As Savannah cats have both wild serval and domesticated cats as their parents or ancestors, many aspects of their lives are quite different from average house cats. This is definitely true when considering the number of kittens Savannah cats can have.
A Savannah cat’s litter size depends on what generation they are. An F1 Savannah comes from a litter size of only about 1-3 kittens at most. An F2 Savannah can come from a litter size of 1-4 kittens, while an F3 cat can come from a litter size of 4-6 kittens.
Basically, the earlier the generation, the fewer kittens in the litter. Later generations have more kittens in one litter. We will go into more detail about Savannah cat litter sizes below, and we’ll also discuss some of the factors that can affect Savannah cat litter sizes.
How Many Kittens Are In An Average Savannah Litter?
Average Savannah litters vary from generation to generation. F1 Savannahs are the closest generation you get to a wild serval, as they are the direct offspring of a serval and a domesticated cat. F1s are much more expensive than the later generations, as they are much rarer and often desired by many potential owners.
F1 Savannah kittens come from a litter of only about 1-3 kittens. For the most part, it’s not rare to discover that a pregnant cat is only carrying one kitten. A cat carrying three F1 Savannahs is considered to be great luck, as this very often doesn’t happen. Because of this, only a few F1 kittens are born every year and some owners can wait years before they adopt one.
F2 Savannah kittens tend to come from a litter of about 1-4. While they have a slightly bigger litter, this again still varies a lot. Four kittens in one F2 litter is still great luck. F2 Savannahs have about 25-35% exotic genes, versus an F1s 50-57%. An F2 Savannah cat has one grandparent that is a serval; an F1 Savannah has one parent that is a serval.
Later Generations Have Bigger Litters
As we mentioned above, the later the generation, the bigger the litter the cat will have. F1 and F2 Savannahs tend to have very small litters, and F1 Savannahs are incredibly rare because of this. Meanwhile, F3 Savannahs come from litters of about 4-6 kittens. F3 Savannahs are only about 15-21% wild serval, as they only have one great grandparent that is a serval.
Therefore, they are much closer to a domesticated cat than a serval, which in the end helps them come from larger litters. This also makes F3 Savannahs less expensive than F1 and F2s, as well as much less rare. Any generation after F3 has about the same litter amount and is also cheaper than the earlier generations.
Other Generational Differences
Different generations of Savannahs don’t just affect the litter size that they come from. Overall height, personality, and character traits are all affected by the generation of the Savannah. After all, a Savannah that has a wild serval parent is definitely going to be “wilder” than a later generation that only has a serval as a distant ancestor.
The earlier the generation, the closer to a wild animal a Savannah is. Therefore, F1 Savannahs are taller than all other generations (at about 18 inches tall) and have more personality traits that are similar to a serval than to your average house cat. F1s, because of this, also require much more attention than later generations.
F2 Savannahs are slightly more laid back than F1s, but they still need a lot of attention during the day. F2s definitely have more domesticated cat traits, though they are still quite tall (they stand at about 16 inches). F3s and later are more domesticated cat than wild serval, and you can see this in their height (about 12 inches tall) and their personalities!
What Influences Savannah Litter Size?
There are many reasons certain generations have smaller litter sizes. First, it’s incredibly difficult to successfully mate a wild serval with a domesticated cat. Sometimes it can even take breeders years for this to happen. This has to do with the temperament of a wild serval, as well as the fact that wild female servals have unpredictable heat cycles, especially compared to a house cat.
Unpredictable Heat Cycles
Sometimes, it might take longer than a year for a wild female serval to go through their heat cycle, which contributes to the rarity of F1 Savannah kittens. It’s much more difficult to breed F1 Savannahs, therefore they are more expensive and much rarer than any of the later generations.
Fertility and genetics also have much to do with F1 Savannah kittens. Sometimes, wild servals can lose some or all of their fertility as they age, which is natural for most animals. Breeding a wild serval with a domesticated cat also affects the kitten’s genes — they are hybrids after all — and could be why F1s come from such small litters.
Wild Servals In Nature
We must also look at wild servals and how they breed their own serval kittens to truly understand why earlier generations of Savannahs come from such small litters (at least, compared to average house cat litter sizes). Servals have litters of about 1-3 kittens on average. That’s not different from the litter an F1 Savannah comes from.
As F1s actually have a serval as a parent, this makes sense as to why they come from such small litters. But why do F3s come from bigger litters of about four to six kittens? Well, F3s are much closer to a domesticated cat than to a wild serval. Domesticated cats have litters of about four kittens on average, though some cats can have up to 12 kittens in one litter!
This is why first generations have such small litters, and why later generations have much bigger ones. Servals themselves don’t have huge litters of kittens, and F1s come from a serval parent, while the later generations only have serval ancestors!
How Pregnancy Impacts Savannah Litter Size
Earlier generations of Savannahs are quite rare. As a result, most female F1 and F2 Savannahs born to a breeder will be kept for breeding, though often infertility is a major issue with female Savannahs. On average, of the female Savannahs that are kept for breeding (rather than being adopted by an owner), less than 50% actually reproduce.
Therefore, infertility in Savannahs greatly affects pregnancy and breeding as a whole. We’ve already discussed above how wild female servals have inconsistent heat cycles, which also impact pregnancies and the eventual litters of F1 Savannah kittens. Infertility is constant in early Savannah generations and is yet another reason there are so few of them.
Later generations (F3s, F4s, and later) don’t seem to have these infertility issues, at least not to the rate that F1 and F2s do. F3 Savannahs (and all later ones) have an average fertility rate, whereas F2s have a low fertility rate. F1s are considered to have a very low fertility rate.
Pregnancy, Infertility, And Overall Price
Pregnancy and infertility have large effects on the overall price of early generations of Savannah cats. Because it’s incredibly difficult to breed wild servals with domesticated cats, there are fewer F1 Savannah cats born every year versus the later generations. This makes F1 cats rarer and, as a result, much more expensive. F1s are the rarest of Savannah breeds and also the “wildest”.
F2 Savannah cats are also more expensive than later generations, though definitely not as expensive as F1s. This is again because of infertility rates in Savannahs. An F2 kitten comes from an F1 Savannah cat, and often, female Savannahs are infertile. Because so many female Savannahs do not reproduce, this makes F2 Savannahs rare as well. However, they still aren’t as rare as F1s are!
F3 Savannahs don’t seem to have these problems. At least, not to the extent that F1 and F2 generation Savannahs do. Therefore, they aren’t as rare, which makes them significantly less expensive than the earlier generations. For the most part, the later the generation, the cheaper they’ll be. But that doesn’t mean these cats aren’t still wild. They’re still a hybrid, after all!
Savannah litter sizes are directly influenced by how close the generation of the Savannah is to their wild serval parent or ancestor. Early generations (F1s and F2s) are always going to come from small litters of kittens, while later generations (F3s and F4s+) are always going to come from much larger litters of kittens.
Wild servals usually only have about 1-3 kittens per litter, and this influences F1 and F2 litters. Meanwhile, F3s and later generations are closer to domesticated cats, and you can also see this in the number of kittens they have per litter. While F1 and F2s are rarer than the later generations, all types of Savannahs are wonderful pets to have and are incredibly interesting animals!