Savannah Cats: a Hybrid Domestic Cat

Updated on October 22, 2016

If you've already heard of a Bengal cat, a Chausie, or a Toyger, then let me introduce you to the Savannah Cat. This exotic cat breed has been accepted by the International Cat Association (TICA), as of 2002, and is a popular alternative to "ordinary" domesticated cats.

Savannah Cats are created by breeding a Serval (also known as an African Wild Cat) with a domestic cat with striking features, usually an Abyssinian. The end result is a larger than usual pet cat that looks wild, but is a wonderful family pet.

Features of this breed include the following:

  • large, erect ears
  • a long, slender torso, which belies its larger 20-30 pound size
  • a short tail with black tip and rings
  • a "Serval," wild-looking coat (acceptable colors include Brown Spotted Tabby, Silver Spotted Tabby, Black and Black Smoke)
  • green eyes
  • a long neck and elongated head
  • so-called "tear streaks" of black from the corner of its eyes down to the sides of its nose


What Makes This Breed Unique?

Like other hybrid domestic cats, the Savannah cat is described as having dog-like characteristics. They enjoy playing fetch and walking on a leash. Savannah cats are exceedingly loyal, as well. Surprisingly, these cats love water... you don't have to convince them to take a bath. Some Savannahs will even go swimming.

The intelligent breed is strong, agile and energetic. In fact, its the largest domesticated cat breed, yet one of the easiest exotic hybrid breeds to care for. Because they are so playful, many believe they are excellent family pets, getting along with children and other pets.

Smart, loyal and stunningly beautiful - no wonder so many people are interested in adopting a Savannah Cat!

Of the hybrid cats recognized by TICA, the Savannah cat is the newest and most rare breed. In part, this is due to the difficulties in breeding a domestic cat with an African Serval. There are only a few breeders that have successfully produced litters of the exotic domestic cat. Perhaps not surprisingly, you'll have to invest if you wish to include a Savannah in your family.

A Savannah Cat F4 kitten
A Savannah Cat F4 kitten | Source



Probably the first question in your mind pertains to the cost. Yes, Savannah Cats are expensive, ranging in price from $1,000-$22,000, depending on the quality, sex of the animal and the number of generations away from the African Serval ancestor.

For example:

  • F1 (approx. 50% Serval)
  • F2 (approx. 30% Serval)
  • F3 (approx. 15% Serval), etc. to F7 or more

There ARE Savannah Cat rescue websites (see below), from which you may find a lovely family pet at a much lower price.


The closer in generations to the Serval, the larger the Savannah Cat. F1 and F2 males may be more than double the size of other domesticated cats. Their weight could reach up to 30 pounds. It will take up to three years for a Savannah kitten to grow to full size.

Diet and Veterinary Care

Just like any other house cat, your Savannah cat will enjoy high-quality cat food. There are no special diet considerations. Be sure to regularly vaccinate, as you would your other pets. Savannah cats can be litter box trained as well. And, they love to play, so be sure to consider some stimulating pet toys.

Legal Restrictions

Although it may be illegal to own a wild Serval, in most areas there are no legal restrictions against owning a Savannah Cat. It is considered to be a hybrid domestic cat. According to one breeder:

While strongly resembling the African Serval, Savannahs are bred to demonstrate domestic temperament and are classified as domestic cats by both the USDA and The International Cat Association.

Be sure to check your local regulations, however. Many areas limit the number of pets that can be kept legally, as well.

Savannah Cat
Savannah Cat | Source

Could a Savannah Cat be Right for You?

As with any pet, be sure to consider the investment of time and money that will be required for your Savannah Cat. These animals can live up to 20 years and require love and attention, food and water, regular exercise and veterinary care.

Like other hybrid cat breeds, the intelligence and high energy level of a Savannah may be challenging... as well as rewarding! Take into account your living space and arrangements, including children and other pets. Many breeders warn against letting Savannahs outdoors if not on a leash.

Think about whether you want to purchase from a breeder, or perhaps look into foster care or adoption through a Savannah Cat rescue organization. NOTE: Because the breed is extremely popular, yet difficult to breed, most Savannah Cat breeders will carefully screen prospective buyers to make sure that their kittens go to appropriate, qualified homes.

Should you have the good fortune of matching up with a Savannah Cat, count yourself lucky. Its sure to be a unique and rewarding experience!

Questions & Answers


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      • Sasha the Cat profile image

        Sasha the Cat 2 years ago

        Not all of these cats are wonderful if they're related to the bengal. I'm not saying they can't be ADORABLE!!!!!! But you've been warned!

      • profile image

        Disha 5 years ago

        awsome savannah cats....they r so beautiful, thnx a lot 2 share it vith us nd the videos r also quiet intresting i jst luv cats!!!

      • midnightbliss profile image

        Haydee Anderson 6 years ago from Hermosa Beach

        These cats are soooo cool! And they play fetch and enjoy going on walks. Worth the money!!!

      • louromano profile image

        louromano 6 years ago

        Nice hub. lovely cat. Thanks for such an interesting read. I am glad you shared this with us.

      • Karen N profile image

        Karen N 6 years ago from United States

        Beautiful cats, I've always wanted a Savannah cat, but at the moment since I already have two cats that's out of the question.

      • profile image

        abatenh 6 years ago

        wow i am very interested by cat and i will be bay one cat to me

      • Hendrika profile image

        Hendrika 6 years ago from Pretoria, South Africa

        Oh they are so beautiful. Not a sight for a cat lover that has decided not to take a cat again as the death of our last cat broke our hearts and we are still not over it.

      • stephhicks68 profile image

        Stephanie Hicks 6 years ago from Bend, Oregon

        I love these Savannah cats too - I think they would be an amazing pet.

      • profile image

        timonweller 6 years ago

        Wow they are such amazing looking cats, what an awesome breed to own.

      • profile image

        Cat Trees That Look Like Trees 6 years ago

        I didn't even know these types of cats existed. I have always wanted a wild looking cat but never looked into these type of breed. Thanks for sharing!

      • stephhicks68 profile image

        Stephanie Hicks 7 years ago from Bend, Oregon

        Thanks amymarie - I agree that the Savannah Cats are so striking! We've loved our Bengal, and I am so intrigued by the Savannahs. Best, Steph

      • amymarie_5 profile image

        amymarie_5 7 years ago from Chicago IL

        What a gorgeous breed! I have always been a fan of Bengal cats and never knew much about the savannah breed. Now I want a savannah too!!

      • stephhicks68 profile image

        Stephanie Hicks 7 years ago from Bend, Oregon

        Hi RTalloni - thank you! I agree that the Savannah cats are truly beautiful creatures. Can you imagine having one as a pet? Cheers, Steph

      • RTalloni profile image

        RTalloni 7 years ago from the short journey

        OH! How beautiful they are, and their features are amazing considering what their makeup is. Thank you for sharing info on the Savannah cat. I can't imagine a better cat than ours but these are stunning!

      • profile image

        Jeannie B 7 years ago

        I own a Savannah and I must highly recommend this breed. I have never seen a more loyal, attentive, or loving cat and can only hope that others will someday experience what it is like to share a life with one of these amazing animals.

      • rickzimmerman profile image

        rickzimmerman 7 years ago from Northeast Ohio

        stephhicks68 — Glad I checked in on your articles again. The Savannah cats look surprisingly similar to my own Devon Rex cats (check out my hub on them for pictures). I see you've been busy writing; me, too. I've got an eclectic hubmix of 246 you might enjoy sampling. Regards, RickZ

      • stephhicks68 profile image

        Stephanie Hicks 8 years ago from Bend, Oregon

        Yes, Savannahs are indeed as expensive as they are beautiful. :)

      • profile image

        wordscribe41 8 years ago

        I think Savannahs are so beautiful. I would love to have one, I hear they're pretty spendy, though. Anyway, great information here. I have 3 feline friends myself, can't imagine my life without a cat in it.

      • stephhicks68 profile image

        Stephanie Hicks 8 years ago from Bend, Oregon

        LOL - cats are a hoot! I think they are such beautiful, magnificent animals. Savannahs are a rare, but amazing breed. Doubt I'll ever own one, but its interesting to research the info, and find the lovely photos and videos. :)

      • Sally's Trove profile image

        Sherri 8 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

        Thanks for this wonderful introduction to a gorgeous breed. I didn't know about the Savannah until now.

        Loved the first video where, at the end, the poor frustrated cat simply decides to sit down and take a lick.

      • stephhicks68 profile image

        Stephanie Hicks 8 years ago from Bend, Oregon

        Thanks sambolam and BJBenson - glad you enjoyed reading about Savannahs! :)

      • BJBenson profile image

        BJBenson 8 years ago from USA

        This cat lady really liked your hub.

      • samboiam profile image

        samboiam 8 years ago from Texas

        Thanks for such an interesting read. I am glad you shared this with us.

      • stephhicks68 profile image

        Stephanie Hicks 8 years ago from Bend, Oregon

        LOL Glenn - most definitely! The Savannah Cats probably love to be "herded."

        Enelle - I'm with you - love cats!

        Katiem2 - Aren't they beautiful? I have a Bengal, and wonder how the Savannah would compare? Best to you

      • katiem2 profile image

        katiem2 8 years ago from I'm outta here

        stephhicks, WOW OMG what a great cat, I want one I love cats and these are so amazingly beautiful. Thanks and Peace :)

      • Enelle Lamb profile image

        Enelle Lamb 8 years ago from Canada's 'California'

        We currently have 5 cats ( 3 rescue kitties) and love them all to bits! What a great hub :D

      • profile image

        solargroupies 8 years ago

        Gorgeous cats! And maybe trainable, so "herding cats" won't be so difficult now?

      • stephhicks68 profile image

        Stephanie Hicks 8 years ago from Bend, Oregon

        Hi Karen - I think that Himalayans are gorgeous cats. I'm a short-haired cat person myself, but they are lovely to look at!

      • Karen Ellis profile image

        Karen Ellis 8 years ago from Central Oregon

        Cool looking cat, very wild appearance. I recently did an article (on another site) about the Himalayan (mix of a persion and Siamese). Beautiful cat, if you can take all the fluffy hair in your house.

      • stephhicks68 profile image

        Stephanie Hicks 8 years ago from Bend, Oregon

        Hi Betsy - thank you! They look like amazing cats and suitable family pets.

        FCEtier - we have a Bengal cat too! That's what inspired my original exotic cat hub. :) Best to you both!

      • FCEtier profile image

        Chip 8 years ago from Cold Mountain

        Wife and I are cat lovers here - four of 'em. One is a beautiful bengal!

      • BetsyIckes profile image

        BetsyIckes 8 years ago from Pennsylvania

        Wow what a lovely looking cat! Thanks for posting!