Savannah cats are surging in popularity as a hybrid breed and are being sought out by pet owners all over the globe. If you are planning to get your hands on a Savannah cat, you may have many questions concerning how to get a Savannah cat in the first place.
In order to get a Savannah cat, you have to find a reputable breeder or Savannah rescue center. Additionally, you want to consider which generation you are legally able to own in your location. As Savannahs are a hybrid species, some countries, states or cities may have restrictions in place.
Savannah cats, while beautiful, are a very different kind of cat, especially if you opt for an early generation, and they require a lot of time and dedication to take care of them properly. Read on to see if a Savannah cat is right for you and how to purchase one safely through a reputable breeder.
Is A Savannah Cat The Right Cat For You?
With the amount of attention Savannah cats are receiving all over the internet they have become a heavily sought-after pet. As a hybrid species these cats have an exotic and wild look while being more tame due to their domestic genes. However, many underestimate the effect that their wild genes can have on their behavior.
Many Savannah owners have unfortunately become overwhelmed and were unprepared to take care of such an animal and have surrendered them to rescue centers. This is not to discourage you from bringing home a Savannah, but rather to encourage researching whether or not a Savannah cat is right for you, including deciding which generation best suits your lifestyle.
A Lot Of Things To Consider
Really, there is a Savannah out there for everyone, it’s just a matter of what you are looking for in your pet. Things you may want to consider are whether or not you work long hours, travel frequently, the size of your home, whether you have other pets or children, your financial standing, etc. All of these factors will help determine which Savannah is right for you and your home.
Your budget is a key factor to consider when buying a pet, especially a Savannah cat. Savannah cats are one of the most expensive breeds to produce and can cost between $2,000-$20,000 depending on what generation you are looking for. Even a rescue center will still charge a significant amount to rehome a Savannah to ensure you are serious about taking care of them.
The Cost Factor
When considering an F1 or F2 Savannah(26%-85% wild genes)you are looking at the higher end of scale to purchase your Savannah. Additionally, most breeders and vets will recommend a very high quality raw or wet food diet which can also be costly as well as time consuming. Of course, there are also the vet bills to consider for a hybrid who may need special treatment.
If money isn’t an issue for you, you’ll still want to consider what type of lifestyle you live and if an early generation Savannah is right for you. Savannahs require a lot of attention from their owners and become quite attached, making periods of separation difficult, resulting in loneliness or boredom. So, if you’re someone who is away from home a lot, a later generation may be more suitable.
Much Bigger Cats
Additionally, early generations grow much larger than a house cat, and the average F1 male can weigh up to 25lbs versus a house cat that tops out at around 12lbs. These cats can also be as tall as 18” and as long as 20”, while being capable of jumping to a height of 8 feet! This is no small cat, and with their high energy levels they can quickly become a nuisance.
It is recommended that if you do decide to go with an earlier generation that you are an experienced cat owner. An F1 Savannah is by no means a great fit for a first-time pet, especially if you are unable to spend the amount of time it takes to socialize them, create an entertaining environment, or provide an expensive high-quality diet.
If you are feeling pretty comfortable about your skills as a cat owner, but not quite sure if you can commit to an F1 or F2 Savannah cat, then you may want to consider an F3 Savannah instead. These cats still have a lot of energy and similar qualities to their earlier generation counterparts, but have also adopted the more familiar personality of a domestic house cat.
While still incredibly loyal, F3 Savannahs are more independent and can handle short periods of separation if you work longer hours. They are also more likely to enjoy being picked up and handled, unlike earlier generations who would prefer to just be petted rather than held. An F3 will also be a bit smaller while still maintaining that exotic coat pattern so many people love.
F4s And Later
Once you reach F4 and onward you now have an exotic looking cat with all the benefits of a domestic cat, including being smaller in size. These Savannahs are considered to be the perfect fit for any home, especially if you have other pets or children. While earlier generations can get along with others too, later generations are much more tame and easily socialized.
Later generations are also closer in size to a domestic cat with lower energy levels, but still very intelligent and capable of being leash trained like early generations. Additionally, these Savannahs will probably want to snuggle up on the couch or in bed with their humans. If you are just starting out as a pet owner and want a Savannah cat, this is the generation for you!
Where To Find A Reputable Savannah Cat Breeder
Finding a reputable Savannah breeder can seem a bit challenging, but with the proper resources it can be a lot less of a headache than you think. A great place to start would be looking at The International Cat Association’s (TICA) registered Savannah cat breeders page. This page provides a list of all Savannah breeders who have registered and agreed to TICA’s code of ethics.
The Legalities Of Owning A Savannah Cat
However, before doing the leg work and seeking out a breeder just remember to check your local laws as to whether or not it is legal to own a Savannah cat. They’re legal to own in most places in the USA, but there may be special permits required for F1s and F2s, or you may only be able to have an F3 or later for example. Always check your state’s as well as your local city’s laws to be sure.
Legalities aside, once you have narrowed down your search to a few different breeders you will want to contact them directly. Any reputable breeder should be able to provide you with their means of operation including their enclosure set up, diet, and which vet they use.
Additional questions should include:
- Do your kittens come with a health guarantee and pedigree papers?
- Who are the parents (Savannah to Savannah or Serval to Savannah)?
- Have they been fully vaccinated, and when are their next vaccinations due?
- Can you provide references of previous buyers?
- Can you provide photos and videos of the kitten before they’re brought home?
- How do you socialize your kittens?
- How long have you been a Savannah breeder?
These questions will help determine whether or not the breeder you are speaking with is legitimate. Breeders should have no issue with a live webchat of the facility and their kittens, or an in-person tour, if they are abiding by the proper code of ethics. Being thorough will ensure you find the right breeder and avoid scams, which unfortunately can be very common.
Caring For A New Savannah Cat
Once you have found the right breeder and Savannah cat for you, you will now have to start preparing for their arrival. If you are waiting on a litter to be born you will have plenty of time to set up your home with lots of entertaining cat activities, while putting safeguards in place to prevent unwanted accidents or destruction of your property.
Providing a stimulating and well-rounded environment for your Savannah is very important for their continued development. Savannahs can be high energy cats, often prone to boredom, needing lots of places to climb and toys to play with. Be sure to set up cat trees or shelves throughout your home in places your cat will spend their time, as it’s important they have their own space.
Time And Space
When bringing home a new pet it’s a good idea to have a closed off area for them to relax in for a few days. This allows your Savannah to slowly adjust to its new surroundings and learn where things are like their litter box. This is also helpful if you are introducing them to another pet or even children, as giving them the time they need to adjust is key.
Of course, you will also want to provide a healthy diet for your new Savannah, ensuring they live a long and healthy life. Talk to your breeder about what type of diet they feed their Savannahs as well as your vet to determine what’s best for them. You may opt to change their diet based on your own budget and preferences, but make sure you discuss it with your vet and change their diet slowly.
Savannahs require a high quality, high protein diet, which means you should avoid your generic cat kibble from the grocery store. You want to be sure no matter what kind of diet your Savannah is eating that it is made up of natural ingredients and free from by-products and fillers. A lot of dry food is notorious for having many fillers, a lot of carbohydrates, and overall low nutrition.
However, if you do the proper research and speak with your vet, you can provide a suitable diet using high-quality dry food if that is your preference. In most cases a high-quality wet food or raw diet is recommended and will be the most beneficial for your Savannah. With raw diets becoming more popular there are a lot more options out there, making it convenient and cost-effective.
Visits To The Vet
You will want to make sure to find a good vet for your Savannah as they will need check-ups at least once or twice a year. It’s important to keep up on these visits in order to catch any potential health problems early on. This is not to say your Savannah is any more prone to preexisting conditions than other cats, but it is always better to play it safe.
Regular check-ups also give your vet an opportunity to perform other services like dental exams and nail trimming which can be a challenge for you as an owner. This is especially true if you have an F1 or F2 Savannah, which are much larger and can be potentially dangerous to handle in this way on your own. Just like a domestic cat, Savannahs can become irritated and may scratch or bite.
They Need Time
Finally, whether you are bringing home a kitten or an adult, it’s important to spend a lot of time with them when they first come home. Socialization is very important for Savannahs so that they are able to adjust to being around others, including you, your family, and other pets. This bonding time also builds trust and develops your relationship with your Savannah.
Socialization can include play time with their toys, hand feeding with treats, or using puzzle toys for further enrichment. Be sure not to overstimulate them, and deescalate play when it becomes too much. This way, you’ll be able to build healthy habits and create a strong bond between you and your Savannah.
If you’re looking to get a Savannah cat, there are a lot of things you need to consider before you go looking for a breeder. You need to think about which generation of Savannah cat will suit your own lifestyle, and you also need to consider your budget and how much space you have in your home. Then, you just need to find a reputable breeder, and set your home up for your new pet!