Click logo below

A Little Savannah Cat History

The first known savannah was produced in the early 80’s by Judee Frank. There was an F1 female (first generation) female born and she was named “Savannah” after the savannah African plains, home to the wild Serval. The Serval and domestic lived together only as companions. This breeding was unplanned. The male Serval lived with female domestic cat and mated all the time with no pregnancies. Imagine her surprise when a kitten was born.

Many years later, Joyce Sroufe, heard of the F1 savannah cat. At the time she was a Bengal breeder and also bred exotic cats. She started trying to breed the Serval to a Bengal and after many heartbreaks and failures; she became successful and is now consider the founder of the breed. She produced her first litter of Savannahs in 1994. 25 or 30 years later, the Savannah is one of the top domestic breeds today.

Due to the dedicated efforts of many savannah breeders the Savannah cat has been heightened to one of the most sought after domestic cats in the world today.

**Special Mention: Lorre Smith, a TICA all breed judge and Savannah cat enthusiast was one of the most instrumental people in the development of this special and very popular domestic breed. She was the first breed chair with TICA for the Savannah cat breed. She was extremely dedicated and took the savannah cat a long ways in TICA as well as public recognition. Lorre Smith was succeeded by Carol Streit as breed chair and in 2012; Brigitte Cowell became the breed chair for TICA and remains as a wonderful resource and promoter of our beloved breed, The Savannah Cat.

What should a Savannah cat look like?

The Savannah Cat is medium to large cat breed. They are a striking cat that combines the domestic cat with an African Serval while maintaining a sweet and loving personality. Because of the long legs and slim build, Savannah cats appear to be much larger than they really are. A savannah cat that weighs only 10 pounds may look like a 13 or 14 pound cat.

  • The legs and body should be long with a medium bone structure.
  • They should have a long, slender neck.
  • The ears should be tall and stand erect and close together as well as have a wide base with white or light colored spots on the back.
  • The eyes should have an upper shape of a boomerang and should have hooding (prominent brow) and the lower shape should be almond shaped.
  • Dark tear lines should be visible from the inside corner of the eye and run down along the edge of the nose.
  • The nose should be wide with low set nostrils and the nose leather should be slightly convex (puffy).
  • The tail should be medium in length and thickness and should taper to a blunt end.

The TICA breed standard allows only silver spotted tabby, brown spotted tabby, black and black smoke. The coat will be greatly influenced by the breed of domestic cat used for the cross-breeding.

What is the Savannah’s temperament like?

Savannah cats are intelligent, curious, loyal and very people oriented. They are high energy cats that need things to do, so lots of toys and places for them to climb are essential. Don’t expect your Savannah cat to be a lap cat or a cat that can sit still for long periods of time. They need regular interaction and exercise, and games that involve running and jumping.

Many people say they are “dog like” but that is not quite correct. They are fairly easy to train to walk on a leash, like to play in water, and can learn to play fetch but other than that, they act like cats.

Socialization is very important for a Savannah Kitten. Most breeders do fabulous jobs of socializing their kittens. Continuing to socialize them with new people is a good idea.

For more information on the look of the Savannah Cat please see the Savannah Breed Section standard.