CahabaCats Savannahs

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 Cahaba Cats Savannahs

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Common Questions and Answers about Life with Savannah Cats



Q. What is the Breed Standard?

Click Here to jump to the Savannah Breed Standard; also located at the end of this page.


Q. How BIG will they get?

There are some large Savannahs, especially in the early generations, however most Savannahs are about the same size or slightly taller than other domestic breeds. We evaluate size based on height, not weight. Individual size can vary quite a bit in different lines and litters. In general, the earlier the generation, the larger the cat will be. Males tend to be larger than females. So an F3 male will generally be larger than an F3 female and also larger than F5 male, but there are always exceptions. The size of the parents and siblings from previous litters is usually a pretty good indicator but no one can accurately predict the adult size of a kitten.


Q. How much are they ?

Kittens generally have a price or price range listed along with their pictures on our Available page. Show and breeder quality kittens will be priced at the higher end of the range, while nice pets or older kittens may be a more economical choice. The purchase price includes 2 sets of shots, worming, TICA registration, and carrier.  Prices do not include shipping unless specifically noted.


Q. Do they use a litter box?

Yes. Just like any other cat Savannahs use a litter box, however depending on the size of your cat you may need a larger than normal box for him/her. Litter boxes should be scooped at least once a day and completely emptied and scrubbed out weekly. This cuts down on any odors and eliminates bacteria. One of the main reasons cats are rehomed is inappropriate elimination. Cats are naturally clean animals and do not like to use a dirty, stinky box any more than you would. For the sake of your home and their health, clean litter boxes thoroughly and regularly!!


Q. I don't understand the codes. What does the "Fnumber" stand for and what do A, B, C and  SBT mean?


Filial Number


The "F" designation: The number after the letter 'F' represents how many generations a particular cat is from the wild ancestor. Keep in mind that most Savannahs are now the result of Savannah to Savannah breeding, so the percentage of Serval genes in an individual cat can vary depending on pedigree and probability of inheritance.

* F1 is one generation removed from the Serval

* F2 is 2 generations removed from the Serval

* F3 is 3 generations removed from the Serval and so on.


A, B, C, and SBT

These letter codes represent how many generations of Savannah to Savannah breeding are in a cats pedigree. "A" registered cats can be either an F1 which has a Serval parent OR any other generation where one parent is a Savannah and the other parent is another breed such as Egyptian Mau,

Oriental Shorthair, or a Domestic Shorthair (mixed breed).

* Serval x any breed = F1A

* A x another Savannah = B, both parents are Savannahs

* B x B, C or SBT = C, both the parents and grandparents are Savannahs on both sides of the pedigree

* C x C or SBT= SBT (Stud Book Traditional) Three generations of Savannahs on both sides of the pedigree


Q. What do they eat?

Cats and dogs are obligate carnivores… they really don’t crave corn and rice regardless what the commercial food companies would like you to believe. Cats also drink very little water and need to obtain water in their diet which is why we like to feed both wet and dry food. For kibble, both our pets and breeding animals eat ProPlan Select dry food. It has a nice high protein content without the price tag of some of the other higher end foods that don’t have as much protein. We also offer our cats fresh ground raw chicken that includes ground bone and suppliments. For information on grinding your own food or switching to raw please go to our resources page and check out the section titled "Raw Diet". As a back up (or decent alternative), we use Whiskas Perfectly Chicken or Perfectly fish. This wet

food comes in pouches and happens to be one of the readily available brands that I’ve found which is almost pure meat.


There are higher end brands that are equally good, I just simply refuse to pay 45.00 for a 20 pound bag of cat food. Regardless which brand you decide on, the goal is to be sure it has a high protein content, real meat or meat-meal as the number one ingredient, and there is as little grain and by-products as possible.


Q. How are they compared to other cats?

Savannahs are a very active breed of cat; They are not your typical big fluffy type of cat that reigns supreme sitting on the couch. No, Savannahs are more like perpetual 3-year-olds. They have endurance, like to run, love to jump and they can play rough, so while they may not intend to be destructive, their need to play, energy level and natural curiosity can sometimes mean your knick-knacks get in the way. The level of potential breakage increases with the amount of "stuff" in your home, and overall size of the cat. An F1 orF2 kitten will challenge even your highest book shelves and bansiters. Although smaller in size, even later generations will find a way to the top of the fridge. I suggest that anything irreplaceable is best kept behind glass doors for the first year or two.


Dedicated play time with teaser wands, cat trees, paper bags and any number of toys help focus their boundless energy on appropriate play and tires them out. A second Savannah may also help as they will keep each other entertained long past the point you tire of their games.  So while Savannahs may not be for everyone, they are the perfect breed to bring hours of entertainment, surprising you with their intelligence and athletic abilities, and for people who want to interact with their cat.


Q. How do you feel about declawing?

We do not promote or condone declawing. The procedure of declawing a cat is equivalent to taking off the tips of your fingers just below the first knuckle.  If you have the stomach for it, there are photos and videos of the procedure online. Given a good sisal scratching post/cat tree Savannahs are pretty well behaved when it comes to scratching.  Also, clipping their nails regularly goes a long way to prevent any accidental damage to furniture.


Q. I have heard that males get urinary tract infections more often than females. Is this true?

This seems to be problematic in certain breeds but I have not heard this to be very common in Savannahs. I also believe UTI issues are related to poor quality diets or low water intake. That is not to say it can’t happen in any breed, but with a high quality diet of both dry and wet foods it wouldn’t be a major concern for me personally.


SAVANNAH (SV) Breed Standard

Revised 05/01/11 Savannah Breed Standard

HEAD . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40 points
Shape . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6
Ears . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7
Eyes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6
Chin . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4
Muzzle . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4
Profile . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4
Nose . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3
Neck . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6
BODY . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40 points

Torso . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8
Legs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8
Feet . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3
Tail . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7
Boning . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7
Musculature . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7

COAT/COLOR/PATTERN . . . . . . . 20 points
Texture . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8
Pattern . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8
Color . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4

Category: Traditional. Divisions: Solid, Tabby and Silver/Smoke Division.
Colors: Black, Brown (Black) Spotted Tabby, Black Silver Spotted Tabby and Black Smoke.
Permissible Outcrosses: Serval, Egyptian Mau, Ocicat, Oriental Shorthair, domestic shorthair not a member of a recognized breed).

Shape: The head, excluding the ears, is shaped like an elongated triangle. The face forms an equilateral triangle: the top of the triangle is the brow line over the eyes; the sides follow down the jaw bone meeting at the chin. The head is small in proportion to the body.
Ears: Ears are exceptionally large and high on the head. They are wide with a deep base. They should be very upright and have rounded tops. The outside base of the ear should start no lower on the head than the height of the eyes, but may be set higher. The inside base of the ears is set close at the top of the head; ideally, a vertical line can be drawn from the inner corner of the eye up to the inner base of the ear. Ear furnishings may be present; pronounced ocelli are desirable.
Eyes: Medium sized and set underneath a slightly hooded brow. The top of the eye resembles a boomerang set at the exact angle so that the corner of the eye slopes down the line of the nose. The bottom half of the eye has an almond shape. The eyes are moderately deep set, low on the forehead, and at least one eye width apart. Tear stain markings are present along and between the eye and the nose. All eye colors are allowed and are independent of coat color.
Chin: From the frontal view the chin tapers to follow the triangle of the head. In profile, the nose is slightly protruding so that the angle from the nose to the chin slants back, which may cause the chin to appear recessed.
Muzzle: The muzzle is tapered with no break. It falls within the bottom portion of the facial triangle that runs from the brow to the point of the chin. Whisker pads are not pronounced.
Profile: The forehead is a straight to slightly convex curve from the top of the head to the ridge just above the eye where there is a slight change of direction and a straight to veryslight concave curve from that ridge to the tip of the nose. In profile, the face also forms a triangle from the top of the eye to the tip of the nose, turning to follow the jaw line and back up to the eye.
Nose: Viewing from the front, the nose is wide across the top with low set nostrils. In profile, there is a slight downward turn at the end, giving a rounded appearance. Nose leather is slightly convex and wraps up over the nose.
Neck: Long and lean.

Torso: The torso is long, lean and wellmuscled with a full deep rib cage, prominent shoulder blades, a slight, but not extreme, tuckup and a rounded rump. The hip and thigh are full and long and somewhat heavy in proportion to the rest of the body.
Legs: Longer than average, well muscled, without appearing heavy or overly delicate. Back legs are slightly longer than the front legs.
Feet: Oval, medium in size.
Tail: Medium to thick in width. Medium in length, ending between the hock and just above ground level when standing with preferred length just below the hock. Tail should taper slightly to a blunt end. Whippy tails are not desired.
Boning: Medium boning with density and strength.
Musculature: Firm, well-developed, yet smooth.
Coat: Short to medium in length with good substance and a slightly coarse feel to it. Coarser guard hairs cover a softer undercoat; the spots have a notably softer texture than the guard hairs. The coat is not inordinately dense and lies relatively flat against the body.
Colors: Black, brown (black) spotted tabby, black silver spotted tabby, black smoke. No preference is given to ground color on the brown (black) spotted tabby. Bold, solid markings are preferred on all tabbies; ghost markings preferred on solid blacks and a visible pattern on black smokes. In any variation the lips are black, and the tear duct lines are prominent. On the spotted Savannahs the nose leather can be pink to brick red surrounded by liner, solid black, or black with a pink to brick center stripe. In black Savannahs, the nose leather must be solid black. Paw pads in either color variation should be deep charcoal or brownish black.
Pattern: The spotted Savannah pattern is made up of bold, solid dark-brown to black spots, which can be round, oval, or elongated. A series of parallel stripes, from the back of the head to just over the shoulder blades, fan out slightly over the back and the spotting pattern follows the line of the stripes from the
shoulders continuing the length of the body. Smaller spots will be found on the legs and feet as well as on the face. The black Savannah is solid black, ghost spotting may occur. The spots should conform to the spotted
Savannah's description. The smoke pattern will conform to the spotted Savannah’s description.
Temperament: The ideal Savannah is to be a confident, alert, curious and friendly cat.
General Description: The overall impression of the Savannah is a tall lean graceful cat with striking, large, dark spots and other bold markings on a luxurious tawny, gold , orange, silver, black or black smoke background. The cat is a replica of the tall, lean, muscular Serval cat of the African plains from which it originated. Affectionate and outgoing, with exceptionally long neck, legs and ears, as well as a medium length tail, the Savannah is both unusual and beautiful. The Savannah is also an exceptionally graceful, well-balanced cat with striking color and pattern.
Allowances: Females proportionately smaller than males. Cow-hocked appearance of the hind legs due to their longer length.
Penalize: Rosettes. Spots that are any color other than dark brown to black. Any distinct locket on the neck, chest, abdomen or any other area not provided for in the standard. Vertically aligned spots or mackerel tabby type stripes. Cobby body. Small ears.
Disqualify (DQ): Extra toes.