What happens when you breed a serval (a wild cat native to sub-Saharan Africa) with a domesticated house cat? You get a Savannah cat. A relatively new breed, Savannah cats became popular during the 1990s, but the International Cat Association didn’t recognize the breed until 2001. New as they are, many people seek out these loving, playful, and exotic-looking pets that enjoy spending time with the family and other animals.
A male Savannah cat can grow to 17 inches tall and weigh up to 25 pounds. Females are typically smaller, ranging from 8 to 20 pounds. With both domestic cats and wild servals in their ancestry, Savannahs vary in size, although most are in the medium to large range compared to other breeds.
A curious and energetic breed, Savannah cats can get a little boisterous while playing, but they’re more affectionate than many cat breeds. They are also known for sharing affection with the whole household, children included, and even extending it to strangers.
Savannah cats don’t just enjoy time with humans. They also tend to get along well with other animals, especially when they're raised together from a young age. That makes the Savannah cat a good option for households with dogs, cats, and other larger pets. These cats do have a strong hunting instinct, so it's wise not to keep them in a household with smaller pets such as rodents, aquarium fish, and birds.
As a breed, Savannah cats are generally healthy and do not suffer from any known genetic conditions. Keep them healthy with regular veterinary care, plenty of opportunities for exercise, and an appropriate diet.
Get your laser pointer ready when a Savannah cat moves into your home. The breed loves to play! Like other cats, they do spend a lot of time napping, but once they wake up, though, they’re ready to go. Make sure you have plenty of toys around to keep them amused and active and introduce new toys often to prevent boredom. Some Savannah cats enjoy being walked on a leash.
Most cat lovers know that they're generally very smart animals, but Savannah cats are even more intelligent than most domestic breeds. This is thanks to the intuition and forethought inherent in their wild hunter ancestry. You can exercise your cat’s intelligence by giving it challenging toys to play with. Something that requires experimentation, such as puzzle-type toys, will keep a Savannah cat occupied for hours.
Don’t expect all-day meowing from a Savannah cat. The breed does vocalize, but it doesn’t do it very often. You might get a few meows when you come home from work, but otherwise, owners must be content with a quiet, lively cat that doesn’t primarily express itself vocally. As the saying goes, “still waters run deep.” Maybe that applies to cats, too.
Savannah cats usually have short- or medium-length hair that doesn’t require much grooming. Nor are they prolific shedders, so hair-covered furniture and clothes shouldn't be a concern. These cats' coats, though, are notable for their beauty, with bold spots all over to remind you of their wild ancestors. Color patterns vary from cat to cat, but this is a universally attractive breed.
Savannah cats can live 12 to 20 years. How long an individual cat will live depends on many factors, such as how much exercise it gets, whether you feed it a balanced diet, and its care and safety. Genetics can also play a role in how long a Savannah cat lives. First-generation Savannah cats can cost up to $20,000, so this is additional encouragement to give this rare pet the best possible care.
Don’t get a Savannah cat until you check your state laws: some places don’t allow them. Unfortunately, determining whether a Savannah cat is legal in your state can be complicated. For example, in Nebraska, no one can own a Savannah cat, but in Idaho, you can have one with a permit. In Colorado, you can have a fourth-generation Savannah cat, unless you live in Denver, where no one can own them. Speak to your regional animal control center before searching out this beautiful breed.
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