Savannah Cat Breed: Breed, Origin & Care

Savannah cats are exotic, beautiful, and energetic felines. They are a perfect mixture of elegant but wild-looking animals with friendly domestic characteristics, making this breed a fun and interesting pet to own. 

When you look at a Savannah, the first word that will pop into your mind is elegance. Savannahs are commonly referred to as ‘mini-cheetahs’, this is because of their spotted, short fur, and thin bodies. These cats have very long legs, which makes them quite tall. Savannahs have even made it into the Guinness Book of World Records for being the tallest domestic cats. 

Savannah
Savannah

Quick facts about the Savannah

Weight: 8 to 20 pounds Height: 14 to 17 inches
Life span: 17 to 20 years
Intelligence: high Temperament: affectionate | brave
Playfulness: high Activity level: active
Vocalness: frequent Coat length: short
Shedding amount: normal
Good with: families
Traits: Savannah cats are generally easy to train and groom because they don’t require much brushing. They are also friendly with humans and other pets, though they can be territorial when it comes to their space. Savannahs also have strong loyalty to their owners.

Their ears are rounded and can turn 180 degrees; they have flat noses, long whiskers, and hooded eyes with black tear marks running down the face. Female Savannahs weigh approximately 12 pounds, while male Savannahs may have a much heavier weight of approximately 25 pounds. 

Savannah cats do not shed a lot, so you will only need to brush them at least once a week. You will also need to trim their nails, check their ears and teeth. 

Savannahs can make the perfect family cat; they are very intelligent and sociable. These unique cats can even be leash trained and are commonly compared to dogs. While they are good family pets, they do need a lot of attention because they are highly athletic animals and can become wild if you do not play with them enough. 

You will need to have a safe, private, and large space for a Savannah cat. Make sure to give your Savannah cat the freedom it requires and do not confine it in a crate or small space. When you first bring the new addition to your family home, do not be discouraged if they prefer to spend a lot of their time by themselves; they are just adjusting to their surroundings which is normal.

Savannah

Savannah’s are a fairly newer breed of cats and only first made their appearance around 1986, specifically the 7 April in the USA. This exotic breed is a cross between a Siamese cat and an African wild serval. 

The temperament of a Savannah cat is that they are very loyal to their owners and people with who they are familiar but may not be fond of strangers. They are also energetic and athletic cats who love water. 

Savannahs live up to approximately between 12-15 years old and can even live up to the age of 20. This cat breed is fairly healthy and does not have many genetic health issues, however like all crossbred cats may experience heart problems. 

Advantages:

  • Easy to groom 
  • Loyal to their owners
  • Intelligent 

Disadvantages:

  • Need a lot of attention
  • Can grow quite big
  • Require training 

Origin

United States

Health

Dr. Adedapo Adisa:

With their spotted appearance and fierce looks, the Savannah cat breed is a hybrid cat breed formed from the cross of the African wild cats or Serval and a domestic cat with origins from Africa.

Although adventurous in personality, the Savannah cats are pretty social and affectionate cats that have enjoyed good health and a life expectancy that ranges averagely between 15-20 years.

The Savannah cats have shown to have very few inherited conditions that must have been passed from the Serval cats. A notable genetic health issue the Savannah cats have inherited is hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.

Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is an inherited health issue in the Savannah cats that affects the heart’s muscular walls. This condition causes the left ventricle walls to thicken, which prevents the ventricle from filling up correctly with blood when in a relaxed state (diastole) while also affecting the contractile properties of the ventricles. 

The resultant effect of this in the affected Savannah cat is that blood would have to stay longer on other sections of the heart and the lungs leading to blood clot formation and/or fluid building up around the lungs. 

Savannah cats with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy would show one or a few of the following signs:

● Increased heart rate or rhythm.

● Cardiac murmurs might be present (sound of blood flowing from the heart).

● Labored breathing and panting without exercise.

● Cats avoid exercise and show general weakness.

● In some cases, blood clots may break and block vessels in the limbs leading to severe pain or paralysis.

Once one or more of these signs have been observed in the Savannah cats, scheduling a veterinary appointment is essential. 

Although there is no known treatment for hypertrophic cardiomyopathy in the Savannah cats, your veterinarian would run a few diagnostic tests in other to assess the state of the heart before coming up with a management plan.

Also, your vet might want to carry out a DNA test to screen for the mutated gene that causes hypertrophic cardiomyopathy in the Savannah cats. Once diagnosed, the Savannah cats must be stopped from breeding to halt the passage of the defective gene to their offspring.

Another health issue common with the Savannah cats due to the connection with the Serval cat is a small liver compared to their size.

Research has shown that this does not impact the cat healthwise. It is essential to notify your veterinarian of any health symptoms in the Savannah cats.

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