Cat breeds aren’t as numerous and varied as dog breeds, but that doesn’t mean cat lovers don’t have options. There are unique cat breeds out there, of course, and one of the most beautiful and interesting of them is the Savannah. A hybrid first created less than 30 years ago, the Savannah cat is a bold-looking feline with a personality to match. Read on to learn all about these sprightly cats.
SAVANNAH CAT APPEARANCE
Savannahs are about the same size as a regular house cat, but may appear larger due to their sleek yet muscular look, with long legs, long necks and long bodies. Arguably, the breed’s most striking features are its exotically spotted or striped coats in a number of different color patterns, and its large, tall ears. Savannahs are hybrids of domestic cats and African servals, and so they usually resemble smaller versions of the latter.
SAVANNAH CAT HISTORY
The Savannah cat is a hybrid that results from crossing an African serval with a domestic house cat. They are a relatively new breed, the first documented Savannah having been born in April 1986. Breeder Judee Frank paired her female Siamese cat with Suzy Wood’s African serval. Wood named the resulting offspring Savannah. Savannah and her own progeny caught the attentions of breeders Patrick Kelly and Joyce Sroufe, who resolved to develop the cats into a new, recognized breed. Currently, Savannah cats are recognized only by The International Cat Association (TICA).
SAVANNAH CAT GROOMING
Savannah cats are fairly low-maintenance as far as grooming is concerned. Their short, soft coats don’t require more than a weekly brushing. Their large ears may require more attention and cleaning than a regular cat’s, but this is not a critical issue. Otherwise, they need only the same care and grooming as any regular house cat, include regular nail trimming and teeth cleaning.
SAVANNAH CAT PERSONALITY
Savannahs are very often described as “dog-like.” As with other cats breeds that possess high intelligence, Savannahs are very curious and energetic, but they can be a bit of a handful. They insist on much more attention and interaction than typical house cats. Although these cats will require (and test) your patience, the reward for your effort is a stronger bond than most cats form with their owners. Savannah cats are very affectionate, and will stick by their owners night and day.
SAVANNAH CAT TRAINING AND OBEDIENCE
Due to their intelligence and playfulness, Savannahs can be remarkably trainable. In fact, because they are so curious and active, a little bit of training and discipline may be needed to keep a Savannah cat from going out of control. They will play fetch, can be trained to walk in a harness, and even take to clicker training. The attention and mental stimulation involved in playing games and learning tricks makes training a positive experience for Savannahs. In fact, those with experience owning and training dogs may have an easier time dealing with a Savannah than someone who has owned only regular house cats.
SAVANNAH CAT HEALTH CONCERNS
Savannahs are hearty cats with no major health concerns. One issue to note is that African Servals have smaller-than-normal livers for their body size, which is a trait that some Savannah cats, as hybrids bred from Servals, may inherit. Veterinarians should be careful about administering ketamine or other anesthetics to Savannahs, as they can adversely affect the liver and cause complications.
SAVANNAH CAT PROS AND CONS
Savannahs are extremely loyal and deeply affectionate. Although they aren’t lap cats, they bond strongly with their owners and are friends for life. Inexperienced pet owners, or those who don’t have the time or patience required to handle a Savannah should steer clear of the breed. They have a great capacity for curiosity and the mischief that goes along with it, even more so than regular cats. All their pros and cons may be a moot point for you, depending on where you live, because Savannahs are illegal in several states. Before you adopt one, be sure you won’t be breaking any laws.
Next: Coolest Animal Hybrids!
FAMOUS SAVANNAH CATS
Since we know where, when and how the breed got its start, Savannah (the original) is famous simply for being the first of her kind. But Savannah isn’t the only Savannah who’s enjoyed the spotlight. Scarlett’s Magic is recognized by Guinness World Records as the tallest living domestic cat. She achieved the record in 2009 for measuring 16.49 inches from shoulder to toe. She wasn’t finished growing, though, and topped her own record the next year with a new height of 18.07 inches.
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