About Savannah Cats

Family of Servals Family of Servals
The Savannah cat breed is one of the newest and rarest cat breeds in the world. They’ve only been around since the mid 80′s. Savannah cats are the largest and arguably the smartest domestic cat breed in the world. They are a hybrid cat bred from a domestic cat and the African Serval. The African Serval is a HUGE cat. A direct cousin the the Cheetah, a full grown Serval weighs 40+ lbs. and is about the size of a lab. Because of the higher % of Serval in the earlier generation F-1(50+% Serval)/and F-2 (25+% Serval), Savannanhs are typically larger, often appearing 2 – 2 1/2 times larger then a regular domestic house cat. Also thanks to the Serval, high percentage Savannah’s fur is usually very short with very little shedding! Our F2 Savannahs love playing fetch, are easily leash trained, and because of a different equilibrium don’t mind car rides to the store or even up to the lake for the weekend. Because of the African Serval’s incredibly well tempered disposition, our HP Savannah cats (which stands for high percentage Savannah cats) are incredibly loving and loyal pets. This is why TICA was able to classify the Savannah as a “domestic breed” making them one of the only hybrid animals legal in many states across the U.S.A.

Searval Serval photo by tambako
Here at HP Savannahs we breed for a high percent F2 Savannah kitten, which we feel is the perfect combination because you get the size, the look, and the playfulness of an F1 Savannah with the disposition closer to a regular domestic house cat. Bengal Breeder Judee Frank crossbred a Male Seval with a Siamese domestic cat to produce the worlds first Savannah cat (named Savannah) on April 7th 1986. F1 Savannah cats can be as high as 75% Serval. 75% F1′s are the offspring of a 50% F1 Savannah female bred to an African Serval. There have been cases of 87.5% F1 Savannah’s, but fertility is questionable in any F1 higher than 75%. More common than a 75% F1 is a 62.5% F1 which is the product of a female F2 Savannah, which is 25%+ Serval, bred back to a 100% Serval. The F2 generation has a Serval as a grandparent and is the offspring of an F1 female like our Zuri. F2′s range from 25% to 37.5% Serval depending on the % of the F1 mom. The F3 generation has a great grandparent that is a Serval, and is at least 12.5% Serval. But again, that % could be higher depending on the % of the F2 Mom.

A Savannah/Savannah cross may also be referred to by breeders as SVxSV (SV is the TICA code for the Savannah breed), which is what our F2 kittens will be as both our Zuri and Magnus are Savannahs. In addition to the filial number, Savannah generation filial numbers also have a letter designator that refers to the generation of SV to SV breeding. The letters are A, B, C and SBT. “A” means that one parent is a Savannah and the other is an out cross. A “B” cat has a grandparent that is not a Savannah, and “C” is both parents, and grandparents are Savannahs. Therefore A x (any SV) = B; B x (B,C,SBT) = C; C x (C, SBT) = SBT, SBT x SBT = SBT. F1 Savannahs are always considered an “A” because the father is a Serval which is a non-domestic out cross. F2 generation can be A or B. F3 generation can be A, B or C. F4 Generation is the first generation that can be an SBT. SBT stands for “stud book tradition” and is considered a “purebred” cat.

F1 Savannah cat Zuri Looking Out Window 3 months old
Being Hybrids, F1 through F3 Savannah males are always Sterile. The F4 males are almost always sterile with very few exceptions. F5′s are still hit and miss but are fertile more often than not. The F6 generation is when the fertility becomes more reliable. The females are reliably fertile from the F1 generation.Savannahs are as loyal as dogs and will follow their owners around the house. They are often trained to walk on leashes, and many even fetch. Our F1 Zuri’s favorite thing to do is fetch. She has fetched all her life.

F2 Savannahs often greet people with head-butts, or an unexpected pounce to show their affection.  Some Savannahs are very social and playful with new people and animals. While others may growl or hiss and want to hide when they see strangers just like some domestic cats. This usually depends on how well the owners socialize the cat as a kitten. Exposure to other people and pets is the key factor as the Savannah kitten grows up.

Owners of Savannahs say that they are very impressed with how smart the Savannah breed is. High percent Savannahs, or HP Savannahs are famous for their jumping ability and often jump up on top of doors, refrigerators and high cabinets. Savannahs have incredibly long legs and the early F1 and F2 savannah cats can jump up to 8 feet high from a standing position. Savannahs are very inquisitive and have been known to get into all sorts of things around the house. They often learn how to open things like doors and cupboards.  So anyone purchasing a Savannah, especially an F1 or F2 Savannah cat will need to “child proof” many area’s of their house. When the owners are away. Savannahs can get board and start to explore. Another high energy cat or dog is highly recommended to help keep each other out of trouble while the owner is away. As amazing as our F2 Savannah kittens are. They aren’t for everyone. This is why many breeders, including us, do such a detailed screening of potential buyers. Because high percent Savannahs bond so strongly to their owners. Re-homing the F2 kitten is very stressful and hard on the animal. Breeders have a responsibility and obligation to the kitten to find the cat or kitten the best home and situation possible so they will be able to live a safe amazing life with their new forever companion.

Savannah Cat Health

Some veterinarians have noted that Servals have smaller livers relative to their body size than domestic cats, and some high percentage Savannah’s inherit this. For this reason, care is advised in prescribing some medications. Lower doses per weight of the cat may be necessary. In addition, the blood values of F1 or F2 Savannahs may vary from the typical domestic cat, due to the serval genes.

Though no completed studies have been conducted. Higher percentage Savannah like our F2 Savannah kittens have a very new blood line due to the two different species of cat used. Because they have such a new and broad blood line. The Savannah breed is more often free of genetic health issues like the dreaded HCM unless crossed with the Bengal cat. This is why we at HP Savannahs only breed Savannah to Savannah. Most hybrid cats don’t respond well the anesthetic Ketamine and high percentage Savannahs are no exception. No Ketamine is to be used if your F2 Savannah needs a medical procedure. In addition. Modified live vaccines should NEVER be used on F2 Savannah’s because no studies have been conducted to prove them safe. Bad side effects have been known to happen. ONLY USE THE KILLED VIRUS VACCINES. Make sure your vet is aware of the Savannah’s special needs and is comfortable treating them.