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Is A Savannah Cat Legal In California?

As a Savannah cat can have a wild serval as a parent or ancestor, they are considered to be hybrid cats. This hybrid status makes them different from your average domesticated cat. In some states, Savannahs and hybrid cats are actually illegal.

It is legal to own all generations of Savannah cats in California. There are currently no laws against owning a Savannah cat in California, but hybrid cat laws do change on a regular basis. However, as of 2021, it is 100% legal to own any Savannah generation in California.

If you’re thinking of owning a Savannah cat, there are lots of things you need to know before you bring one home. Understanding the difference between exotic and hybrid cats, as well as any laws surrounding the owning of a Savannah, is essential. Below, we’ll discuss the most important things.

What Is A Savannah Cat?

A Savannah cat has domesticated cats and wild servals as their parents or ancestors. Because of this, they are hybrid cats. However, not every Savannah has a wild serval as a parent, though all Savannahs some type of wild serval ancestry and exotic genes in them. F1 Savannahs (first-generation cats) are the only generation that has a wild serval as a parent, along with a domesticated cat.

Every generation after this (F2, F3, F4+) only has a wild serval as their grandparent or earlier ancestor. However, all generations are considered to be hybrid cats. When it comes to the legalities of this, every state is different. Some states allow all generations of Savannahs to be owned, whereas other states only allow the later generations to be owned as pets.

As Savannah cats are the offspring of wild servals, they have a lot of exotic personality and appearance traits that make them different from your average house cat. For example, Savannahs tend to be as much as twice as tall and large as a regular domesticated cat. Savannahs are also very energetic and hyper, much like a wild serval can be!

A Savannah Cat’s Personality

A Savannah cat is bigger than a regular house cat and definitely looks exotic, thanks to their serval genes. But what about a Savannah’s personality? For the most part, Savannahs don’t act too different from other domesticated cats. A lot of their personality traits seem to be heightened, though, thanks to that exotic blood of theirs.

For example, Savannahs are excellent hunters. While some domesticated cat breeds are similar, there aren’t many breeds that hunt the way Savannahs do. Savannah cats are also very playful and energetic creatures who need to be stimulated mentally and physically each and every day.

Early Savannah generations — mainly F1s and F2s — do tend to have more serval-like personalities, though they are very friendly creatures as a breed. F1 Savannahs can sometimes be quite loner-like, but they can still be quite friendly with people and other cats and dogs. As long as a Savannah is properly trained and taken care of, you can keep them happy and stable!

Breeding Savannah Cats

Savannah cats have become popular cats to adopt since they were first bred in the late 1980s. Now, there are so many breeders nationwide and worldwide that help pet owners add a Savannah to their family. However, Savannah cats are actually very difficult to breed, especially the early generations. Because of this, Savannahs are incredibly rare and expensive.

For the most part, the earlier the generation, the rarer and more expensive the cat is going to be. This makes F1 Savannahs — cats with domesticated cats and wild servals as their parents — the most expensive and rarest of all the generations. They are also the most popular and sought-after generation, as well as being the ones that look the most like an “exotic” animal!

However, all other generations are still quite popular. The later the generation, the cheaper the cat will most likely be. Later generations also tend to produce Savannahs that look more like domesticated cats, and less like their wild serval ancestor. Of course, all cats and litters are different!

Exotic vs Domestic Savannah Cats

Savannah cats are domesticated cats, as they are bred to be. A Savannah cat’s parents are domesticated cats (breeds vary depending on the specific breeder) and wild servals (if they are F1 generation). A Savannah’s wild serval parent is where they get their “exotic” genes from. However, because of their domesticated parents, Savannahs can be indoor domesticated cats just like every other breed.

Many assume that Savannahs are exotic cats because of how they look. After all, they do look quite similar to their wild serval parent or ancestor. However, Savannahs are actually hybrid domesticated cats and should never be left to their own devices. This also means a Savannah cat should never be allowed outdoors to roam freely, as they could get hurt or lost.

Savannah cats do have exotic genes, though. The earlier the generation, the higher the percentage of exotic genes they have. However, their domesticated genes keep these cats stable and easy to train, which makes them great house pets for any type of household. They may look really exotic, but Savannahs are domesticated cats just like any other large cat breed.

Savannah Generations

While all Savannahs have exotic genes, there are some generations that are considered more “domestic” than others. Often, the later generations are the most domestic cats, according to some laws. This means that the earliest generations — always at least F1 and F2 cats, though sometimes also including F3 Savannahs — are considered to be the most exotic cats.

In some state laws, because of their high percentage of exotic genes, earlier generations are banned while later generations are legal. Often, you’ll see that some states only allow F4 and later Savannah generations. While all Savannah cats are seen as domesticated cats as a whole, some state laws differ from this and have made laws to reflect this point of view.

Every Savannah generation has exotic genes. Every Savannah cat is considered to be a hybrid cat. However, it is hard to deny how similar an F1 Savannah cat looks to a wild serval or an exotic cat. You can definitely see a difference between an F1 and an F4 Savannah in both their personality and appearance. As a result, there are different laws for these different generations in many states.

Is A Savannah Cat Legal In California?

Yes, a Savannah cat is legal to own in California. Currently, there are no laws restricting owners from having any type or generation of Savannah cat in their homes. California has no bans on any cat hybrids, though they have made it illegal to own wolf hybrids in the state.

While it is legal for pet owners to have Savannah cats in California, there are some states that have outlawed the owning of Savannahs. For example, it is illegal to own any generation of Savannah cat in both Georgia and Nebraska. In other states, you can only own certain generations of Savannahs, almost always the later generations and never first-generation.

For example, Vermont, Massachusetts, Alaska, Iowa, and Colorado only allow F4 and later generation Savannahs. Texas goes on a county-by-county basis, though almost all counties have made it illegal to own most Savannahs. The counties in Texas where you can own them are still very strict. Therefore, always do your research to understand where Savannahs are and aren’t legal!

California Law About Savannah Cats

Currently in California, there are no laws against owning Savannah cats, regardless of the generation of cat. However, that doesn’t mean this will always be the law. Laws surrounding hybrid cats tend to change often in many different states, so if you own (or are thinking of owning) a Savannah cat in California, you should always be aware of the current laws and if they change.

If you own a Savannah cat in a state where it is illegal to have one, your cat could potentially be confiscated and, unfortunately, euthanized as a result. Obviously, no one wants this to happen. So, keep an eye on the laws in California to be aware of any changes that may be made. But as of 2021, owning Savannah cats in the state is completely legal!

Final Thoughts

Savannah cats are incredibly interesting and beautiful pets to have. However, because they are hybrid cats and have exotic genes, some states have decided to ban residents from owning them. When it comes to California, the state hasn’t yet banned residents from adopting or owning Savannah cats. Therefore, you can own a Savannah in California, regardless of the generation.