Because of their interesting hybrid status — they are half wild serval, half domesticated cat — Savannah cats have many interesting characteristics and traits that make them seem different from your average house cat. One wild trait owners often wonder about is if Savannah cats roar.
Savannah cats cannot roar as wild cats do. However, they are considered to be vocal cats and instead will meow, chirp, and purr often. Savannah cat vocalizations are very interesting and many owners state that they sometimes don’t sound like a normal house cat.
It’s important to understand all the different types of vocalizations a Savannah cat can do, as this can help you understand what they may want, need, or what they’re trying to communicate. Keep reading to learn more about Savannah cats and the noises they can make!
Cat Vocalizations – What You Need To Know
Because Savannah cats are hybrids, they have many traits that are similar to their wild serval ancestor or parent, as well as traits similar to their domesticated cat side. With this mix of wild and domesticated, Savannahs are incredibly unique and wonderful pets to have in any home! This also means that vocally, they can sometimes sound quite different from your average housecat.
Savannah cats are considered to be quite vocal pets. While they aren’t the noisiest of cats, they aren’t quiet by any means either. But remember, every cat is unique in its own way — and so is every Savannah! They might be considered very vocal as a breed, but don’t be surprised if you have a quiet Savannah. It happens!
Because of their vocal nature, Savannahs will often voice their opinion, just like other vocal cats do. They can meow normally, but they can also chirp and even voice a mix of chirping and meowing that seems unique just to the Savannah breed. Their different vocalizations can help inform you of what they want, if they’re hungry, or if they’re sad.
Before we discuss these specific vocalizations in more detail, let’s consider if Savannah cats roar.
Do Savannah Cats Roar?
Savannah cats cannot roar like other big, wild cats do. Regular domesticated cats also cannot roar. Wild servals do not roar either. For the most part, only big cats roar — and that’s because they can’t purr as smaller cats do.
Roaring Vs. Purring
Smaller cats, both wild and domesticated, can purr when they breathe in and out. Big cats cannot do this. However, only big cats can roar. Big cats can roar because part of their voice box is replaced with a ligament that allows them to roar in different frequencies.
As smaller cats do not have this ligament as a part of their voice box, they do not have the capabilities of roaring. But they can purr continuously, something that big cats cannot do. Plus, smaller cats — both domesticated and wild — have a slew of other noises that they can make, including sounds to scare off predators.
Do Savannah Cats Growl?
While Savannah cats cannot roar, they can growl! Their growls vary in frequency and strength from cat to cat, and some many not ever growl unless they feel very threatened or aggressive. It’s very possible you won’t ever hear your Savannah cat growl, especially if you have an overly friendly cat or a lower generation, such as an F4 or later.
Savannah cats only tend to growl when they’re feeling very aggressive or feel threatened. Sometimes, if they’re not overly fond of strangers coming into the house, they’ll begin to growl at the new intruder. Other times, if they don’t like to be introduced to new animals, they’ll growl at the new puppy or cat who is introduced to the mix.
However, Savannahs can also growl during more playful times, such as when they’re busy attacking one of their favorite toys. Basically, any time a Savannah is focused and feeling aggressive — even when they’re feeling quite playful — they can growl. This is seen more often in early generations, such as F1s who have a wild serval as a parent rather than as an ancestor.
Can Savannah Cats Hiss?
Another way Savannah cats can show their displeasure, anger, or scare off predators is by hissing. Domesticated cats can hiss, and if you’ve ever owned a regular house cat, you’ve probably heard them hiss at least once. Cats will hiss if they feel threatened or right before they are about to become aggressive.
Savannahs will hiss for the same reasons. A hiss can act as a warning. Basically, once you hear your Savannah cat hiss, it’s time to get out of the way and ensure your Savannah has a place to go to be by themselves and calm down immediately, as a Savannah will usually hiss right before they attack, if they feel threatened.
While regular house cats hiss just like Savannahs do, a Savannah cat’s hiss sounds a little different than your average cat’s. In fact, some owners and breeders have stated that their hiss sounds more like a snake hiss than anything. You can thank their wild serval side for that!
Other Savannah Cat Vocalizations
Savannah cats can make many different noises. We’ve already discussed their growling and hissing, which they only do when they are feeling particularly aggressive or threatened. However, there are many other vocalizations that they do during different moods.
Purring is perhaps the most common vocalization that they do. All house cats can purr, just like all Savannahs can. Savannahs purr when they are feeling very content, happy, and relaxed in their current situation. If you’ve ever cuddled with your Savannah or heard them purring as you pet them, this is because they’re thrilled with how their life is at that moment.
However, cats are known to purr for different reasons. While they often purr because they are content, it has been proven that some cats will purr if they’re stressed or anxious and trying to calm themselves down. Basically, they can purr to destress. But don’t worry, you’ll be able to recognize the differences between a happy purr and a worried purr!
Do Savannah Cats Chirp?
Have you ever heard your Savannah make an odd chirping noise as they’re watching the birds outside? Savannahs and domesticated cats can both make this chirping noise. Often, you’ll hear it when they’re watching animals prance or fly around outside. However, they may also make this noise if they see something they cannot reach, such as a cool light reflection on the ceiling.
This chirping noise is what Savannahs and house cats do to signal that they really want to grab or play with the animal outside, but they can’t reach them. Savannahs will chirp when they want to go hunt that bird outside and are stressed or annoyed that they can’t reach it. It’s basically what they do when they feel they have all this pent-up energy.
Savannahs are excellent hunters, so you may hear this chirping noise often. Some owners have even stated that their chirping sounds a little different to a regular house cats, and this noise is unique to Savannahs. But chirping is nothing to worry about. Your Savannah just wants to hunt those birds outside. In these situations, you can just play with them indoors with their favorite toy instead!
Do Savannah Cats Meow?
Savannah cats also meow, just as your normal house cat would. As we said above, Savannahs are considered to be quite vocal pets, so you might hear them meow often. Meows can mean anything, so your Savannah could meow in greeting, if they’re hungry, if they want attention, or even if they’re angry.
Eventually, owners begin to realize what different meow inflections mean and what their Savannah could want with each new meow. However, sometimes their meows are just a way that they talk to you and could even mean a little hello. Savannahs are very friendly and incredibly loyal cats. They don’t say they’re cats with dog-like personalities for nothing!
Because of these similarities to dogs, Savannahs actually are known to greet their owners at the door with a meow and a fluff of the base of their tail! Savannahs are also known to have a low, drawn out meow — that might even sound like a yowl — when they want attention or desperately want to play!
Savannah cats cannot roar, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t have many other interesting vocalizations! Just like domesticated cats, Savannahs can meow, hiss, and chirp in different situations. However, they can also growl when they are particularly aggressive, and sometimes their chirping sounds more wild than a house cat’s ever could!