About the Savannah Cat...
Savannah Cats are a breed of domestic cat
that mirrors the beauty of spotted wildcats and yet make a great house pet. In
fact, the very first Savannahs were created by out crossing domestic cats with
the graceful, long bodied and long legged exotic Serval Cats.
Serval Cats are medium sized, fun loving and playful cats weighing approximately
20- 35 pounds and standing 15-30 inches at the shoulder at maturity. The males tend to be larger
than the females. There are currently 14 different sub-species recognized.
|Found in the savannah grasslands
|A Servals diet in the wild consists of rodents,
birds, small reptiles, fish and anything else they can catch in the tall
grass, or leap up and pull out of the air, that looks tasty.
|The Barbary Serval from Algeria is the only
Serval considered endangered by USF&W.
To continue with the Savannah story......
The first Serval Cats were crossed with domestic cats as part of a research
effort to study cat diseases. After years of careful breeding, we now have
the breathtaking and
affectionate house cats that resemble the spotted exotic cats of the African
The first offspring produced by breeding an
Serval to a
domestic cat is known as the "F1" generation. F1 is a genetics term that
means "first filial". Many of these attempted crosses do not produce live
young. When the kittens do survive, the F1 males are sterile. The F1 hybrid
females, on the other hand, can be fertile and can be bred to other domestic cats.
This is how the Savannah breed was established. Due to the difference in
the gestation periods of a domestic cat and a Serval cat, the first generation
kittens are sometimes born premature and either require an incredible amount of
care to survive.
When an F1 female hybrid is crossed, the next
generation is called the F2. Once again, the F2 Savannah foundation males
are not fertile. The females are once again usually bred to fertile
males now that we have reached fertility in the lower generations.
The same is true of the F3 foundation generation. A small percentage of the F3
males may occasionally produce some offspring. Normally an F5 is the first
generation we try to keep to test for fertility. To date we have had two F5
males, one is fertile the other one was not. As of 2009 we have a fertile SBT
male and a fertile F4 male that we have added to our program.
These first three generations are registered by The International Cat Association
(TICA) as foundation cats and only the F3's can be shown in TICA-sponsored cat shows
as a new breed. F1s and
F2s are often gorgeous, but should not be considered as pets for inexperienced households.
For example, they can be extremely active, a touch on the moody
side and due to their size are not good to have around young children. There are
always exceptions to this, but in general we do not recommend the F1's or F2's
for homes with small children.
The fourth generation of offspring that have been breed to
only other Savannahs for four generations are considered domestic Savannah cats. TICA
registers these as "SBTs". SBT pedigreed Savannahs can be shown in
TICA-sponsored cat shows but are still not accepted for championship status.
Savannahs make great pets. By careful breeding,
TICA affiliated catteries maintain the "wild" look, but produce well-socialized
pets. Savannahs are often selected as pets by previous dog owners, since they are
often more sociable and playful than some other breeds of cats.
Savannahs have long graceful necks, big ears and long legs.
They are usually a bit larger than your regular house cat in height and length,
and we strive for a nice short thick tail.
Their coats are short and as a result they usually do not shed as much as
longer haired cats. The coats are often called "pelts" because they are so much
like a fur-bearing animal's soft fur. And of course, they are spotted to
resemble their wild ancestors.
Did you know that more people are now selecting cats as pets than dogs? This
change appears to have occurred because most folks now work outside of the home
for long hours. Cats can be left alone with food and a litter box -- where as
dogs usually need to be walked.
Savannahs often make good pets for dog-lovers as well as cat people.
are outgoing and enjoy games and interaction with their humans. Some of our
Savannahs like to play fetch. A few will wear a harness and a leash. Several
like to play with water. They greet you at the door and "talk" to you. They
never stop entertaining their households.
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