Savannahs at A Glance
With its bold and striking spotted coat, the Savannah cat is a unique domestic breed that looks much like its ancestor, the African Serval. Active and adventurous, this beautiful breed is considered high-energy. Find out if the Savannah breed is right for you and your family.
- Temperament: Confident, Outgoing, Curious
- Size: Medium-to-large sized
Savannahs are tall and lanky, making them appear heavier than actual size. Females are generally smaller than males and can be quite petite.
- Colors: Standard Savannah colors include brown (black) spotted tabby, silver spotted tabby, black and black smoke. Nonstandard colors include seal, seal lynx, cinnamon, chocolate, blue and the nonstandard pattern marble.
- Life Expectancy: 12-15+ years
About the Savannah
Savannahs are intelligent, persistent cats that can sometimes get into mischief whenever their curiosity gets the best of them. Don’t be surprised if your Savannah teaches himself to open doors, turn on faucets, flush toilets or knock trinkets off a shelf just to see what happens.
Friendly and loyal, they bond tightly with their families and have been known to greet them at the door and follow them around the house. However, they are not to be mistaken as a lap cat. They prefer to be near their families, but enjoy their personal space.
Savannahs are high-energy, active, curious, and playful cats. They tend to get bored easily, therefore routine entertainment in the form of play periods, walks on a leash, or other forms of enrichment are recommended. They are stellar jumpers and enjoy being taught tricks and playing with interactive toys or puzzle toys that reward them with treats.
They like to spend time on top of doors, refrigerators and high cabinets, therefore cat trees and window perches are recommended. They are very inquisitive and have been known to get into all sorts of things.
They are a good choice for families with older children. For families that tend to be away most of the day, a companion pet such as a cat-friendly dog or another cat, provide good playmates.
TICA Regions, Clubs & Rescues
Want to connect with fellow cat lovers and those who love the same breed as you?
Find a Kitten: TICA Breeders
The TICA website is the only place where you can find TICA member breeders who have signed the TICA Code of Ethics.
Savannahs have a short coat without a heavy undercoat, requiring very little grooming. Brush them occasionally with a stainless steel brush or comb, and more frequently during shedding season.
As with all cats, keep their nails trimmed, ears cleaned and teeth brushed regularly with a vet-approved pet toothpaste and provide a nice tall scratching pole to help their natural scratching instinct.
Savannahs are an active breed that should be fed a high quality food to keep up with it’s nutritional needs. If you happen to have one of those unusual couch potato Savannahs you may need to monitor their intake and cut back on their calories. Spayed females sometimes tend to gain weight after surgery so should also be monitored for a change in their nutritional needs.
As with all cats, it is important to give your cat fresh, clean water daily. Fresh, clean water is best, so cats don’t hesitate to drink. If you worry about your cat drinking enough water each day, here's a tip from Jackson Galaxy and other cat behaviorists - Place the water bowl at least three feet away from any food. Cats’ noses are sensitive and an overwhelming smell of food may cause them to drink less. Filtered drinking fountains can also be used in place of a water bowl.
Recommended health screening for Savannahs include Pyruvate Kinase Deficiency and Progressive Retinal Atrophy. A PCR (polymerase chain reaction) test for common infectious agents may also be considered. There has been some history of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) in Savannahs but unfortunately there is no specific test to screen for this at this time.
The first known Savannah was born April 7, 1986, when a female domestic cat gave birth to a kitten sired by an African Serval. This F1 (first generation hybrid cross) was the first on record. This unusual female kitten had both domestic and Serval like traits. Both the kitten and breed were named "Savannah". Patrick Kelly heard about Savannah and decided he wanted to try to develop a new breed. He persuaded a breeder, Joyce Sroufe, to join him in his efforts. Together they wrote the original TICA Breed Standard. TICA accepted the Savannah for registration in 2001. The Savannah was accepted for Championship status by TICA in 2012.
Did You Know?
Many Savannahs have dog-like qualities, including playing in water and a game of
According to Guinness Book of World Records, the Savannah named Arcturus Aldebaran Powers is the tallest cat in the world, measuring just over 19 inches.
Although considered a domestic cat breed by TICA, the Savannah is still illegal in some states and countries because of its serval ancestry. It is important that anyone interested in owning a Savannah check their local and state laws for any restrictions in ownership
From the Breed Standard
The overall impression of the Savannah is a tall lean graceful cat with striking dark spots and other bold markings, on a background color of any shade of brown, silver, black or black smoke. The Savannah cat is a domestic breed which closely resembles its ancestral source the African Serval, but is smaller in stature. Affectionate and outgoing, with an exceptionally long neck, legs, and tall ears, as well as a medium length tail, the Savannah is both unusual and beautiful. The Savannah is also an exceptionally graceful, well-balanced cat with striking color and pattern.
Click here to read the full TICA Savannah Breed Standard.
Additional information and an introduction to the Savannah breed can be found in the links below:
Accepted For Championship in TICA in 2012
- Savannah Breed At A Glance
- Breed Introduction
- Printable Breed Introduction
- Savannah Breeders
- Breed Standards
- Breed Committee
- Breed Seminar
Photos used courtesy of © Helmi Flick Cat Photography.