Exotic Looking Breeds of Domestic Cats

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Savannah Cats

Ashleigh and Saezar

During the early 1980's, cat breeder Judee Frank successfully bred a male
African serval to a female domestic cat. About ten years later
cat enthusiasts set out to make this hybrid cross a legitimate breed of domestic cat.

Starting out with an offspring of Judee Frank's original hybrid cross Patrick Kelley set out to breed more of these cats and find breeders interested in working with him to start a new breed. He began going to cat shows and making phone calls and at first only one other breeder showed interest in starting this new breed. That breeder was Joyce Sroufe. As Patrick's F2 Savannah gave birth to her third litter of F3 kittens (third generation Savannahs) Joyce's cat was having her first litter of F1 (First generation) Savannahs! With this breeding success fueling their fire, Patrick and Joyce wrote the first Savannah Cat Standard, and presented

it to the TICA Board for a vote. The Savannah cat breed was approved and the breed was allowed to be registered with TICA. One of the biggest helps to the Savannah breed has been TICA Judge and past SIMBA Persident, Lorre Smith who guided the breed through some rocky times with TICA all the way to New Breed Status. Lorre continues to help guide the breed's now over 80 breeders from around the world toward Championship status.

The name Savannah refers to the African Savannah, the habitat of one of the breed's ancestors the African serval cat. The breed was named by Suzie Mustacio the lady who came to own Judee Frank's first Serval hybrid. The African Serval was at times kept as a pet by natives in Africa but is not a suitable pet for the average house hold. The Savannah is however and still has many of the Serval's beautiful qualities but with a more amiable temperament and better house hold habits.

African Serval

The Savannah breed is still very rare and has been improved by crossing with spotted domestic shorthairs. Since the Savannah cat has been accepted by TICA it can be registered in the breed section Savannah (SV). TICA allows third generation Savannahs into cat shows for evaluation by judges.

Past SIMBA President / TICA Judge Lorre Smith

The Savannah is a tall lean cat with long legs and a long neck. The head is smaller in proportion to the body and longer than wide with large ears. Similar to the serval, the coat shows a spotted pattern with some bars on a golden to tawny ground color with a light colored underside.

Savannah cats appear to be smaller replicas of the serval. This exotic impression is accentuated by light ocelli markings on the back of the ears as well as prominent tear duct lines in the face. F1 Savannahs can weigh more than 20 pounds and stand up to 15 inches at the shoulder. Later generations are also showing considerable size. Savannah males usually grow much larger than their female litter mates. Due to the graceful and long-legged appearance combined

 

with the movement of a big cat, these striking cats are unlike any other breed.

  Savannahs are friendly and sociable cats, that can get along very well with other household pets. They show their affection by eagerly giving a welcoming "head-butt" where they literally bump heads with you to say hello!. Most Savannah Cats are very outgoing and like to be petted. Due to

Photo by Deanne Rochester
the long legs the Savannah is an elegant jumper and like the serval often performs high leaps straight in the air. The Savannah loves water and enjoys a bath. If given the choice, a Savannah might enjoy a tub filled with water over the more usual cat games. Just like other cats Savannahs can get along with young children and other household pets.

Despite their exotic appearance, Savannahs do not differ much from other other domestic cats in regards to care and behavior. Generally, Savannah cats can be kept like any other domestic cat but would also enjoy getting a little fresh air from a safe enclosure or a walk on a lead once in a while.


F1 Savannah 8 Weeks Old

Savannahs can be fed with a high premium cat food, nevertheless a more natural diet is beneficial in some breeder's opinions. Make sure to discuss diet with your kittens breeder well before he/she arrives in your home.

 

Because of the size and exceptional look of the Savannah cat, the Savannah enjoys a continuously growing popularity. Please read and learn as much as you can about this breed so you and your Savnnah will have many happy years together.