Savannah Cat FAQS


Q. Do they like water?
Ans. Most (NOT ALL) Savannahs enjoy bathing and playing in water. In fact, many owners report that their Savannah cats insist on regularly joining them in the shower or bathtub.
Q. Are they ‘trainable’ like a dog?
Ans. Savannahs are not quite as versatile as dogs, but they are highly intelligent and as such, can easily be trained to respond to simple commands. Most Savannah cats respond well to leash training, a vigorous game of “fetch” and will recognize their names and come when called.
Q. Can they be leash trained?
Ans. Most Savannahs enjoy walks and are easily leash trained using a special harness or “walking jacket.” Several good designs are available.   Please visit The Kasbah for links to purchase.
Q. Are Savannahs outside cats?
Ans. No. Savannah cats should NEVER be allowed to roam freely outside, even part time. Savannahs are extremely curious and therefore are at very high risk for being run over by a car, wandering off never to return, or being injured or killed by another animal. In addition, because of the Savannah’s unusual and exotic looks, they are also in danger of being mistaken for a wild cat and injured by humans, or stolen by an admirer. NEVER, EVER allow a Savannah cat outside unless on a leash or within the confines of an enclosure complete with a secure top.
Q. How high can they jump?
Ans. Savannahs are very agile. On average, they can jump 8 feet or higher from a sitting position...and can run 35 mph!
Q. Do they climb fences (like chain link)?
Ans. Yes, they can climb almost any type fence and therefore must only be allowed outdoors in an enclosure that features a very secure top or on a leash using a walking jacket or secure harness.
Q. Do they have good litter box habits?
Ans. Yes, Good hygiene habits are taught by mother cats to their offspring at a young age and most kittens generally have little to no difficulty with establishing and maintaining good consistent litter box habits. Consequently, kittens should be fully litter box trained long before they time they arrive in their new, forever homes. There is of course, ALWAYS the chance that an individual cat may have difficulty, but this is usually due to an environmental problem that CAN be identified and resolved easily in most cases.
Q. Are there any known breed-specific health risks/problems?
Ans. Savannah cats have two specific heritable diseases and reputable breeders can test for these diseases and remove any that might carry the disease from their breeding program.  The diseases are Progressive Retinal Atrophy (link) and Pyruvate Kinase Deficiency (link).  Please ask your breeder for proof.
Q. Do they eat cat food?
Ans. Yes. Savannahs are considered domestic cats and are able to maintain optimum health on a diet of premium commercially manufactured cat food. Always remember to ask your breeder for a dietary recommendation and do not ever make any sudden changes in diet. This is particularly important with kittens who may not even tolerate a different flavor of the same brand of food without suffering a severe dietary upset.
Q. Do they require inoculations like other cats?
Ans. Kittens should receive their first veterinary visit and set of vaccines by 8-9 weeks of age and reputable breeders give two vaccines before sending a kitten home. As individual states and municipalities mandate somewhat different rabies vaccination schedules, once the kitten has arrived home, it is the responsibility of the owner to assure these regulations are followed.  Please DO NOT vaccinate for FELV (Feline Leukemia Virus) unless it is non-adjuvanted and never vaccinate for FIP (Feline Infectious Peritonitis) as it has been reported these vaccines either have very bad side effects, such as injection site sarcomas or may even predispose cats to contract the very diseases they are purported to prevent.
Q. Do I need to worm my new kitten?
Ans. Kittens should be tested for internal parasites and wormed prior to arriving at their new homes.
Q. What kind of veterinary care should I expect my kitten to receive prior to coming home?
Ans. Your kitten should have received at least one set of vaccines, be free from parasites and guaranteed negative for Feline Leukemia when you take delivery. Breeders should be willing to coordinate additional medical testing deemed necessary at the Buyer’s request, provided the Buyer agrees to absorb any associated costs incurred.
Q. Should I be concerned with fleas?
Ans. Unfortunately any household can be a breeding ground for ticks and fleas, particularly if you own an outdoor dog. If you think you might be at risk for a flea infestation, ask your veterinarian to prescribe Frontline Flea and Tick for Cats, which is even safe for breeding females, unlike some of the other prescription medications. Never use products manufactured specifically for dogs or resort to any over-the-counter flea products for cats as they have been documented to cause very toxic reactions.
Q. How do I acquire a kitten?
Ans. Decide what generation and sex will best suit your family environment and your budget. Contact breeders to determine which cattery has or will have kittens available that meet your requirements. Due to the overwhelming popularity of this breed and the limited number of kittens produced annually, it is very important to note that, in general, Savannah Breeders consider their kittens very precious, and many have adopted a screening process to qualify prospective buyers. As it is part of the Breeder’s responsibility to assure that the kitten you select is well matched to you and your living situation, please do not feel offended if at some part in your search, one or more breeders request a wealth of personal information from you. Although not every breeder will require this, you should be prepared to answer questions regarding your state of residence, your lifestyle and type of home you can provide, including information about your family members, the ages of any children, ages and type of existing pets, space available for play, time spent away from home working, etc. You should also provide your veterinarian’s credentials and include a telephone number where he/she can be reached for comment and a personal reference. If the breeder(s) you wish to purchase from do not have kittens available, decide if you are willing to place your name on their waiting list, or if you would rather alter your requirements in order to be able to purchase your kitten sooner. Once you determine that your breeder of choice has an available kitten, request a copy of that breeder’s purchase agreement, keeping in mind that buying a Savannah is not only a big monetary investment, but is a life-long commitment. READ IT CAREFULLY. Clarify any and all questions you may have UP FRONT, and address any special payment terms at this time. Most breeders will ask for payment in full at the time of purchase but will typically work with a buyer to coordinate a 50% nonrefundable down payment with 50% balance due prior to shipping. If, for any reason, your situation changes and you are NOT able to take the kitten agreed upon, notify the breeder AT ONCE! Failure to do so may result in the forfeiture of your deposit and/or legal ramifications, particularly if the breeder has turned away other buyers interested in purchasing the same kitten.
Q. Are there waiting lists?
Ans. Savannah kittens are in high demand so it is very likely you may have to wait until new litters are born to get exactly what you want. This seems particularly true of the F1s as not many breeders are devoted to producing the high generations and therefore the number of kittens available for purchase on an annual basis is very limited. You may also have to wait if you are only interested in a kitten from a specific pairing. Consequently, you may have to add your name to a waiting list and contact several breeders to locate a kitten. Many breeders require a deposit to add your name to their waiting lists and it is not unusual to wait up to 12 months before the kitten of your choice becomes available. Waiting lists are sometimes long and in your excitement, you may decide that you cannot wait and purchase a cat from another breeder. As a matter of courtesy, please take a few moments to notify the breeders who have added you to their wait lists of your change in plans, so that the next person on their lists can be given an opportunity to purchase.
Q. Why are Savannahs so expensive?
Ans. Establishing a good Savannah breeding program requires a substantial financial investment, is extremely hard work, and demands a wealth of patience. Gestation periods vary greatly between exotic and domestic cats. Because of this, a great number of kittens are born premature, require incubation and 24-hour round the clock care, which is extremely time-consuming. As a result, there are a limited number of Savannahs produced and offered for purchase each year, and at present the public demand for Savannah kittens far outweighs availability.
Q. How old are they when they can go to a new home?
Ans. Breeders typically release their kittens to new homes anywhere between 10 - 20 weeks of age.  We typically release our kittens to their new owners at 10-weeks of age (two weeks after they have had their first vaccine, which we administer at 8-weeks).  Kittens may be held longer if they have had difficulty weaning or are not demonstrating 100% accurate litter box habits.  The second vaccine is due at 12-weeks of age and should be administered on schedule by the new owner’s Veterinarian. We vaccinate all of our kittens with Fort Dodge Fel-O-Vax VI – KILLED VIRUS.
Q. Can I register my Savannah cat?
Ans. Yes. The International Cat Association (TICA) accepts Savannahs for registration and show.
Q. Can Savannahs be shown at a cat show?
Ans. The Savannah advanced to Championship Status within TICA in May 2012 and accepts SBT coded Savannahs for show. 
Q. How do I select a Breeder?
Ans. The decision to purchase from a Breeder is very personal and should not be entered into lightly. We take pride in establishing and maintaining long term relationships with our clients and providng them with support before, and even more importantly, AFTER purchase. We are of the mindset that our customers are extensions of our family and anticipate hearing from them for years to come. Most reputable cattery owners do feel similarly and therefore it is imperative that you purchase from someone who not only produces the quality you desire, but also someone who you can communicate with well. The fact of the matter is that you are not just buying a kitten, but also entering into a life long relationship with your Breeder of choice…so choose carefully!

Please email us privately with any additional questions you may have. Your input is invaluable to us as we strive to make our FAQS a comprehensive resource to others, who like you, are both intrigued and fascinated by the exotic beauty of the Savannah Cat.