A Savannah is a hybrid crossbreed between the African Serval and previously a domestic house cat. Breeders have moved to using Savannah cats as the breed has progressed. The Savannah was accepted as a breed by The International Cat Association (TICA) in 2001 and became a championship breed in 2012.
The percentage of inherited Serval genes depends on many factors, including the filial generation ( F ) of the cat in question, as well as its lineage. Filial generation refers to how ‘far’ a Savannah is from the purebred Serval. An F1 generation would be the offspring of a Serval and Savan. An F2 would be the grandchild of the Serval and so on. Notice that the designation is based on the distance from the Serval, it has nothing to do with the percentage of non-serval lineage. An F1 can be the product of a serval and a Housecat or another Savannah of any generation.
A means that one parent is a Serval and the other is a Savannah.
B means that both parents are Savannahs and at least one is an A.
C is when both parents are Savannahs and at least one is a B.
The F4 generation is the first that can be considered as a pure-bred Savannah, ‘SBT’-stud book tradition, if all familial cats back to the Serval are Savannahs.
A Savannah can cost anywhere from $2k (for F6-8) to $18-22k (for F1) depending on the lineage, Serval percentage, and other factors such as coat design (according to TICA guidelines) and temperament. The lower the generation, the relative ease of mating, gestation, and birthing, so more prevalent and less expensive. The hybridization results in genetic inviability, creating sexually sterile males until at least the F4 generation and later. This results in breeder females being more valuable in earlier generations (F1-3) and breeder males being more valuable at later generations (F4 and on). Agreeable personalities, SBT lineage, and striking/traditional coats will naturally be worth more as pets and breeders. Also, whether an aspiring owner wishes to purchase a pet or Breeder will affect the price as breeders are rarer and more valuable.
Personality: TICA lists the most striking qualities of the Savannahs as being confident, alert, curious, and friendly. We would add that intelligence is also a strong trait of theirs. We can guarantee you’ve never had a pet like a Savannah if it is your first. They are very much cats and this reflects in their personality as they tend to be fiercely independent, picky with cuddle time, and active. They also have doglike qualities- they follow their owners, respond to their names, and love a good backrub. In general, Savannahs are neither aggressive nor shy but rather adventurous and curious. Savannahs live to hunt and play, with toys, other pets, the occasional insects, and humans. Because of this, they may seem standoffish at times but we’ve found that a healthy dose of play and exercise will wear our babies out and make them much more agreeable to intimate affection. Remember that HUNT comes first in the Serval/Savannah’s mind. That being said, they spend copious amounts of time rubbing their heads and bodies on their owners (and sometimes massage their paws on our heads when we’re sleeping), but it tends to be on their terms, as with most cats. All cats are different so some may be the purrfect lap cats or more of a purrfect playmate. Either way, as long as you love and care for your Savannah, it will LOVE you! The more intimate time you invest in your Savannah child, the more secure you can expect your relationship to be.
Play: Savannahs are bred from the African Serval, a wild cat whose purposes in life are to hunt, eat, sleep, and mate. This absolutely plays out in your Savannah. You should play with your Savannah throughout the day although they’ll probably be able to last longer than you. This can mean anything from play-wrestling to a game of chase or fetch. They go crazy over toys with feathers as birds are the main staple of a Serval’s diet. You should treat your Savannah as you would your child because that’s exactly what they are. Spoil them! They also love laser pointers, catnip, puzzles, tunnels, shelves, automated toys, and random novel items such as wire connectors, straws, bolts, and empty boxes, practically anything that can be slapped around for hours. They also know which toys have been laying around for a while so it’s a good idea to keep some of the toys put away and have a rotating schedule of when each toy becomes ‘old’ so that it doesn’t become ‘boring’.