Header for The Savannah Cat

What Traits Make The Savannah Cat Such A Distinctive Domestic Pet?

The distinctive traits of the Savannah cat are what attract buyers to this beautiful creature. It's got a wild streak that's playful, not nasty. You see it and you can't stop thinking about buying it.

The wonderful Savannah has many traits that make it stand out from other cats. Perhaps the most obvious feature of the Savannah is the large, tall ears that are set right on top of its head.

Another unique trait are its hooded eyes that are flat across the top and black "tear-streak" markings running from the corner of the eyes down the sides of the nose to the whiskers, much like a cheetah's.

The black tear marks help reduce glare from sunlight. This helped the ancestral Serval's vision during hunting.

In back of the Savannah's ears is a light band bordered by black stripes, which are called ocelli. Its short tail has black rings, with a solid black tip that extends several inches.

The Savannah's kittens eyes are blue when it is born but green as an adult. It's quite striking in their triangular face.

Most early generations (closer to F1) of Savannahs will possess many or all of the particular traits, but their presence will diminish in later generations (up to F7), as they are bred to domestic cats.

In fact, the appearance of Savannahs can vary far more than most cat owners are accustomed to if they are unfamiliar with hybrid cats.

Handsome Coat Markings

Later generation Savannah cat
Later Gen Savannah

The beautiful coats of the Savannah can also vary quite a bit in coloring and markings depending on the amount of Serval and the type of domestic cat used in their breeding.

Early generations usually have dark spotting on a lighter (tan or silver) coat. Many breeders employ wild-looking spotted breeds such as the Bengal, Egyptian Mau or Ocicat to preserve these markings in later generations.

They may also have a marble (also called classic) pattern although the TICA standard calls for black, brown spotted tabby, silver spotted tabby and black smoke types only.

The most popular color is brown spotted (black spots on brown) resembling the African Serval and the Cheetah, but the silver spotted and black spotted coats are equally gorgeous.

Savannah Size Variations

The majority of Savannah cats range in size from 8 lbs to 18 lbs but earlier generation males can weigh up to 30 pounds. Savannahs normally look like they weigh more than they do. Those long lean bodies and legs fool people into thinking they weigh at least 5 lbs more than they actually do.

The bodies of Savannahs are long and leggy. When a Savannah is standing, its hind-end is often higher than its shoulders. The head has more height than width and early Savannahs usually have a long slender neck.

Following are some general guidelines on the size (height up to the shoulder) and weights you may expect from the different Savannah generations:

  • F1: 22 inches; 23-27 pounds
  • F2: 17 inches; 20-25 pounds
  • F3: 16 inches; 18-24 pounds
  • F4: 14 inches; 18-24 pounds

Average size is very dependent on generation and sex, with F1 male cats usually being the largest. Later generation Savannahs (F5 and above) are usually between 8 and 17 pounds.

Weight can vary quite a bit though. The random factors in hybrid genetics result in significant variation in kitten size even in one Savannah litter. Owners are sometimes quite surprised with their kitten when it reaches its full height at two to three years of age.

Savannah Breeding Variations

The following descriptions of acceptable outcrosses (cats to match with the Serval) will help prospective buyers to anticipate some of the traits and personalities that a specific cattery encourages.

There are three characteristics that are common among all these breeds:

  • Attachment to owners and need for constant companionship
  • High energy including an ability to jump onto high places
  • High intelligence (mischievous explorers)

And let's not forget that ever-present exuberant Savannah personality with a touch of the wild side.

Each cattery has its particularities. When buying a Savannah cat, you'll want to thoroughly check out the lineage of the breeder's stock before you adopt your new baby. Purchase to please... yourself!

Egyptian Mau

The Egyptian Mau
Egyptian Mau

Can't you hear folks saying "Egyptian Meow?" Or, "Wasn't Mau Chinese, not Egyptian?"

People often describe the Egyptian Mau as aloof and shy, but it is intensely loyal to the people it loves and limitless in the love, attention and adoration it will bestow on them.

A typical Mau will command attention and not allow you to push it away.

It is a sensitive cat that is easily upset by sudden loud, unpleasant noises. If you plan to show them, begin working with them at birth so they will accept sounds and handling of the ring.

They have an extraordinary power of scent, hearing and sight.

Oriental Shorthair

The Oriental Shorthair
Oriental Shorthair

Like other members of the Siamese breed, Orientals are lively, intelligent, sociable cats that love to play. They will amuse themselves for hours with their favorite toys and many of them will play fetch for hours.

Orientals are athletic, confident and high jumping cats that can reach the most unusual heights.

They may appear slender and frail but they can hold their own against much larger cats and dogs, and will often rule the roost.

Orientals need companionship. Some are one-person cats that avoid visitors and other members of a family. But more commonly they love a party and happily jump from lap to lap.

They like lots of activity and commotion and do well with children, other cats and even dogs. They love attention and will be very unhappy if ignored or left alone.

Many are talkative and will tell you all about their day and what they think of your latest choice in cat food.

Orientals are great for people who want an active, entertaining and devoted companion. They remain kitten like throughout their lives... but kittens with strong, distinctive personalities.


The Oriental Shorthair

The Ocicat may look wild but it is absolutely devoted to its family and unhappy if left alone for long periods.

They are confident cats that are outgoing with visitors, eagerly checking out the chance for a game or a lap to curl up on. A busy active home is the best household for an Ocicat.

The Ocicats are also intelligent and adaptable cats that will easily learn the household rules.

They quickly learn to play fetch and will even play tug-of war if you try to take their favorite toy from them.

Ocicats are full of energy and their powerful grace easily lets them leap to high places. That means just about anywhere in your home!