1.) What is a Savannah? Savannahs were created by crossing Servals with domestic cats. Usually Bengals, Egyptian Maus and Orientals were used. However, while Bengals were used in the beginning, they are no longer a permissible outcross.
2.) What is the history of the Savannah? Joyce Sroufe is the main person who really worked on this breed and made it what it is today.
Joyce started breeding Savannah Cats in the late 1980s. She started to register first litters in 1994. She is well known among exotic cat owners and breeders as the original founder and an expert in the breeding and care of exotic cats.
This attracted the attention of Patrick Kelley who had hopes of starting a new breed of domestic cat with a wild spotted look. Patrick contacted both Suzi Wood and Judee Frank but neither where interested in taking the breed any farther. Patrick therefore purchased the only female kitten Savannah had produced, and began approaching several breeders of Servals and encouraged them to attempt the development of this new breed along with him. Initially, very few breeders were interested.
But Patrick persisted and finally convinced one breeder, Joyce Sroufe, to join him in his efforts. During this time Patrick's F2 Savannah was bred back to a domestic and produced the first F3 Savannah kittens , giving further hope to this new breed. Patrick and Joyce wrote the original Breed Standard and presented it to the TICA (The International Cat Association) Board of Directors in February 1996.
Joyce Sroufe went on to become a very successful Savannah breeder and is often credited with being the founder of this breed. Due to Joyce's diligence, perseverance, and faith in this breed, along with her extensive knowledge and skills in cat breeding, she produced more Savannahs than any other breeder at the time, and was one of the first breeders to breed down to the later generations and produce fertile males. Joyce was also the one who first introduced the breed to the public via exhibition at a major cat show in Westchester, New York in 1997.
3.) Are they domestic? Many breeders will tell you they all are domestic. I would like to give you my honest view as I believe it is important to match proper homes with each cat to ensure both are happy!
F1 & F2s are only 1 and 2 generations removed from the Serval. They do need more attention and should be placed in homes with no young children. I have an F1 that is amazingly sweet, affectionate and beautiful. However, I got her from a breeder who was well versed in proper breeding & temperaments. Not all F1s and F2s are appropriate for everyone nor every household. Usually these cats are extremely loyal to one person and dog-like. F3s and above are usually very domesticated and good in homes with well behaved children.
Please do not hesitate to contact me about figuring out the best fit for your household. One of the most important items a breeder can do for you is assess your household and the available cats and try to make the best match for you.
4.) Why are Savannahs so expensive? Savannahs are difficult to breed, especially in the earlier F1, F2 generations. Males are not fertile until generation 5. They are rare and are priced accordingly. Everyone can afford a Savannah - F5s & F6s are very reasonable priced at around $1000-1500 depending on quality and if they are standard or nonstandard. F1s can be quite expensive.
5.) Do Savannahs have to be kept indoors? I believe Savannahs should be kept indoors and only allowed out in well made outdoor enclosures or on harnesses. It is a requirement in my written contract to keep the cat indoors unless on a harness.
6.) Do Savannahs require special care? The one requirement that is not so different from other active breeds is that a Savannah needs some more exercise. You should expect to spend about 20-30 minutes a day playing with your Savannah to keep her/him from getting bored.
They will also require a lot of attention and interaction as they seek affection from their human moms and dads. They love to play with toys and follow you around!
They are super smart and do require that you "kitty proof" your home.
They use the litter box, eat "regular" cat food just like all other breeds. Then just like all other cats, they need regular brushing to remove dead hair, nail clippings and yearly vet visits.
7.) What size are they? This is one question that drives all Savannah breeders crazy! Everyone wants a big giant Savannah. No matter their size... ours are always big in personality!
First, the goal of the Savannah breed is to make the wild look domesticated and be able to live in your living room like a domestic cat. They are supposed to be medium-large cats. This means 8-12 pounds for females and 12-18 pounds for males that are F3 or higher.
The higher generations (F1, F2) do tend to be larger but there is no guarantee. My first priority with my Savannah's is their health & temperament and ensuring you have a loving pet, not the size. I hope the public starts to feel the same way.
Also, when they are younger, it is hard to know the final adult size.
8.) What Colors Do Savannahs Come In? Recognized/accepted colors are Brown Spotted, Black Spotted Silver, Melanistic
They do occasionally come in other colors because recessives are forever. Examples are a blue spotted and the marble pattern.
Another important quality to look for is the spots. They should be spotted. Savannahs should not have rosettes. Rosettes are the beautiful pattern found on Bengals. They should not have stripes. Stripes are what you would see on a proper type Toyger.
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