HERE YOU FIND ANSWERS TO THE MOST FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT THE SAVANNAH
A Savannah is a crossing between the African Serval and a spotted housecat. Cross breeded crossings are calles hybrids. The F stand for the generation and the added number tells you the number of the generation from the Serval. So an F1 cat has a Serval as it´s father. Male cats are fertile from the 5th generation onwards, females are fertile starting from generation F1.
That is very much dependant on the generation. F1s and F2s are in general much bigger than subsequent generations. Toms are bigger than cats.
If you have never owned a cat, a Savannah – especially early generations – will not be a good fit for you as your entrance into the world of cats. A Savannah shows a more dominant behaviour than normal cats and needs to be shown their borders accordingly. Also your daily routines matter a lot. It would be devastating for a Savannah if you were to be at work all day – and a generic playmate doesn´t suffice as a substitute for you as her keeper. Because of their high intelligence Savannahs need care and occupation on an individual level. I can also recommend a fenced run area and possibilities for climbing.
Both are hybrid strains. The Bengal´s ancestor is the Asian Leopard Cat (ALC). And that´s almost it for the smiliarities between these two. Compared to a Serval the ALC is a small, nocturnal and a very shy wildcat. This behaviour of course gets passed on to following generations which has made Bengals in early generations seen as difficult. In later generations this behaviour ebbs away and the Bengal will become more friendly and affectionate towards humans. A Serval is a very affectionate cat given the breeder has socialised it properly.
There are differences in their markings too. As did their ancestor, ALCs carry rosette-shaped markings whereas a Serval´s markings remind you more of that of a leopard – black spots in high contrast. Very striking are the „tearlines“ beneath the eyes and the thumbprint or wildspots behind the ears, called occelli.
Even though she is a wildcat the Savannah is a very calm flatmate. I assume that other more agile wildcats are much more of a problem in terms of keeping them in your house. Your wallpaper and curtains will not suffer. You just have to teach them from the beginning to sharpen their claws on the scratcher which will not be a big problem neither. The worst thing you can do to a Savannah is to exclude her from your daily activities. She will not sit on your lap and cuddle all day but she has a strong urge to be involved in whatever it is you are doing, even if it means just carefully watching. She is not afraid of strangers but will never show the same affections towards those as she does to her human.
If your bought your Savannah in the EU a compound a is not compulsory but it is if you bought it in the USA. If you decide to get a fenced run area for your Savannah make sure it is Savannah friendly.
You will have to have a predisposition to exoticism, love the unfamiliar and be ready for a big adventure but then you will find the day that a Savannah walked through your door one of the best days of your life. I promise!
Often Savannahs are fed with customary cat food which is not a problem at all. I would like to mention though that feeding fresh and raw meat much more satisfies the dietary needs of a Savannah. She will thank you with a muscular anatomy and shiny fur. Of course you will get recipes and tips about all the needed ingredients for your Savannah kitten from me.
The question could have been: How affectionate is a Savannah? And the answer is: Very. In general a Savannah is much more clingy than a normal cat. Whether that is part of being a wildcat or being a hybrid cat with superior intelligence which makes her fixated on her keeper that we do not know. But we love that extraordinary fact about the Savannah and that fact even makes it more important for us a breeders to pay special attention to who will be keeping a Savannah.
Making two Servals mate is not the hard part. The real challenge is to cross a Serval with a domestic cat. There we meet different mating behaviours, a drastic size difference and different gestation periods. Only very few people can keep Servals and this too is why it is rare to find those crossings. It was tried to cross-breed female Servals with tomcats but for whatever reason these attempts have never been successful. In addition there are a lot of regulatory requirements concerning the keeping of Servals to be played by in Europe. Importing a Serval from the US means half a year of regulatory warfare with American as well as European authorities.
And all this will cost you roughly the sum of a new mid-range car.
A properly socialised Savannah does not show any signs of aggressiveness towards other strains. But please keep in mind that Savannahs show a little bit more of a robust play behaviour than other cats. Not every kitten sees a tackle from a Savannah which is meant to be playful as such. But it is intrinsic to a Savannah to recognize when a playmate is fearful or under stress and then to back away quickly. Often I find my Savannahs and Ragdolls sleeping peacefully next to each other.
In general here apply the same guidelines as for all cats and children. Savannahs are not plush toys and will from time to time use their claws to voice any hard feelings. Not ever would a Savannah attack a child or behave bad without a reason. But of course children need to be taught how to interact with Savannahs as with any other pet.
Cleanliness and domestication is not a problem at all. Gelded cats do not spray and are behaviourally almost indistinguishable from normal cats.
If you buy your Savannah within the EU there will be no administrative difficulties. If you want to import a Savannah from the US you have to obey special keeping requirements and obtain certain proofs of qualification. In Germany the department of species conservation in Bonn is concerned with all legal matters, in the US it is the United States Department of Agriculture. You can expect an average waiting time of six months for the processing of your applications.
Yes you can. Just make sure you have enough change in your pocket, an extra set of resilient nerves and a lot of patience for all the visits to the authorities both in the US and in Germany. After that it is a piece of cake! I advise you to visit and examine the cat personally in advance so you will not be disappointed – especially if you have only seen pictures on the internet.
Source: http://www.go4wilderness.deThanks to Ms. Schwarzenhauer-Metzger for granting a copy of her FAQs and the great description of the serval.