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Home > Cats > Cat Breeds > Savannah Cat: Info, Pictures, Temperament & Traits

Savannah Cat: Info, Pictures, Temperament & Traits

savannah on the couch

If you’re looking for a unique and elegant cat, then a Savannah cat might be the choice for you. In addition to these cats being somewhat exotic (they’re a cross between a serval and a domesticated cat), they are much more active and playful than other domesticated cats. With that being said, Savannah cats aren’t for someone who wants an easy-going, lazy companion.

Breed Overview


14 – 17 inches


12 – 25 pounds


12 – 20 years


Black, silver, chocolate, brown, sable, solid, or tabby

Suitable for:

Families, those looking for an active


Active, playful, intelligent, affectionate, bold

If you’re looking for a unique and elegant cat, then a Savannah cat might be the choice for you. In addition to these cats being somewhat exotic (they’re a cross between a serval and a domesticated cat), they are much more active and playful than other domesticated cats. With that being said, Savannah cats aren’t for someone who wants an easy-going, lazy companion.

Savannah cats truly do have a wild side and they need someone that shares their energy and playfulness if they are to truly thrive. With the right person, these cats are loyal and affectionate and can be a great companion for up to 20 years. Continue reading to learn everything you need to know about owning one of these beautiful cats.

Savannah Cat Characteristics

High-energy cat will need a lot of mental and physical stimulation to stay happy and healthy, while low-energy cats require minimal physical activity. It’s important when choosing a cat to make sure their energy levels match your lifestyle or vice versa.
Easy-to-train cats are more willing and skilled at learning prompts and actions quickly with minimal training. Cats that are harder to train are usually more stubborn and will require a bit more patience and practice.
Some cat breeds are prone to certain genetic health problems, and some more than others. This doesn’t mean that every cat will have these issues, but they have an increased risk, so it’s important to understand and prepare for any additional needs they may require.
Some breeds, due to their size or their breeds' potential genetic health issues, have shorter lifespans than others. Proper exercise, nutrition, and hygiene also play an important role in the lifespan of your pet.
Some cat breeds are more social than others, both towards humans and other animals. More social cats have a tendency to rub up on strangers for scratches, while less social cats shy away and are more cautious, even potentially aggressive. No matter the breed, it’s important to socialize your cat and expose them to lots of different situations.


Savannah Kittens

photo of savannah kitten indoors
Image Credit: Wirestock Creators, Shutterstock

Before you buy a Savannah cat as a kitten, you should know that they are a big commitment. With proper care, these cats can live a very long time. In addition, the level of care they need is a bit more than a typical housecat as well due to their active and playful nature.

Another thing to be aware of is that they can be quite large compared to other cats that would typically be kept as a pet. One of the parent breeds of a Savannah cat is a serval. Servals are wild and exotic cats that weigh around 25 pounds and are almost three feet in length.

Not only do you need space to accommodate their large size, but also their high activity level. Savannah cats need space to run, play, and unleash their literal wild side. Being able to let them outside can help with this, but it’s very important that they be supervised even if you have a fence. A Savannah cat could easily jump up to heights of 8 feet, which means they could escape even a tall fence if they wanted to just by jumping over it.

Temperament & Intelligence of the Savannah Cat

Savannah cats tend to have a good temperament and high intelligence level, but their exact personality depends on what percentage of serval vs. domesticated cat their genes are made up of. In general, Savannah cats are very active and athletic and love running, jumping, and playing. Some people even describe the personality of a Savannah cat as being more similar to a dog than it is to a cat.

Although they are fiercely loyal to their owners, Savannah cats can be a bit territorial and wary around strangers. They won’t necessarily attack new people, but they can be standoffish as they may not warm up to new people easily. It’s important to offer your Savannah plenty of opportunities to socialize, but also give him time to warm up to new people.

savannah cat in front of a cat tree
Image Credit: AJR_photo, Shutterstock

Are These Cats Good for Families? 👪

Savannah cats are great for families as families provide plenty of people for them to play and interact with. However, it’s important to watch these cats closely around small children, and vice versa, due to their large size and their playful nature.

A small child could easily get knocked over in the middle of your cat’s antics or could play in a way that is too rough for a small child. It’s very important that you teach a small child how to interact with the cat as well and don’t leave a child in charge of supervising the cat, especially outdoors.

Does This Breed Get Along with Other Pets?

Savannah cats will generally get along with other cats and dogs as long as they are properly introduced. Since they can be somewhat territorial, it’s important to make sure that they are given time to socialize and warm up to other pets and that a relationship isn’t forced. Once your cat warms up to other larger pets, he or she should be fine. Other pets can even provide someone for your cat to play with when you leave the house.

If you have smaller pets, such as hamsters, fish, turtles, or even guinea pigs, it’s a good idea to keep them well-contained so that they are not accessible to your cat. A Savannah may see them as prey instead of as another pet, and even keeping them up high is not safe if they are not well-contained, since Savannah cats can easily jump onto shelves and other furnishings.


Things to Know When Owning a Savannah Cat:

Food & Diet Requirements

The best thing you can do for a Savannah cat as far as food and diet is to provide high-quality cat food, particularly one that is high in protein. High-protein diets are great for active kitties as they help keep your cat’s muscles lean and in good shape. This is especially important for cats that like to jump and swim.

It’s also important that any diet you feed your Savannah is appropriate for his or her age. For example, kitten foods often have a different combination of nutrients that help with proper growth and development. They have smaller kibble sizes as well. The same is true for senior cats, as they may require different nutrients and softer or smaller kibble as well.

Finally, make sure that you’re following the recommended feeding instructions on the packaging. Feeding amounts and frequencies are determined by your cat’s weight and feeding the right amount can help your cat maintain a healthy weight. Avoid feeding more or less than what the packaging recommends unless instructed by your vet to do so (for example, if your cat is over or underweight).

Image By: Lindasj22, Shutterstock

Exercise 🐈

Providing plenty of opportunities for exercise is crucial for active kitties like the Savannah, especially if they have to spend a lot of time indoors. Providing cat trees, scratching posts, and plenty of toys can help provide your cat with exercise while he’s inside.

But, you can also spend time outdoors with your cat provided that you have a safe space to do so. Remember to keep a close eye on your Savannah while outdoors since they can “escape” easily. Keep in mind that they may not be trying to escape, but rather they are exploring. However, you know best whether or not your neighborhood is safe for your cat to explore and it’s always a good idea to keep a close eye on them.

You may even be able to train your Savannah cat to walk on a leash. That way, you could take your cat to a park or he could explore in a way that is safe and supervised. Just make sure he has received all the proper shots so it is safe for him to spend time outside.

Training 🧶

Savannah cats are highly intelligent and dog-like in some ways. You can train them to do things such as walk on a leash or follow basic commands. However, you won’t be able to train them as much as you can train a dog. Keep in mind that these cats can have a bit of a wild side and independent personality, so there are going to be some instances in which they do what they want to.

But when it comes to teaching your Savannah cat basic things, it should be easy for your cat to pick up on them. The key is using positive reinforcement and treats the same way that you would train a dog. And remember that you likely aren’t going to be able to completely stop your Savannah cat from jumping and playing with things. It’s just part of their nature. You may have to modify your space so that nothing gets broken and your cat stays safe.

Grooming ✂️

Savannah cats shed in pretty much the same way that other cats do, so they will benefit from an occasional brushing to help remove some of that dead hair. Other than that, they pretty much groom themselves. If your Savannah does get excessively dirty, remember that they love water so you should be able to bathe them without much trouble.

A cute Savannah cat on a couch
Image By: Pierre Aden, Shutterstock

Health and Conditions 🏥

Because they are still a fairly new breed, not much is known about any health conditions that are particular to Savannah cats. They generally live a very long time compared to other cats, which leads many to the assumption that they are fairly healthy.

With that being said, there are common feline conditions that can affect all cats, such as feline diabetes or feline leukemia. It’s possible that your Savannah cat could become afflicted by these as well. It’s important to take your cat for regular vet checkups and stay up to date on vaccines as well in order to make sure he or she stays healthy.

Minor Conditions
  • None
Serious Conditions
  • Feline diabetes
  • Feline leukemia

Male vs Female

There is very little difference in the size and personality of male vs. female Savannah cats. The main differences between cats in these areas depend more on genetics and what percentage of their genetics is serval vs domesticated cat.

Regardless of whether you get a male or female Savannah cat, it’s important to have them spayed or neutered. Spaying and neutering can not only prevent unwanted behaviors or kittens, but it can also help prevent certain types of cancer as well.


3 Little-Known Facts About the Savannah Cat

1. Savannah cats are a relatively new breed.

The first Savannah cat was created in the mid-1980s with the successful breeding of a male serval and a female domestic Siamese cat. They grew in popularity and were accepted as a new breed by the International Cat Association in 2001.

2. Savannahs love water.

Savannah cats love water and you should have no problem giving these cats a bath. If you have a pool, you may even find your Savannah cat swimming in it, or you can get him a small pool of his own.

3. A Savannah cat holds the Guinness World Record for both the longest and tallest cat in the world.

The cat, named Scarlett’s Magic, measured 18.07 inches tall and 42.72 inches long.

savannah cat standing by the window
Image By: kuban_girl, Shutterstock


Final Thoughts

If you’re looking for a cat unlike any other, then a Savannah cat may be the cat for you. These cats do require a lot of attention and they have a bit of a wild side, so they aren’t for someone who just wants a lazy, low-maintenance cat. But if you’re willing to give them the love and attention that they deserve, they can quickly become a loyal and lifelong companion to you and your family.

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Featured Image Credit: Kolomenskaya Kseniya, Shutterstock

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