The Savannah Cat: A Hybrid Domestic Cat Breed
The Savannah cat is one of the larger domestic cat breeds. It is a cross between a domestic cat and a serval, a medium sized, large-eared wild African cat. These spotted cats are very smart and look like small cheetahs. This breed is considered as the newest breed of exotic looking spotted cats which possess dog like personalities and a very wild appearance. They are fun-loving and very busy felines that you won’t catch resting very often. These magnificent cats are extremely active and the earlier generations- the first and second generation- can grow up to weigh twenty pounds (20 lbs.). Also, this kind of cat ranges in size from eight pounds (8 lbs.) to eighteen pounds (18 lbs.) with the larger cats being the early generation males.
History of Savannah Cats
According to its history, Savannah cats were originally bred by a woman named Judee Frank in the 1980’s. She crossbred a male serval, belonging to Suzi Woods, with a Siamese domestic cat to produce the first Savannah cat on April 7, 1986. The first Savannah kitten was then named Savannah. In the year 1989, Frank’s Savannah captivated the interest of Patrick Kelley, who purchased one of the Savannah’s kittens. Patrick Kelley was one of the first enthusiasts who worked towards launching a new domestic breed based on a Serval-domestic cat cross. He approached several serval breeders to help in the development of this new breed and finally he garnered the help of breeder Joyce Sroufe to work with him in taking the steps needed to have the new cat breed recognized. In 1996, Patrick Kelley and Joyce Sroufe wrote the original version of the Savannah breed standard and presented it to the board of The International Cat Association or TICA. They waited for a few years to get the result and in the year 2001 the board accepted the breed for registration under the New Breed Class.
What do Savannah cats look like?
Savannah cats have eye-catching coat colors and patterns. They are dotted cats with spots that are either oval, elongated or round. This cat breed has distinctive parallel stripes running from behind the head, down the shoulder blades and fan into spots. They usually come in different colors like black spotted tabby, black and black silver spotted tabby or black smoke. They have short and dense coats which are slightly rough. The undercoat and hair that makes the spots is soft while the guard hairs are coarser.
With regards to their body structure, they are often depicted as a semi-foreign type. The bodies of Savannah cats are long and leggy. That’s why when a Savannah is sitting, its hind legs are often higher than their spine, like a cheetah. They have well developed and firm bones and muscles. The head of the Savannah cat tends to be longer than wide and like their ancestors, they tend to have long necks. Their heads are small but it is proportional to the body. The shape of its head is often defined as an equilateral triangle. Their tails are of medium thickness and length and taper to a blunt tip. Moreover, their eyes are medium in size and set fairly deeply under a hooded brow. They have typical tear-drop markings that run between and along the nose and the eyes. They also have large ears that are set high on their heads. The tips of the ears are rounded and the bases of the ears are fairly wide. The male can weigh from 6.8 kg up to 9.1 kg, while females can weigh from 4.1 kg to 7.7 kg.
Savannah Cats Temperaments
Savannah cats are known to be outgoing, active, confident and affectionate creatures. They are extremely extroverted, assertive, playful and very vigorous. Aside from that, these kinds of felines are relatively high in intellectual capacity and often associated with dogs due to its loyalty and devotion towards their owners. They like water and love to go for walks and a drive in the car. Their jumping ability has also been recognized. Some Savannahs can leap about eight feet (8 ft.) high from a standing position. They are very inquisitive and have been known to get into all sorts of things. Oftentimes, they learn how to open doors and cupboards. These wonderful creatures are best suited in a home with other dogs.
Interesting Facts about Savannah Cats
If you are interested in owning a Savannah, here are some points of interest you might like to know about this marvelous cat.
- Savannah cats are capable of jumping over an average person’s head.
- They are extremely smart.
- They are very determined. If they want something, they will find a way to get it no matter what.
- They are not lap cats and don’t like to be picked up.
- They are often associated with dogs since they are very loyal and devoted.
- They love to have company, most commonly prefer dogs but they like cats too.
- They have an average lifespan of fifteen years or more.
- They grow for up to three to four years.
- Mostly, they like water. Some even want to take a shower with their favorite owner.
- They are excessively active and you won’t see them resting very often.
- Some of them can possess the ability to open doors with handles and a few with knobs.
- Just like other cats, they eat normal cat foods with higher protein content.
Though this cat breed seems to be strong and robust, cat owners must keep a Savannah‘s health in mind. Its diet needs to be balanced and must contain fats, proteins, limited carbohydrates, minerals and vitamins. In feeding Savannahs, dry, raw or canned cat food will do. Also, fresh water daily is essential in maintaining a Savannah’s active lifestyle.