Physical characteristicsThe Savannah cat is a cross between a domestic cat and a Serval - a medium-sized, large-eared wild African cat. Savannahs are known to be one of the largest cat breeds, although the size of an individual can vary a lot even in the same litter. The body is long and graceful, with an overall wild appearance and proportions. The legs are long, the back legs are slightly longer than the front ones. The neck is long and slender. The head is slightly longer than wide. The almond shaped eyes can be green, brown, or gold. They have a "hooded brow" to be protected from harsh sunlight. The large ears are set high and close to each other. The tail is relatively short, with black rings and a solid black tip. Adult Savannahs weigh 15 to 20 pounds.
TemperamentIncredibly intelligent and smart, Savannah cats can easily learn dog tricks such as fetching and walking on leash. They easily learn how to open doors and closets, how to get your attention and wrap you around their furry paws. Because of the wild ancestry, the temperament of different individuals can vary quite a lot. For example, some Savannahs are known to be very social and friendly with strangers and visitors, while the others are more aloof and may run away or even hiss at them. Most breeders agree that the key factor of this behaviour is exposure to other people and pets as a Savannah kitten grows up (a proper socialization). Even though Savannahs have a lot of wild blood, they are not known to have temperament issues that could be associated with exotic cat hybrids. Probably, it is because Servals themselves are naturally outgoing cats that make sociable exotic pets.
Photo by Travis Warren
Most Savannahs love to greet people with head-butts and unexpected pounces. They are great jumpers! Hardly is there a breed more skilled at jumping up on top of doors, refrigerators and high cabinets. Some Savannahs can leap about 8 feet (2.5 m) high from a standing position. Like most other felines, Savannahs are very inquisitive and curious. At the same time, they often show typical dog behaviour such as wagging the tail, love to water, and unconditional loyalty.
Coat and groomingSavannahs have a short coat easy to take care of. It is dense, fine, and close-lying. Little grooming is required.
The colours and patterns depend on the generation of a Savannah, and on the breed of cat used for the domestic cross (see "Other interesting facts" paragraph below). Early generations have a lot of dark spots and a lighter coat. TICA (The International Cat Association) breed standards accept brown spotted tabby, silver spotted tabby, black (black with black spots) and black smoke (black tipped silver with black spots) colours only. Savannahs, however, can also come in some non-standard variations such as the classic or marble patterns, snow colouration.
HealthAt the moment, there are no known health problems specific to this breed. Since Savannahs are partly Servals, some breeders recommend a very high quality diet with no grains or by-products. The others, however, are sure that these cats need no special food requirements.
Other interesting factsEach generation of Savannahs is marked with a filial number. For instance, a cat produced directly from a Serval/domestic cat cross is the F1 generation, and it is 50% Serval. A cat that has a Serval grandparent and an F1 generation parent (female) belongs to the F2 generation, and it is 25% Serval, roughly speaking. The F3 generation has a Serval great grandparent, and is 12.5% Serval. F1 Savannahs are usually the largest.
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