5 Questions to Ask
Savannah cats are a cross between domestic cats and wild serval cats. These medium-sized, large-eared African cats are beautiful and intelligent. When bred with domestic cats, they produce animals that boast the best features of both types of cat. They’re highly adept jumpers, displaying incredible athletic ability. They’re also deeply loyal. Some owners even compare them to dogs.
So how can you decide whether a Savannah cat is right for you? And which Savannah cat will fit in best with your family? These five questions can help you make the right choice.
What’s your ideal cat personality?
Cats of all breeds are known for their independence, their intelligence, their ability to bond with human caregivers, and their occasional tendency toward mischief. Every Savannah cat is an individual—a unique product of their genes and environment.
You can learn a lot about a cat’s personality by looking at its generation number. Savannah cats are assigned filial generation numbers (F1, F2, F3, etc.) to denote how much wild ancestry the cat has. F1 cats have one fully wild parent. Later generations have less wild blood, and instead have wild grandparents or great-grandparents.
F1-F3 Savannahs behave similarly to their wild ancestors. They tend to be larger, look more distinct from typical domestic cats, and make more demands on their owner’s time. They’re also likely to be a lap cat, and require more time and exercise.
F4 and later generation Savannahs are more similar to domestic cats. They may still have some wild tendencies, but can be significantly more affectionate are easier to socialize and train.
Why do you want a cat?
What do you want to do with your cat? Do you hope to cuddle up on the couch and watch television? If so, then a lower generation Savannah cat might be the best choice. Are you hoping to lead an active lifestyle, and plan to train your cat to participate? Savannahs often enjoy family activities and outings.
Some other questions to consider include:
Do you have other pets? Small animals may be intimidated by higher generation Savannahs. Higher generation Savannahs may treat birds, rodents, and other caged pets as prey. They may, however, get along well with medium to large-sized dogs.
Can you keep your cat safe? Savannah cats are acrobats who love to jump. If you live in a high-rise, you’ll need to secure the doors to your porch. People who live on busy streets must be proactive about keeping high-energy cats from roaming.
Are you more interested in a companion, or in seeing how a cat behaves in the wild? Earlier filial generation Savannahs behave like their wild ancestors. They display dominance hierarchies, hiss or chirp, and hunt for prey. Later generations show more muted instincts, and tend to be more trainable and social
Do you have children? How old are they? Young children may play too roughly with Savannah cats, and end up with scratches or even bites. Older children often fare better with cats. No matter how old your children are, you must be prepared to supervise them with your cat, and to teach both the cat and the child how to safely interact with one another.
Do you have time to socialize your cat? The single most important predictor of any cat’s temperament is early socialization. You’ll need to expose your cat to dogs, children, other animals, and everything else it might encounter in its life during the first few weeks it spends in your home. The earlier the cat’s filial generation, the more socialization it will need.
How much time do you have to spend with your cat?
All Savannah cats need time with their owners, but the amount of time and how you spend that time varies from cat to cat. Some factors to consider include:
Being physically present: All cats are social animals. They don’t like spending long days alone. So if you work very long days or travel frequently, your cat might be happier with a companion cat. Make sure the two cats get along well, and have been heavily socialized to one another. Leaving two unfamiliar cats unattended is a recipe for fighting. If you’re not interested in another cat, you may need to hire a cat sitter.
Training time: Earlier generation Savannahs need more extensive training. They respond well to consistency and a dominance hierarchy. This requires you to continually enforce the same rules, and to spend more time on training efforts.
Playtime: Earlier generation Savannahs need extensive exercise. They like going on walks, roughhousing, high-energy games of fetch, climbing, and chasing. A few minutes of play won’t be enough. More domesticated Savannahs are lower energy, but crave time with their owners. Your cat may follow you around the house, or even try to shower with you. Consider how you spend your time, how much of that time you want to spend with your cat, and whether you can manage a life with an intelligent and needy pet.
How do you want the cat to look?
Higher generation Savannah cats closely resemble wild cats. F3 and later Savannah cats show significant variability in their appearance. You can’t predict how a cat will look—or how large it will be—based solely on its filial generation number. Please take look at our “past kittens” to see some examples of cats that we have previously bred.
If your living situation requires a smaller cat, consider a lower generation cat. Although all cats vary in size, higher generation cats tend to be consistently larger.
Can you fit a pet in your budget?
Pets are a huge responsibility. From the initial cost of the pet to high-quality food, toys, scratchers, and most importantly great vet care. Making sure you can fit all of these things in your budget long term is something you need to consider before adopting any pet.
A1 Savannahs is proud of our cats. As the founder of this breed, we know how special each and every one of our cats are. We carefully select the lineage of each cat and love them from the very beginning. They’re family. We’re committed to finding them loving and supportive forever homes whom we love to keep in touch with. We’re happy to discuss with you whether a Savannah cat is the right choice for your family.