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Savannah Cat
Characteristics, History, and Health

Savannah Cat

Exotic Breeds

The Savannah cat is an unusual, yet beautifully elegant cross between the African Serval cat and the Domestic cat. This captivating hybrid inherited the delightfully good looks of its wild relative, while retaining the loving friendliness characteristic of its domesticated relative. Thanks to their enchanting beauty and affectionate personality, Savannah cats truly have the entire world at their paws.

Main Info
Coat Pattern
Spotted, marbled, rosetted
Coat Length
Health Issues
  • No strongly associated genetic conditionsNo strongly associated genetic conditions

Main Characteristics of the Savannah Cat

The Savannah cat is an elegant cross between an African Serval cat and a domestic cat. Savannah cats are lean and tall, but their size greatly depends on a hybrid’s sex and generation. First generations are usually larger, weighing around 8 to 20 pounds, while later generations (F3 and onward) tend to be smaller. The Savannah breed is distinguished by a few prominent features inherited from their wild ancestors. These include an exceptionally long body, ears that are tall and cupped, puffy noses, and hooded eyes. Their coats are short and dense. The International Cat Association (TICA) accepts only spotted coat patterns that are brown, silver, or black smoke in color because these are the only patterns found in the African Serval. However, non-standard colors and patterns occur as well, such as marble, rosette, pointed, cinnamon, and chocolate.

Savannah Cat Origin

The first-born Savannah kitten is associated with Judee Frank, who cared for a male African Serval cat named Ernie. Judee had a Siamese cat who gave birth to a kitten in 1986, which she realized had been sired by Ernie. The Savannah breed was first presented to TICA board in 1996 and was accepted in 2001. In earlier years, hybrids were outcrossed with other domestic cats to supplement genetic diversity. TICA currently accepts outcrosses with the Egyptian Mau, Ocicat, Oriental Shorthair, and Domestic Shorthair. Outcrosses with the Bengal and Maine Coon are not permitted.

Savannah Cat Personality Traits

Savannah cats have a calm demeanor and are known for their friendliness and loyalty. They exhibit above average intelligence and are highly trainable for activities such as walking on a leash. Their athleticism and agility will be on full display during activities and games that involve jumping or climbing.

Savannah Cat Common Health Issues

Though all cats face a certain risk of developing genetically inherited health issues, there are currently no known genetic health conditions tightly associated with this particular breed.

Savannah Cat Fun Facts

  • They are really fun to be around. Savannah cats are truly amusing and entertaining. They are always looking for adventure and  love exploring the highest places in your house. They will play with pretty much any 'toy' they get their paws on.

  • They LOVE water! Savannah cats genuinely enjoy a little dip under the faucet, a splash in the toilet, or a swim in your bath. Savannah cats are down for most any water-related adventure.

  • They are chatty. Much like their Siamese relatives, the Savannah cat is not shy with sharing their vocalizations. They will meow, chirp, and hiss as much as possible to communicate their feelings to you.

  • The laws governing ownership of Savannah vary state by state. The ownership restrictions over hybrid animals are not uniform across the United States. Some states consider the breed domesticated after a certain number of generations, while others completely forbid the ownership of this cat. It is important to keep this in mind if you're considering this cat as a pet.

  • They are the tallest domestic cats. So far, two Savannah cats have held the Guinness World Record titles for Tallest Domestic Cat. Troubles was the first holder, measured at 19 inches and crowned in 2013. He was surpassed in 2017 by Arcturus measured at just over 19 inches.

Savannah Cat Characteristics

13-20 years
Socialized kittens good with
Children (older), Dogs, Cats, Families
Shedding amount
Affection level
Activity level
Tendency to vocalize
Exercise needs


The International Cat Association (TICA) “Introduction to the Savannah”

FETCH by WebMD "What to Know About A Savannah Cat"