Savannah cat walking.

Savannah Cat Breed

A tall, graceful cat with a strikingly unusual appearance, the Savannah is highly curious and can be very demanding.

One of the newest cat breeds, the Savannah was officially recognized only in 2012. It originated from the chance mating of a male serval, a wildcat of the African plains, with a female domestic cat.

The Savannah has inherited many of the serval’s features—including a spotted coat, long legs, huge, upright ears, and often a “tear” mark extending from each eye, like that seen in a cheetah. This adventurous and athletic cat can jump up to 8ft (2.5m) in the air.

It is permanently on the lookout for amusement, which might include playing with water, exploring the contents of a cupboard, or opening doors. It is also loyal and sociable, much like a dog. Because a Savannah can be quite assertive and demanding, the breed is not best suited to first-time cat owners.

Some countries and states impose restrictions on owning and breeding Savannah cats, especially early-generation animals.

Generation Changes

As is the case with many crosses between different species, the fertility of first generation (F1) hybrid offspring is compromised. In the case of the Savannah, the males tend to be infertile until the serval genes in the fertile female offspring are further diluted—usually by the fifth (F5) or sixth (F6) generation.

However, once these F5 and F6 males are successfully crossed back to a female serval, the kittens produced are much more like a serval, particularly with regard to the clarity of their coat markings.

Origin: US, 1980s

Breed registries: TICA

Weight range: 12–22 lb (5.5–10 kg)

Grooming: Weekly

Colors and patterns: Brown-spotted tabby, black silver-spotted tabby, black, or black smoke. Ghost-spotting may be visible in black or black smoke.