As a Savannah cat owner, you may still have some questions about making your furry friend more comfortable at home. Bringing home a unique pet such as a Savannah may make you start to wonder how similar their behavior can be to a normal cat, including things like whether or not they like to climb.
Savannah cats love to climb and jump to access high places. Felines are notorious for loving high spaces, and this can be traced back to their wild instincts. For Savannahs this is even more prevalent as they share their bloodlines with wild Serval cats.
This means there are some considerations to make when you first get a Savannah cat, as you want to make sure you can provide them with the right environment to keep them happy and healthy. Below, we will discuss their urge to climb in more detail, and how you can help them satisfy it.
Why Do They Have This Urge?
Savannah cats are a special breed of cat called a hybrid species, as they are the result of breeding a domestic cat and a wild Serval cat. Earlier generations, such as F1-F2, who share a significantbloodline with Servals will carry a lot of the characteristics of their wild relatives. As you move down the generations, Savannahs will present more domestic behaviors.
With that in mind most felines are still very connected to their natural instincts and this becomes more apparent in Savannah cats with such recent Serval relatives. In the wild, Serval cats areconsidered to be the best hunters of the feline world. Part of the reason they are such great hunters istheir ability to climb and jump.
In the wild, a Serval will stalk its prey and wait for the perfect moment to leap into the air, landing on top of their prey. They use their weight to subdue the animal before delivering a fatal bite to the neck. Although your Savannah probably won’t be hunting live prey it still has the same urge to jump and climb as the wild Serval.
Additionally, Servals and Savannahs share theurge to climb as it also provides a sense ofsecurity and comfort. Beingup high means they have a better view not just of their prey but of potential threats. Having a nice cat tree to climb or high shelves will make your Savannah feel moreat home and that they are in control.
If you own any type of cat, they will feel more comfortable up high. They are natural climbers, and in the case of your Savannah anexcellent jumperas well. Depending on their size, Savannah cats are known to jump as high as eight feet from a sitting or standing position. As an owner you will have to make some adjustments to ensure a safe climbing experience for your cat.
Why It Can Be Dangerous
Depending on the type of space your home provides it can prove challenging to create a safe environment for your Savannah cat. For example, if you own an F1-F2 Savannah, they are typically larger and often jump and climb the highest. They also often take on more of the wild traits of the Serval. This generation tends to have higher energy and is more prone to becoming bored and curious.
Many Savannah cat owners of the lower generations have had many experiences of their cats jumping up on counters, refrigerators, cabinets, and even hanging light fixtures! This can become a dangerous recipe for both your Savannah and your property too. If the opportunity is there your Savannah will leap onto and climb anything it finds suitable.
Leaping onto certain surfaces such as a stove top could potentially burn your Savannah’s paws if left unattended. Other hazards are jumping on cabinets or shelves that may not be weighed down and can fall over while your Savannah is climbing. This could result in your cat being injured or even yourself from the falling object. Your cat could simply even knock heavy objects from high shelves.
It can get quite expensive to own a Savannah simply because they tend to get into everything and anything. Most people who have owned cats in general will tell you they have lost tons of glassware, ornaments, food and so on just from their felines jumping on things they shouldn’t. For a Savannah you need to multiply that problem tenfold, which is why it is so important to “cat proof” your home.
Additionally, you want to keep in mind that as Savannahs are so intelligent and can jump to extreme heights, there is always thechance they could escape. Even if you think a window is out of reach or the air duct without a cover is high and out of the way, think again. This is also true if you allow your Savannah outdoors, you want to be aware of trees and fences that provide easy climbing access.
Although we mainly discussed the wild antics of the lower Savannah generations, theseprecautions should apply to any Savannah cat. All Savannahs still have the ability to climb and jump significantly higher than normal domestic cats. Even an F5 Savannah can hold onto their wild roots and be just as boisterous as an F1.
Tips For Safely Climbing
A Safe Environment
If you are planning on bringing home a new Savannah cat or kitten, you will need to take the proper steps tocreate a safe climbing environment. There are several ways to ensure your Savannah’s natural need for heights is satisfied, while alsokeeping them off of places they shouldn’t be.
If your home is on the smaller side and you do not have any outdoor space for your Savannah to hang out there are still simple solutions. Look into purchasing or building multiple cat trees that will provide both a safe climbing space as well as a scratching post for your Savannah. Feel free to get creative with different styles and shapes. Pinterest and other DIY sites are a great place to start.
A normal cat tree purchased at a pet shop is acceptable for your Savannah, but just make sure you add some extra weight to the bottom. You can even widen the main base in addition to the weight. Because Savannah cats are typically much larger and heavier (up to 40lbs) than most domestic cats the added width and weight will prevent tipping. Some people even bolt their cat trees to the ground.
Another great addition could be cat shelves or ramps. You want to place your shelves or rampsaway from any personal cabinets or shelving. Make it obvious these shelves are for your Savannah, and line them with carpet or another scratching surface. These can be used to allow your cat to access certain high spaces as well as a safe way down.
If there is a backyard available, consider building your Savannah some type of enclosure. This will provide your feline friend with plenty of enrichment if done properly. Use logs and other types of timber to create natural tree-like structures for climbing and add in differentshelves and resting spots. You can even include a small pond or kiddie pool to satisfy their love of water.
In some cases, people willconnect their Savannah’s outdoor enclosure to the inside of their homesso their cat can come and go as they please. This can be done by installing a dog dooror cat flap to the exterior of your home, or even a window. Just be sure the enclosure itself is fixed to the side of the house and has no cracks or access points for your Savannah to escape.
Now that you have installed all of your Savannah cat climbing gear and enclosures you have to “cat-proof” the rest ofthe house. With any pet it is always best to make sure you keep any food or breakable objects away from the edges of counters or tables. If something is 12 feet or higher but you still have a box or trash can nearby your Savannah can use it to access the spot regardless.
Finally, no house will ever be 100% cat proof, unless of course you do not live there. Living with your Savannah is about finding a balance that suits you both and reduces the chances of potential disaster.
Savannah cats love to climb and jump as it is a part of their natural behavior. Felines were designed to occupy high spaces and reign over their dominion, in this case your home. Creating unique spaces within your home for your Savannah cat to safely climb and jump onto is vital for their health – and your sanity!