SAVANNAH CAT FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Establishing a good Savannah breeding program requires a substantial financial investment, is extremely hard work, and demands a wealth of patience. Breeders choose premium foods or raw meat diets to give their kittens the best and healthiest start in life. Veterinarian care and testing are very expensive; for a single kitten, immunizations and testing makes up a great deal of the price. Gestation periods vary greatly between exotic and domestic cats. Because of this, a great number of kittens are born premature, require incubation and 24-hour round the clock care, which is extremely time-consuming. As a result, there are a limited number of Savannahs produced and offered for purchase each year, and at present the public demand for Savannah kittens far outweighs availability.
Savannahs are not quite as versatile as dogs, but they are highly intelligent and as such, can easily be trained to respond to simple commands. Most Savannah cats respond well to leash training, a vigorous game of “fetch” and will recognize their names and come when called.
Most Savannahs enjoy walks and are easily leash trained using a special harness or “walking jacket.” Several good designs are available.
The Savannah cat is not aggressive or destructive by nature. They are high energy, intelligent and like to try to figure things out. They will watch their human family and attempt to do repeat their action of turning on water or opening cabinet doors and the like. Savannahs need to have stimulation, exercise, attention and daily play routines to keep them occupied. If you are in a position where you leave home to work every day think about two Savannahs to keep each other company.
Domestic. They eat, sleep, use the litter-box like any other domestic cat. Immunizations are the same as well as a rabies vaccine.
Savannahs are affectionate and tend to be the clowns at the party. You can expect them to get along well with other pets after the initial getting to know one another phase. They like children and can tolerate hugging and other child-like activity and will move away to somewhere they cannot be reached if and when they have enough. Savannah Cat Association does not recommend F1 or F2 Savannahs to homes with infant or small children.
Yes, Good hygiene habits are taught by mother cats to their offspring at a young age and most kittens generally have little to no difficulty with establishing and maintaining good consistent litter box habits. Consequently, kittens should be fully litter box trained long before they time they arrive in their new, forever homes. There is of course, ALWAYS the chance that an individual cat may have difficulty, but this is usually due to an environmental problem that CAN be identified and resolved easily in most cases.
Savannahs are considered domestic cats and can maintain optimum health on a diet of premium commercially manufactured cat food. Always remember to ask your breeder for a dietary recommendation and do not ever make any sudden changes in diet. This is particularly important with kittens who may not even tolerate a different flavor of the same brand of food without suffering a severe dietary upset.
No. The Savannah cat is a domestic cat and any veterinarian can treat a Savannah and give health check-ups and vaccinations.
Yes. Kittens should receive their first veterinary visit and set of vaccines by 8-9 weeks of age and reputable breeders give two vaccines before sending a kitten home. As individual states and municipalities mandate somewhat different rabies vaccination schedules, once the kitten has arrived home, it is the responsibility of the owner to assure these regulations are followed. Please DO NOT vaccinate for FeLV (Feline Leukemia Virus) unless it is non-adjuvanted and never vaccinate for FIP (Feline Infectious Peritonitis) as it has been reported these vaccines either have very bad side effects, such as injection site sarcomas or may even predispose cats to contract the very diseases they are purported to prevent.
Kittens should be tested for internal parasites and wormed prior to arriving in your home. If your kitten is not exposed to the outdoors, worming should be done at your yearly wellness check. Cats who walk outdoors or have an outdoor enclosure or those who cohabitate with outdoor dogs should be on a monthly flea and worm preventative. Discuss this with your veterinarian.
Your Savannah kitten should have received at least two vaccinations for the standard diseases, be free from parasites and have been tested for FeLV, PRA and PK Def; or have been negative by parentage in which case you should ask for those tests. Kittens should be 12 weeks of age before leaving their breeder home and are eligible to receive their first year’s rabies vaccines as well.
Savannah cats have two specific heritable diseases That came in from other breeds in the beginning of breed development and reputable breeders can test for these diseases and remove any that might carry the disease from their breeding program. The diseases are Progressive Retinal Atrophy and Pyruvate Kinase Deficiency. Please ask your breeder for proof of testing.
Some states, counties, and cities require a license or permit for some generations. See our List of States for the information you need to determine if you can own a Savannah and in addition please check with your city and county animal authorities.
Most (NOT ALL) Savannahs enjoy bathing and playing in the water. In fact, many owners report that their Savannah cats insist on regularly joining them in the shower or bathtub.
Decide what generation and sex will best suit your family environment and your budget. Contact breeders to determine which cattery has or will have kittens available that meet your requirements. Due to the overwhelming popularity of this breed and the limited number of kittens produced annually, it is very important to note that, in general, Savannah Breeders consider their kittens very precious, and many have adopted a screening process to qualify prospective buyers. As it is part of the Breeder’s responsibility to assure that the kitten you select is well matched to you and your living situation, please do not feel offended if, at some part in your search, one or more breeders request a wealth of personal information from you. Although not every breeder will require this, you should be prepared to answer questions regarding your state of residence, your lifestyle and type of home you can provide, including information about your family members, the ages of any children, ages and type of existing pets, space available for play, time spent away from home working, etc. You should also provide your veterinarian’s credentials and include a telephone number where he/she can be reached for comment and a personal reference. If the breeder(s) you wish to purchase from do not have kittens available, decide if you are willing to place your name on their waiting list, or if you would rather alter your requirements to be able to purchase your kitten sooner. Once you determine that your breeder of choice has an available kitten, request a copy of that breeder’s purchase agreement, keeping in mind that buying a Savannah is not only a big monetary investment, but is a life-long commitment. READ IT CAREFULLY. Clarify all questions you may have UP FRONT, and address any special payment terms at this time. Most breeders will ask for payment in full at the time of purchase but will typically work with a buyer to coordinate a 50% nonrefundable down payment with 50% balance due prior to shipping. If, for any reason, your situation changes and you are NOT able to take the kitten agreed upon, notify the breeder AT ONCE! Failure to do so may result in the forfeiture of your deposit and/or legal ramifications, particularly if the breeder has turned away other buyers interested in purchasing the same kitten.
Savannah kittens are in high demand so it is very likely you may have to wait until new litters are born to get exactly what you want. This seems particularly true of the F1s as not many breeders are devoted to producing the high generations and therefore the number of kittens available for purchase on an annual basis is very limited. You may also have to wait if you are only interested in a kitten from a specific pairing. Consequently, you may have to add your name to a waiting list and contact several breeders to locate a kitten. Many breeders require a deposit to add your name to their waiting lists and it is not unusual to wait up to 12 months before the kitten of your choice becomes available. Waiting lists are sometimes long and in your excitement, you may decide that you cannot wait and purchase a cat from another breeder. As a matter of courtesy, please take a few moments to notify the breeders who have added you to their wait lists of your change in plans, so that the next person on their lists can be given an opportunity to purchase.
No. Savannah cats should NEVER be allowed to roam freely outside, even part time. Savannahs are extremely curious and therefore are at very high risk for being run over by a car, wandering off never to return, or being injured or killed by another animal. In addition, because of Savannah’s unusual and exotic looks, they are also in danger of being mistaken for a wild cat and injured by humans, or stolen by an admirer. NEVER, EVER allow a Savannah cat outside unless on a leash or within the confines of an enclosure complete with a secure top.
Yes, they can climb almost any type fence and therefore must only be allowed outdoors in an enclosure that features a very secure top or on a leash using a walking jacket or secure harness.
Savannahs are very agile. Like any cat, they can jump to the top of a refrigerator or book case and it is thought they can run close to 30 mph if let outside. (Please do not let your Savannah outside to check.)
Like all cats, Savannahs have the practice of scratching on things we do not necessarily want them to scratch on. The reason they scratch at all is inherent in all cats. It is a way to mark their territory using the scent glands in their paws. It is a good exercise for them to stretch and flex their paws and legs. It also removes the dead layer on the outside of their claw which is like our nails getting clipped or filed. The best remedy for keeping this to a minimum in items we do not want to be scratched is to provide a scratching post or tree with an upright area for scratching. If the scratching is to mark territory from other cats or animals a plug-in pheromone diffuser such as Feliway can help with that behavior. Finally, correcting improper scratching by removing the cat from the area and gentle correction telling your cat no or uh-uh, then showing him where that behavior is okay will help a lot.
HP simply refers to a High Percentage Savannah. The only truly high percentage Savannah is when an F1 Savannah is bred back to a serval cat. This results in a mostly serval cat that is infertile in both genders.
Simply put, the level of care and devotion a reputable Savannah breeder puts into their cats and kittens is unimaginable. They are usually sold already altered or with a contract that requires altering. Some unethical people will lie and buy pets only to then put them into service breeding cheap cats and sell them on places like Hoobly or pet stores. They do not have papers, they do not receive veterinarian care or immunizations. They simply breed cats, call them Savannahs and give no guarantees. Many times, these cats are not even Savannahs.
Savannah cats and Bengal cats are both registered cats at TICA and CCA. Savannah cats are originally bred, in the first generation, to a serval cat. Bengals first generation is bred to the small, Asian Leopard Cat. The Savannah is tall, long and thin with huge ears; Bengals are the opposite, shorter and heavier boned with tiny ears make a good Bengal. Spotting is different as well. Savannahs, Inky black, solid spots, and Bengals have beautiful dark circles with lighter centers called rosettes.
Chances are your cat is not a Savannah cat. Many tabbies have striped and ringed tails. Many cats have developed a way to ‘talk’ to their humans as if they are saying something. Finally, breeding a cat that you think looks like a Savannah and attempting to sell Savannah kittens without papers is highly unethical. Know that your cat is a cat and your constant and loving companion. Be very happy to have her in your life.