Savannah Cat

Crossbreeds of the African wild cat Serval with various domestic cat breeds are called Savannah cats. The serval is a medium-sized wildcat found in central and southern Africa. Serval cats can weigh up to 18 kilograms. You would be a serious danger even to humans. But they avoid people wherever they can. They primarily hunt smaller prey such as rodents or birds.

Origin and Breed History

The serval hunts in the open savannah, English “savannah”. Hence the name for the hybrid cats that have been bred for a number of years. The servals’ bounce is outstanding. With a single jump, servals can cover a distance of 3.6 meters. Their abilities when jumping into heights are even more impressive. Two meters from a standing position are not an issue for her. According to credible reports, with an outstretched paw, they can reach a bird that is flying nearly four meters above the ground. That is an unimaginable achievement! What a bundle of energy!

In the USA it has now become fashionable to keep hybrids of such wild animals that can hardly be tamed, on the one hand, and domestic cats, on the other, as representative pets. Wildcats in particular, such as the Bengal cat, the caracal, the ocelot, and the serval, are used for such projects because of their suitable size and their cheetah-like fur.

Experts agree that hybrids are not always suitable for pets in the fourth generation after mating with a serval. Even as hand-rearing and neutered, they can in many cases no longer be kept as pets in the usual sense at the latest by sexual maturity. Only from the F5 generation (F5 = fifth branch generation after crossing) are they considered suitable for pets, according to their enthusiasts.

The strict line breeding that is used to maintain the serval’s attractive coat color in subsequent generations of the Savannah can become an additional burden on the welfare of these animals. Savannahs have been offered in Germany for a number of years. The Savannah is only recognized by one commercial registrar in the US, the TICA. It is not recognized by the Fédération Internationale Féline or any other important pedigree cat association.


The Savannah cat is larger than a house cat. Compared to the common house cat, it is very slender and long-legged. It has a small head in relation to its body. She should be the scaled-down image of a serval, so the goal of her breeders and lovers. Ideally, it has a fur reminiscent of a serval. According to the breeders, bred Bengal cats that are hybrids with an Asian wildcat, as well as the pedigree cats Egyptian Mau, Ocicat, Oriental Shorthair, and Maine Coon are used for the crosses and the later generations. Savannah male cats have an average weight of 10 pounds, cats around 8 kilograms.

Temperament and Essence

The essence of a Savannah cat cannot be described in general terms, as it can vary depending on the generation. There are specimens that are already reminiscent of a house cat in terms of their nature and behavior, and there are others in which the wild animal can dominate. This is mainly due to the fact that in a few generations it is simply not possible to domesticate a wild animal, especially a single hunting cat. Nature needs thousands of years for this – provided it can succeed at all.

Some breeders try to counteract the extreme inbreeding and at the same time preserve the appearance and beautiful coat of the serval by using original matings of the serval with pedigree cats. In this way, however, the untamable wildness inbreeding, which is not suitable for pets, can be activated. With F1 up to and including F4 generations of the Savannah, it may be that they are no longer cuddly cats at the latest when they reach sexual maturity. They can then no longer be kept as pets. Even after several generations, the wild animal-like appearance can spontaneously emerge again and again, which can be expressed, among other things, in extreme shyness, sometimes aggressiveness, constant stress, and the unconditional desire to break out of the cramped apartment or house.


Keeping a Savannah cat is not advisable if you cannot meet their demands. For the keeping of the F1 to the F4 generation, special keeper regulations apply and in many cases the keeping is notifiable. In addition, at least at F1 and F2, an outdoor enclosure and a heated indoor enclosure are required for keeping. In addition, the cat can legally be considered a “dangerous animal”. The regulations are complicated and also differ from state to state. An escape-proof run is also required for future generations.

A Savannah (F5 and following) that has already been bred as a supposed house cat has an average weight of 8 to 10 kilograms. In connection with the enormous power and the sometimes wild animal nature of these cats, which can still easily come to light even 4 generations and more after the Serval, this can become an order of magnitude that the layman cannot reliably control. Even in these later generations, the wild animal blood is alive in the offspring. This can hardly be calculated using a simple percentage table, for example, with F5 only 3% wild blood should be active. Genetics cannot be represented by the rule of three, and it is certainly not understandable. With a far lower mathematical proportion of wild blood, certain behavioral characteristics of a serval can still be largely preserved and, under certain conditions, determine the behavior.

Diet with BARF or Frozen Food

The Savannah cat should be barred based on the needs of a serval or fed on dead rats or chicks. These can be bought frozen, for example, and thawed at room temperature before feeding.

Life Expectancy

Reliable data on the life expectancy of the Savannah cat are not available due to their very short breeding history. A serval can live up to 20 years in the zoo.

Buy Savannah Cat

The purchase of a Savannah cat is fraught with considerable risks and, in some cases, conditions. That has to be considered. These are initially of a health and legal nature. The greatest risk arises from the uncertainty about the characteristics of the later adult animal, which one cannot see in the kitten. The risk that traits of the wild ancestors appear or even become dominant and make keeping a house cat difficult is considerable, even in the F5 and later generations. Should you decide to buy a Savannah cat, you should first make sure that you can meet their requirements regarding keeping.

Mary Allen

Written by Mary Allen

Hello, I'm Mary! I've cared for many pet species including dogs, cats, guinea pigs, fish, and bearded dragons. I also have ten pets of my own currently. I've written many topics in this space including how-tos, informational articles, care guides, breed guides, and more.

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