The Savannah Cat
Savannah Cats are hybrids of the African Serval. The Savannah is a spotted domestic cat that was created to give the effect of its exotic ancestors with the appearance of a serval but much easier to manage. The Savannah seems to look like they have much larger eyes because of their smaller narrow head, which gives some Savannah's the look of a kitten even at 25+ lbs. They normally have dark tear stains similar to a cheetah, deep contrasted coat colors, solid aphotic black spots and stripes, large rounded ears with ocelli, slender bodies, and long elegant legs.
Since 2006 the Savannah cat has held the Guinness Book World Record for the world's tallest domestic cat.
Breed Standard ranks for all traits to mimic those of it's ancestor the African Serval. The goal of the breed is to create a wild looking cat that has a well rounded 'domestic' temperament that gives people the feel of owning an exotic wild animal.
Poorly developed bloodlines can be mistaken for a Bengal Cat, which have a very different body structure to the Savannah. (Bengals are more of a short stocky cat with rosettes rather than solid spots) .
Savannah Cat color coats are brown, silver, smoke, snow, Lilac, and melanistic. The most acceptable colors are those that mimic the African Serval. The most common similarity of the African Serval coat is a buttery golden/beige color with solid deep black spots and white under belly with spots. Gold, beige, tan or tawny are shades of brown so it is correctly registered as a brown spotted tabby (BST). Although some people do still prefer the more rare colorings like the silver, snow, and melanistic.
Eyes are set beneath a slightly hooded brow. The top of the eye sets at an angle so that the black corners of the eye (tear stain markings) descends down the line of the inner nose. The eyes are fairly deep set, low on the forehead, and are consistent with facial symmetry. Some Savannah's eyes look much larger because of their narrow face. All eye colors are allowed, there are Savannah's whom have beautiful eyes colored: dark or light brown, gold, orange, yellow, auburn, bright green, haze, and blue.
Ears resemble those of the Serval Cat. Serval Cats have the largest ears in relationship to their head size of any cat. As a result, the Savannah Cat's ears are remarkably large and set high on the head. They are wide and strong with a deep base. They stand upright and have rounded tips. The Savannah does have a slight point at the tip in comparison to the Servals much more rounded appearance. Pronounced ocelli ear markings are desirable. When the Savannah sets his or her ears back they form what I like to call a "Moth-like" appearance of two giant moth wings.
Head shape is normally more narrow like a serval yet can also have a more fuller shape like the domestic part of their heritage. The head should be longer than it is wide. The nose is longer than most domestic cats. It is preferred for the head to have the “l l” marking rather than “M” marking, although this is not in the breed standard.
Pattern of the coat is solid spots large medium and small which can be round or oval flowing across the body and should not be connected. A series of parallel stripes, from the back of the head and stripes which flow over the shoulder blades which stretch onto the back. Spots can be dark black, dark brown, silver, blue, golden, and light brown. Spots that resemble freckling are extended down the legs and feet, as well as on the face. There are also stripes on the inside and outside of the legs. The coat is dense short hair that can be coarse or soft in texture.
The Savannah Cat is a much taller, thinner framed cat with a longer body than most cats so they look much larger than they actually are. The taller body type gives the illusion that they weigh much more than they do. Weight depends on individual bloodline and diet. Weight can range between 12-35lbs
The Savannah Cat is a highly Intelligent animal. They are a naturally curious animal who demands attention and stimulation from their owners. Due to their high intelligence, curiosity and high energy needs they are best suited for people who are more active and attentive. Savannah cats can learn how to open doors, and cupboards. They can learn how to take apart toys. They can learn complex commands and be trained how to sit and shake.
Health Issues are not specific to the breed at this time. Because the Savannah cat is a newer breed and hasn't been bred down through a series of domestication far into the gene pool, they have not developed diseases that most domestic cats have acquired. Genetic testing is still crucial to avoid development of breed specific disease long term. Reproduction is very difficult with this breed and fertility rates are very low. Savannah Cats do not require any specialty health care. They will visit a regular veterinarian for routine feline health maintenance.
When properly socialized, the Savannah's temperament is outstanding. The feline version to a dog, ideal for owners who want to avoid extra canine requirements. Actively seeking social interaction. Profoundly loyal to immediate family members, depressed when you leave the house, and extremely happy when you come back home, sometimes waiting by the door for you to walk in and pet them. Savannah's are excellent companions that are loyal, affectionate, intelligent, and eager to be involved.
Nutrition requirements are those of the average domestic cat. They do not require a raw meat diet, however a balanced raw meat diet is the most nutritional diet available. Keep in mind there are plenty of dry and wet foods out there at your local pet food stores for your kitten that contain all of the protein, vitamins and nutrients you will need to keep it healthy. Keeping dry food available at all times is nice for when your Savannah is hungry, Savannah's, just like most domestic cats, do not over eat. Fresh water should be available at all times.