How big will my Savannah get?
The average Savannah is not significantly larger than your average housecat. They are often between 10-20lbs, with the earlier generations being on the higher end of the scale. There have been the occasional huge Savannah being 20+lbs, but this is not common. They are usually males of the F1-F3 generation, and is a fluke of genes. These cats are in EXTREMELY high demand and their price reflects this. While many breeders do have large size as one of their breeding goals, finding a very large Savannah can be difficult and costly. Be aware, that no breeder can guarantee size, however your chances of getting a large cat are increased if the parents are large and/or have consistently produce kittens that are large as adults. Also, Savannahs tend to be long, tall, and slender, and it is their TALLNESS that makes them appear large, rather than their weight. Unfortunately there have been some sensationalized photos and stories of huge Savannahs, which have made people think all Savannahs are huge. And while a big cat is certainly impressive, it is not what makes a Savannah so different from other cats.
What makes a Savannah unique?
Apart from their exotic appearence, the thing that really holds a Savannah highly in their owners' affections is their temperament, or personality. There really is nothing quite like a Savannah cat. Bold yet friendly, confident and inquisitive, interactive and playful, outgoing and affectionate. I often think if a Savannah had a human profession, they'd be detectives or investigators of some sort. They are full of limitless energy, and always want to be a part of anything you are doing, especially if it is something new. Some Savannahs love water, others don't. Some Savannahs will fluff up the base of their tails and/or hair on their backs when excited or happy, and in greeting. Some will chirp like Servals or meow like a domestic, or both. Most Savannahs are incredible jumpers and like to be up high. If you're looking for a cat that will always be around you, to play or cuddle, then a Savannah is for you. If you want a cat that will race around your house irrespective of lamps, knick-knacks and other things in their way, the Savannah is for you. If you want a cat that will make you laugh, keep you busy, act like a clown, shower you with love, and is always happy to see you, a Savannah is for you. If however you want a quiet, aloof cat that will sit about and look beautiful, never get into anything they shouldn't, never disturb you or talk to you, then a Savannah is most definitely NOT the cat for you!
Why are Savannahs so expensive?
The main reason for this is the difficulty in producing foundation cats (Serval x Domestic) and in male fertility issues. Because of the differences in chromosomes and gestation periods between the Serval and a Domestic cat, many pregnancies fail. The embryos are reabsorbed, miscarried, stillborn or born prematurely and die when the father is a Serval. But, without the foundation cats, the Savannah breed would not exist. Also, male Savannahs are not fertile until the F5 and F6 generation. There have been a handful of fertile F4 males, but these are few and far between. So, the expense of running an F1 program, with all necessary permits to own a Serval, puts the cost of these cats very high. As you get into later generations further from the Serval, the price goes down.
What does F1, F2, F3, etc. mean?
The "F" is the filial generation of the cat, or how far removed from the Serval a cat is. An F2 has a Serval grandfather, F3 have a Serval as a greatgrandfather, and so on down the line. F1 are foundation cats, and always have a Serval father.
What does "A", "B", "C", and "SBT" mean?
The letters listed after the F generations indicate how far back an outcross has been used in a particular cat. An "A" cat has a parent that is a non-Savannah. So, an F1 Savannah will always be an "F1A" cat since a Serval is a non-savannah. "B" indicates one or more grandparents are non-Savannahs, but both parents are Savannahs; so they have one generation of Savannah-to-Savannah breeding. "C" indicates 2 generations of Savannah-to-Savannah breeding, so one or more greatgrandparent is non-Savannah. "SBT" means "stud book tradition" and indicates a cat with a 3 generation pedigree of all Savannahs. This is what T.I.C.A. (the international cat association) considers a purebred cat, and is one of our breeding goals in the Savannah breeding community.
Does a Savannah require any special care or food?
A Savannah requires pretty much the same care and diet as any domestic breed of cat. A premium brand of high-quality kibble, or Raw and/or homemade diets properly supplemented with balanced vitamins are all acceptable ways to feed your Savannah. It really depends on what you prefer to feed, and what the cat is willing to eat. I prefer to use premium kibble for its convenience and lack of preparation, though I do suppliment with Raw.
The two main differences with Savannahs is they seem to require a higher than normal amount of taurine, and they seem to be sensitive to sedatives. Taurine is inexpensive and any excess is excreted in the urine. Sedatives should be used only when absolutely necessary, and NEVER ketamine, as this drug has caused fatalities in savannahs.