10 Wild Facts About Savannah Cats - Cats.com (2024)

10 Wild Facts About Savannah Cats - Cats.com (1)

Nynke van Holten / Shutterstock.com

The Savannah cat is one of the most intriguing cat breeds due to its uncommon size, exotic appearance, and wild blood. Savannah owners rave about their extreme intelligence, playful personality, and unusual love of water. Read on for 10 wild facts about Savannah cats.

1. Savannah Cats Are a Little Bit Wild

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The African serval is a small wild cat species that was used to create the Savannah cat breed. Howard Klaaste / Shutterstock.com

The Savannah cat is a hybrid breed developed by crossing the African serval, a small wild cat species, with domestic cats. The Savannah inherited the serval’s beautiful spotted coat, long legs, tall ears, and long neck.

The history of the Savannah breed is complex and includes many players, but the first Savannah born was the result of an accidental mating between an African serval and a Siamese cat. That kitten, named Savannah, was later bred to a Turkish Angora. A female kitten from that litter was bred to another domestic cat, and eventually a breed was formed. Other breeds used in the creation of the Savannah include the Oriental Shorthair and the Ocicat.

First- and second-generation Savannahs (F1 and F2) have greater percentages of wild blood, but these cats cannot be exhibited in cat shows. Third-, fourth-, and fifth-generation Savannahs (F3, F4, and F5) and beyond are a bit smaller and mellower. F3 Savannahs and higher are recommended as pets.

2. They Are the Most Expensive Breed

Buying a Savannah kitten from a breeder comes with a hefty price tag. Breeding hybrid cats like Savannahs is more difficult than breeding domestic cats. First- and second-generation Savannahs (F1 and F2) are the most expensive. Average prices are less for third- and fourth-generation Savannahs (F3 and F4) and lower.

F1 and F2 Savannah cats are not generally recommended for the average pet owner, but if you had your heart set on one, be prepared to pay $15,000 to $20, 000 for an F1 Savannah and $5,000 to $10,000 for an F2 Savannah. F3 Savannah cats cost quite a bit less, though still have the whopping price of $2,500 to $5,000. F4 Savannahs and later generations are usually $1,000 to $2,500.

3. Savannahs Have Dog-Like Personalities

Many people describe the Savannah cat’s temperament as dog-like thanks to the breed’s friendliness and trainability. Savannahs form strong attachments with their human families and like to be a part of the action. They are known to follow everyone around the house just like a dog.

Savannahs will play fetch and happily learn tricks, and enjoy going for neighborhood walks on a leash and harness, which is great for providing these active cats exercise and mental stimulation. They are friendly and outgoing, and tend to get along great with other cats and even dogs.

4. They Love Water

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Savannah cats. Nynke van Holten / Shutterstock.com

Most cats hate water, so a cat that enjoys water is highly unusual! Savannahs are noted for their fondness of baths and even swimming. Most wild cat species from hot habitats enjoy wading or swimming to cool off, so the Savannah’s love of water is likely an inherited trait from its wild ancestor, the African serval. Savannahs don’t mind bath time, they can often be found playing in sinks, showers puddles, pools, and other water sources.

5. The Savannah Is the Tallest Cat Breed

The average adult domestic cat is about 9 to 10 inches tall and weighs about 8 to 10 pounds. Savannah cats are taller than average, with F1 and F2 Savannahs boasting the greatest height (14 to 16.5 inches on average) and weight (13 to 22 pounds). Later generation Savannahs as still taller than the average cat, with F3 through F8 Savannah cats ranging from 10 to 14 inches tall, and heavier than average, weighing between 11 to 15.5 pounds.

The current Guinness World Records holder for title of Tallest Living Domestic Cat is a cat named Fenrir, an F2 Savannah that measures 18.83 inches tall. A previous holder of the title Tallest Living Domestic Cat was Fenrir’s brother, Arcturus, who measured 19.05 inches tall.

6. They Are Different Than Other Cats

There’s just something about a Savannah cat that makes them stand out among all other cat breeds. Physically, Savannahs are strikingly beautiful with a wild flair from their spots and tall ears. They even move differently from other cats—their long, elegant bodies have exceptional grace fluidity. They even stalk and pounce with more authority and stealth than most domestic cats.

In personality, Savannah cats are intelligent and curious. Savannahs are not prone to sleeping all day like many cat breeds. They are always on the move, jumping, climbing, and investigating their environment to look for anything new and exciting.

7. Savannahs Can Get into Mischief

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F1 Savannahs are 50% African serval and 50% domestic cat. Kolomenskaya Kseniya / Shutterstock.com

Due to their intense curiosity, intelligence, and energy levels, Savannah cats can be more destructive than your average cat. They don’t mean to make a mess—they’re just trying to stave off boredom! Savannah cats might shred toilet paper or paper towels, chew on carpet or furniture, climb shower curtains, turn on the water faucet, and pull clothes from closets or drawers.

The more enrichment you can provide for your Savannah cat, the less destructive they will be. Make sure your Savannah has plenty of scratching posts, cat trees or towers, and toys, and plan on spending lots of time playing with your cat or teaching them fun trick to keep them mentally stimulated.

8. They Are Highly Social and Playful

Savannah cats love spending time with their favorite humans. They are extremely friendly and outgoing pets that will run to greet you at the door when you come home from work. F1 and F2 Savannahs might be shy with strangers but later generation Savannahs are usually happy to forge new friendships when people come to visit.

9. Savannah Cats Come in Several Different Colors

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Savannah cats come in several different colors and patterns. Nynke van Holten / Shutterstock.com

You might be familiar with Savannahs in the classic golden color with black spots, which look a lot like their serval ancestors, but Savannahs also come in other colors. The short to medium-length coat has a slightly coarse texture and can be black, brown (black) spotted tabby, black silver spotted tabby and black smoke.

10. They Have a Ton of Energy

Savannahs are one of the most active and energetic cat breeds. It can be a challenge for them to get enough activity and exercise living a domestic life indoors. Savannah cats that don’t have enough outlets for their physical and mental energy can become stressed, bored, and destructive.

Toys and lots of playtime with you can help, but some Savannah owners take it a step farther and get their cats a running wheel. Exercise wheels for cats are a lot like giant hamster wheels, and they can help an energetic cat like the Savannah get enough exercise so they are ready to curl up with you for cuddles on the couch at the end of the day.

10 Wild Facts About Savannah Cats - Cats.com (2024)

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