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Can Savannah Cats Live In Apartments?

If you are considering bringing home a Savannah cat you may want to think about your living situation and if it is really suitable. Savannahs are becoming a very popular breed, which leads many prospective owners wondering if Savannah cats can live in apartments. 

Savannah cats can live in apartments, provided they are the right generation. Earlier generations such as F1s are much larger than house cats and more energetic, making apartment life more difficult. Later generations with milder temperaments that are also smaller in size are much more suitable.

Below, we’ll go into more detail about the personality types that a Savannah cat may have and how you can create the right habitat for your Savannah. We’ll also discuss some of the things to be aware of when you first bring your Savannah cat home. 

Does A Savannah Cat’s Personality Suit Living In An Apartment?

Each generation of Savannah has their own personality type, size, energy, and dependency level. Some generations of Savannahs are just not suited for apartment life and would not thrive, making it unfair on them.

In general, it’s recommended if you live in an apartment that you consider an F3 Savannah or later. Unless you live in an unusually large apartment with a considerable amount of space, most apartments are just too small for an F1 or F2. These earlier generations are quite large, averaging 17 inches tall and up to 25 pounds, versus the average house cat at 9.8 inches and 10 pounds.

Not Enough Space

Similar to how you wouldn’t keep a large dog in an apartment you also wouldn’t want to keep a large cat. Consider that they need more space than the average cat to stay active and are always looking for places to explore. A lack of space could lead to boredom or even anxiety, causing other behaviors to arise such as jumping on things they shouldn’t or urinating out of the litter box.

Earlier generations also tend to be prone to loneliness and need a lot of attention, so if you live in a small apartment on top of a busy schedule it can put a lot of stress on your Savannah. Stress can have a significant effect on your Savannah and their overall health, possibly reducing their appetite, making them drink less, making them lethargic, or forcing them to lash out or become moody.

As you move into the later generations, starting at F3, you will notice a difference in personality. Genetically speaking, an F3 will have more domestic DNA,causing more domestic traits to show through versus earlier generations with more wild genes. This generation is more mellow and a bit more independent, making apartment life possible.

You Still Need A Lot Of Space

While an F3’s temperament is usually fairly mild, it is still larger than the average house cat but smaller than earlier generations. For this reason, it’s still recommended that you have a medium to large apartment to house an F3. These cats still have higher energy needs than a house cat and require plenty of enrichment and personal space.

Ideally, F4s and later are what you are looking for when you live in an apartment. By this generation Savannahs are much smaller and closer in size to the average house cat. Additionally, their personalities are much more similar as well. While they are still playful and highly intelligent, they also love to sleep the day away and are more independent. 

Should A Savannah Cat Stay In The Apartment?

Ethically and humanely speaking, keeping an early generation Savannah like an F1 in an apartment wouldn’t be very fair. When thinking about the needs of an animal, a good reference is the “Five Freedoms”, a commonly followed guide to the humane treatment and wellbeing of animals. The freedoms, according to the Animal Humane Society, are as follows:

  • Freedom from hunger and thirst
  • Freedom from discomfort
  • Freedom from pain, injury, and disease
  • Freedom to express normal behavior
  • Freedom from fear and distress

For the average F1 Savannah many of these freedoms cannot be met or would be hard to meet in an apartment. In order for them to express normal behavior and maintain a level of comfort they would require a lot of space. Normal behavior may require several climbing areas, or large spaces to run through while chasing a toy. A cat of their size needs a lot of cat-friendly spaces.

The Legalities

It’s also worth thinking about thelegalitiesof owning an early-generation Savannah in an apartment. There are many cities, including New York and Denver, that do not let people own anything earlier than an F3. Some of that has to do with a Savannah being a hybrid, but it also comes down to their large size.

Many apartments are located in cities which are more crowded and filled with strange sounds and smells. For early generations this can actually cause some anxiety, whereas later generations are more adapted to that type of lifestyle.

Now if you have chosen an F3 or later and have taken the proper steps to making sure the Five Freedoms have been met, then an apartment could be the perfect fit for you and your Savannah. Ultimately, because of their similarities to house cats, later generations are very well suited to an apartment and don’t require too much space.

Because apartments tend to be smaller than the average house, it’s still a great idea to get your Savannah cat outside for some exercise. Almost all Savannahs are able to be trained to walk on a leash and harness, and it’s a great way to make sure they are getting enough enrichment. Going for walks should be a part of any Savannah’s life, but it’s especially good for those living in smaller homes.

How To Make An Apartment Suitable For A Savannah Cat

As a Savannah cat owner, it’s up to you to make your Savannah’s house feel like a home. Any housing, big or small, should have some basic necessities for making your cat feel safe, comfortable, and happy. Providing these basic needs will improve your Savannah’s overall health as well. With less stress and a great diet, they will thrive.

A great start to creating a Savannah cat paradise in your apartment is to provide plenty of perches and other high spaces such as a cat tree. This is especially important if you live in a smaller apartment that doesn’t have a lot of square footage. If you can’t build out, build up! Plus, Savannahs need high spaces to feel comfortable and that they have control over their domain.

Keep in mind your Savannah doesn’t live with you but rather you live together, and that means sharing your space. If you have a lot of shelves, book cases, or other areas that are solely occupied by your belongings (especially valuables), it is essential that your Savannah has an equal amount of their own space.

When your home starts to feel like a minefield to your cat because they are being shooed away constantly, it can cause them distress. However, if there are lots of alternatives to jumping on your belongings, such as a cat bed, hammock, rug, or even just the living room couch, they will feel less of an urge to jump on your things while still being stress free.

They Love Water

Another great activity Savannahs love is playing in the water, something you can accomplish even in an apartment with your shower or bathtub. Many owners tell stories of their Savannahs hopping in the shower with them just to play in the water. Water offers a lot of exposure for your Savannah to different textures, smells, and even sounds. Some even like playing with rubber duckies!

With a smaller space, lots of toys are recommended to keep your Savannah occupied. This is a great tip for any cat owner living in a small space. Even though later generations tend to be less active than earlier ones, all cats are prone to hyperactivity at times. When cats don’t have enough stimulation, whether it’s facilitated by you or by playing with a toy, they can quickly become bored.

Boredom is the gateway to CATastrophe, which could mean the destruction of something you value. If an owner is ever having trouble with their Savannah cat being destructive, it’s usually because they don’t give them enough stimulation. Keeping a variety of toys, puzzle feeders, and Savannah-friendly furniture will greatly reduce the risk of them getting bored.

Final Thoughts

So, if you live in an apartment but are dying to get your hands on a Savannah cat, your best option is to get a later generation. Keeping an F1 or F2 Savannah cat in a small apartment just doesn’t offer enough space to meet their unique needs. Later generation Savannahs are just as beautiful and intelligent as earlier generations, but they tend to require less space and have fewer wild traits.