Monday, July 25, 2016

Hybrid Cat Breeds: Savannah

Many times, cats that are directly descended from wild cats have a difficult time achieving recognition as a pure and true breed. This has happened, at least in great part, with the Savannah. In April of 1986 a domestic female cat mated with an African Serval, which is a wild cat found in certain parts of Africa. The resulting kitten was larger than a typical domestic cat, buy not quite as large as the African Serval. Though the coat pattern was clearly inherited from the father, the calmness and love of humans was all domestic cat. A true hybrid if there ever was one.

This first generation hybrid kitten was the very first Savannah cat, but he would not be the last. Over the next fifteen years, breeders would work tirelessly to perfect and stabilize their breed. This hard work paid off when TICA recognized the breed in 2001. Today the cat competes in the Advanced New Breed category, but it has yet to gain widespread acceptance, probably because of its rather wild ancestry. This is unlikely to change in the immediate future, but there is hope that one day the Savannah will compete as any other breed within most registries.

The Savannah is a large and sleek cat, very much resembling that African ancestor they so take after. Ears should be tall and alert and standing straight up on the head while the eyes are slightly angled. These two factors make the Savannah appear mildly surprised all the time. Long legs and a long body make him appear taller than he actually is, which is impressive in a cat already as large as the solid Savannah.

The coat is particularly distinctive, more so than even the spotted Bengal. Spots and strips abound and should be easily seen even from a distance. They should be placed in such a manner that they cannot be confused with traditional tabby markings. If it looks like a tabby cat, it is a tabby cat. Savannahs are truly unique and not mistaken for other cats.

Active and very curious, the Savannah loves to play games such as fetch and chase the invisible mouse through the house. He is in desperate need of regular exercise, so make sure you provide plenty of stimulation for your feline buddy. Toys and climbing habitats are an absolute necessity if you want to keep him from shredding your curtains. A friend is even better because they'll be obsessed with each other rather than tearing up the bottom of your couch or bed.

This large breed needs people and hates to be alone, which is another good reason to get more than one cat if you're away from home for hours at a time on a regular basis. He needs human interaction almost to an annoying degree, but don't expect him to be a lap cat. He'll be loyal and affectionate, but he prefers to show his love through playing and pestering than a long cuddle. He's got too much energy to stay in one place for long.

With a short coat that needs little in the way of grooming, the Savannah is a low maintenance breed who can make a pest of himself if he's ignored. If you want a friend with almost doglike loyalty, the Savannah might be for you.

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