The Savannah cat is a relatively new cat breed. This is a crossbreed between a wild African cat, Serval, and a domestic cat, specifically Siamese. This cat breed carries remarkable characteristics of both their cat ancestors such as the large and tall ears, long legs, and spotted coat from the Serval along with the friendly personality of domestic cats.
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Savannah cat breed’s foundation stock
Foundation stock refers to the animal breeds that are the ancestors or foundation of a new breed. In this case, Savannah cats’ foundation stock is the African wild cat Serval, and the Siamese, a domestic cat. Let’s dive into the details of these two cat breeds, which make the Savannah cats.
The Serval cat is a landrace breed of cat that hails from Africa. It’s a lean, medium to a large-sized cat with an average height between 21 to 24 inches. The Serval weighs around 18-40 pounds, but female Servals tend to be lighter than the males.
A Serval cat’s distinct characteristics include a small, wedge-shaped head with large ears sitting on top, striped or spotted coat, and remarkably long legs. The Serval tail has an average length proportional to its long body. The coat color is generally golden-yellow to yellowish-beige and liberally marked with solid black spots and stripes. The spots come in random shapes and sizes.
The Serval face displays green or brown eyes. The ears are relatively large with the Serval’s small head, the back part of the ear is black with a white band in the middle. This cat has spots and streaks markings on the cheeks and foreheads. The back of its head has three to four black stripes that run onto its shoulders.
This wild cat is agile, an experienced digger, and a good jumper. It can jump up to almost 3 meters, which is perfect for hunting prey. The Serval is a vocal cat. It makes sounds such as a high pitched cry (to call other Serval), puri, chirp, hiss, and more. This cat is a solitary cat. It prefers to be on its own. Urinating or marking things with saliva or feces is the Serval way of marking their territory. The Serval is active during the day but is more active at night.
Domestic cat, Siamese
One of the Savannah cat’s breed foundations is a domestic cat. The first domesticated cat used for making the Savannah is the Siamese cat.
The Siamese cats have distinctive colorpoint coats and bright blue eyes. They have a long neck, tail, and body and weighs around 8-12 pounds males and about 8 pounds for females.
The Siamese cats are highly intelligent. They are talkative and friendly, and they are often labeled as extroverted cats. These cats are incredibly affectionate and loyal. They love to hang around their owners. They love cuddling on your lap and will sleep next to their owners.
Is it okay to mix a Savannah with other cat breeds?
The International Cat Association (TICA) banned domestic out-crossing for the Savannah breed because it greatly affected the Savannah breed’s development, which resulted in the desired and undesired traits of Savannah. Domestic out-crossing is the process of breeding an out-cross (an unrelated cat breed added to a breeding pool to increase the breed’s diversity) with a purebred Savannah.
However, some domestic out-crosses were once permitted by the TICA for the Savannah breed. These were the Ocicat, Egyptian Mau, the Oriental Shorthair, and the Domestic short hair. While the most impermissible out-crosses include Maine Coon and Bengal cats. These out-cross cat breeds were proven to bring many unwanted genetic traits to Savannah, such as being sterile and other behavioral problems.
So today, breeders prefer using a Savannah with a Serval or another Savannah to maintain the breed’s quality as much as possible.
General characteristics of a Savannah cat
No matter the generation or mix of a Savannah cat, they all exhibit the same traits, including:
Despite having a wild serval cat’s genes, the Savannah is considered a medium-sized breed and can weigh around 8 to 20 pounds. A male Savannah cat is larger than a female.
Savannah cats are generally active cats and require regular exercise to keep them healthy and happy. Exercise and socialization are essential for this breed to make them feel comfortable and tamer around others.
Savannah cats are known to have high intelligence and natural curiosity. That’s why these felines tend to get into mischief often, making them best suited for owners that are active, patient, and dedicated.
The temperament of Savannah cats is similar to dogs when properly raised, making them an active, engaging pet that’s loyal, intelligent, and love to be involved with anything their owners do.
Common questions about a Savannah cat
Are Savannah cats dangerous?
Although a Savannah cat contains some wild cat genes in them and they’re relatively larger than your average domestic cat, they’re not dangerous in any way. They’re known to be very gentle and boast a fun temperament, making them a great companion to have around the home. However, remember that like any other cat, they still have some tendencies to hunt, so expect a Savannah cat to kill small prey when given a chance.
Do Savannah cats bite?
Like other cat breeds, some Savannah cats like to play rough, bite, and growl at toys now and then. However, you can efficiently train a Savannah cat or at least ‘tame’ them a little by placing them as a kitten inside a small room or carrier for a couple of minutes to give them some kind of punishment. Doing this will allow them to understand that any bad behavior, such as biting, will warrant punishment.
Can you let a Savannah cat outside?
Yes, you can let your Savannah cat go outside. However, like most domesticated cats, it’s wise to prevent them from roaming around unsupervised, even if it’s in your backyard. Be wary when letting your Savannah cat outside because it’s large size may startle some people or other animals. Ideally, if you want to bring a Savannah cat outdoors, let them roam around an enclosed garden.
The bottom line
The Savannah cat is a combination of a wild cat and a domestic cat. The goal is to achieve a new breed with a wild cat’s appearance and temperament of the domestic cat. The breeders have been successful in reaching this goal. However, some restrictions on what cat breed should be mixed with the Savannah, including Maine Coons and Bengal cats. And this is to preserve the quality of the sophisticated Savannah cat.