The Savannah is a domesticated cat breed crossed between an African wild Serval and a domestic cat.
All Savannah cats are assigned a Filial designation, from F1 to F5 ( F1 being 75% Serval) to identify how close they are to their exotic Serval ancestors.
Active and adventurous, this beautiful breed is considered high-energy.
Savannah is the most expensive breed in the world.
Savannahs are intelligent, persistent cats that can sometimes get into mischief whenever their curiosity gets the best of them. Don’t be surprised if your Savannah teaches himself to open doors, turn on faucets, flush toilets or knock trinkets off a shelf just to see what happens.
Friendly and loyal, they bond tightly with their families and have been known to greet them at the door and follow them around the house. However, they are not to be mistaken as a lap cat. They prefer to be near their families, but enjoy their personal space.
It is very important to give these cats a lot of time from early childhood. Without constant communication with a person, they very quickly run wild and become uncontrollable. At an older age, they need constant contact with either a person or other animals: the loneliness of the Savannah is poorly tolerated and she may become aggressive.
The Savannahs are very independent. They should not be treated like ordinary cats. If the Savannah does not respond and does not want to go into the arms of the owner, it is impossible to force her.
Representatives of the Savannah clan categorically cannot stand loneliness, so do not leave the animal alone for long in an empty house, unless, of course, you are not afraid of the prospect of returning to a destroyed house with scratched furniture. Savannahs can hold a grudge.
These cats are very playful in childhood, and even when they are older. Therefore, it is important that they have a sufficient number of toys that can be removed, nibbled and scratched. The owner should be very careful when playing with the Savannah, after all, wild instincts can take over, and the cat can "play", causing serious harm, even to the beloved owner. For this reason, do not leave them alone with children.
The first known Savannah was born April 7, 1986, when a female domestic cat gave birth to a kitten sired by an African Serval.
Both the kitten and breed were named "Savannah". Patrick Kelly heard about Savannah and decided he wanted to try to develop a new breed. He persuaded a breeder, Joyce Sroufe, to join him in his efforts.
The first experiment in crossing an African serval with a home cat took place in 1986, on the farm of a Pennsylvania breeder, Judy Frank. The woman has been breeding Serval cats for a long time, therefore, in order to “refresh the blood” of her pets a little, she lent a male serval from her friend Susie Woods. The animal successfully coped with the task, but the unexpected happened: along with the females of its kind, the serval managed to cover the breeder’s domestic cat as well.
The owner of the only female kitten born as a result of this unusual “love affair” was Susie Woods. It was she who gave the animal the nickname Savannah, which later became the name of the breed.
This F1 (first generation hybrid cross) was the first on record. This unusual female kitten had both domestic and Serval like traits.
By the way, Suzy herself was not a professional breeder, which did not prevent her from further conducting an experiment on mating her pet with a domestic cat and publishing a couple of articles on this topic.
The main contribution to the development of the Savannah was made by Patrick Kelly, who bought a kitten from Susie Woods and attracted an experienced breeder and Bengal breeder, Joyce Srouf, to breed new cats.Together they wrote the original TICA Breed Standard. TICA accepted the Savannah for registration in 2001.
The Savannah was accepted for Championship status by TICA in 2012.
In the early 2000s, these representatives of the cat's elite were at the epicenter of a huge scandal, which did not affect their cost at all. The Savannah pet still remains a kind of indicator of prestige and a measure of the success of its owner.
Since Savannahs are a hybrid breed, the external characteristics of individuals directly depends on which generation the animal belongs to.
For example, F1 hybrids are larger and very similar to servals. Representatives of the second generation are noticeably smaller, since they have only 29% of the blood of their wild ancestor.
Hybrid Savannah / Ashera Offspring Levels
F1 - individuals born as a result of crossing an African serval and a domestic cat, combining an equal ratio of wild and domestic genes.
F2 - offspring obtained from cat F1 and a domestic cat.
F3 - kittens born to a female F2 and a male domestic cat. The percentage of serval genes in this generation is about 13%.
F4, F5 - individuals born as a result of mating a hybrid F3 and an ordinary cat. Kittens of this generation are not much different from ordinary domestic cats. Only the leopard color and some “oddities” of character typical of the Savannah give out a wild essence in them.
Savannah is more often disqualified for abnormal behavior than for congenital malformations. Individuals with color defects, in particular, with spots-sockets, “medallions” in the chest area and small ears, are subject to mandatory fines. Polydacts (cats that have extra fingers on their paws), animals trying to bite a person approaching them, or, conversely, too cowardly and not coming into contact with people, are completely disqualified.
According to PR specialists, the genes of an aggressive African Serval never surface. However, such statements are more likely a beautiful advertisement than a reality.
Of course, representatives of this breed are quite friendly pets, but they will never become couch potatoes. In addition, they are extremely smart and active, so they are unlikely to suit people who consider the animal as a living decoration for their interior.
The passion for dominance inherited from the savage ancestor by Ashera/Savannahs is successfully suppressed by castration or sterilization of the pet, after which the character of the animal undergoes significant changes.
The cat becomes calmer and more tolerant of external irritants, although it does not leave its leadership habits. This is especially true for individuals of the first and second generations, therefore, in families with children it is better to take hybrids F3-F4.
Individual F1s rather negatively perceive strangers who have stepped onto their territory, which is warned by a loud aggressive hiss and grunt. With each subsequent generation of cats, wariness becomes less pronounced, although in general savannas do not favor strangers.
In relations with the owner, the genes of the African serval are not so pronounced, but otherwise the same principle works as in the case of strangers: in order to be able to pet the pet, it is worth choosing at least the F4 hybrid.
Savannahs are cats of one owner. Do not count on the fact that your “home cheetah” will equally love and obey every member of the family. However, he will not fight with them either; rather, he will demonstrate complete indifference.
Since the Savannah is supposed to walk to maintain health and muscle tone, it is worthwhile to teach the animal to walk on a leash in advance. F1 hybrids are the most difficult to educate, as they still remain half Serval. It is better to keep such animals in a country house with a special room.
As for training, cats of this breed are smart enough to master the techniques intended for dogs.
Savannahs are born hunters, so sometimes they can hone their tactical skills on the host. It is better to wean a kitten from this harmful, and even dangerous, habit by buying toys for him in the form of mice and other small animals.
Since representatives of this breed have extraordinary jumping ability, it is worthwhile to think carefully about the interior design of the house, otherwise all vases and figurines will be swept off the shelves daily. In addition, like the Maine Coons, the Savannahs love observation platforms for themselves on cabinets and other furniture. A similar dependence is treated by buying and spreading an electric mat on surfaces on which the pet is planned to be weaned from.
You can’t do without claw pads in the upbringing of the Savannah, but when buying them, the dimensions of the animal should be taken into account. Small and flimsy products designed for ordinary cats will not last long. Before you get a Savannah kitten, make sure you get the right litter box. They should have tight-fitting lids, because these cats are very curious and love to check litter boxes for cat treasures.
Savannah hair care is minimal. Usually, the animal is combed once a week, although it is recommended to do this procedure daily during molting. However, some breeders advise replacing the classic combing by wiping the pet's hair with an ordinary wet towel.
Cat's claws need to be cut regularly. Some owners choose to have their Savannah undergo laser onyctomy (removal of claws on the forelegs).
Bathe the animal as needed. By the way, Savannah love water and enjoy swimming in bathtubs and pools as soon as an opportunity presents itself.
With a toilet, representatives of this breed have no difficulties. For hybrids F4 and F5, characterized by relatively small sizes, a classic litter box is suitable, although most Savanna can easily be trained to use the toilet.
The Savannah is able to master the intricacies of using the toilet.