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Choosing a Savannah - Is One Right for You?

By Alex De Mostafa TEXT SIZE Minus Plus

Savannahs, the newest breed in the cat world, are quickly becoming the most popular and in demand member of the cat world, too. Known for their exotic looks, friendly natures and high intelligence, savannah cats make excellent pets. But, is a savannah cat the "perfect" pet for you?

Savannah cats are hybrids, a cross between wild, exotic Serval cats and domestic shorthairs or certain other recognized, established domestic breeds. Not all states and provinces allow all hybrid felines. Some areas within sates that do allow hybrid felines have restrictions. Certain states only allow hybrid felines after so many breeding generations, typically F4's and F5's. New York City, Iowa, Hawaii, Alaska and Connecticut ban all hybrid felines, irregardless of parentage. The first thing to consider when choosing a Savannah, or any other hybrid cat for that matter, is to check with your local authorities. Most animals considered to be "illegal" are put to sleep, and the owners given hefty fines. You wouldn't want to lose your newest family member to the authorities because of an oversight on your part.

Because Savannah cats are hybrids of Servals, they can be quite large and athletic. Be ready for that cute little kitten to top out between 15 and 20 pounds, especially if it is a male. The earlier the generation of hybrid, say F1 to F3, the larger the animal will likely grow upon reaching maturity. Savannah cats are very energetic and athletic, as well. They have been known to be able to jump 8 feet in the air from a sitting pose! They require a great deal of exercise - playing, romping, wrestling with both owner and other pets, even being trained to take "walkies" on a leash like a dog - and if you aren't prepared to expend some energy on the part of your cat, you may not be the ideal Savannah parent.

Savannah cats seem to have little to no trouble fitting in or settling into their new homes. They do tend to take the dominant role with other animals, so if you already have an "alpha" cat or dog, you may expect some adjustments will have to be made. They make excellent pets for children, from the youngest to the teenager, showing almost a fierce loyalty to their owner whatever the age. Savannah cats have been reported to be waiting by the door for their human to return from school or work. The Savannah's loyal nature tends to give it more "dog - like" qualities than most domestic cats. They can be leashed trained and love to go on long walks. They follow their humans around the house, waiting on the other side of the bathroom or bedroom door. They like to "talk" and are vocal quite frequently, carrying on "conversations" with their humans and other animals. Savannah cats have been known to learn how to open doors and even to work wall light switches. They aren't exactly the cuddly type. Their nature is too independent for that. While your Savannah may enjoy sprawling beside you for petting and affection, he probably won't be the type to crawl in your lap.

Savannah breeders typically have a wide range of prices for their kittens. You can expect to pay anywhere from $500 to $2000 for a Savannah kitten. You have to keep in mind what it is you are looking for in a Savannah? Are you looking for a new pet for your family? Are you considering a possible foray into the cat show arena? Are you looking to establish your own cattery or Savannah breeding program? Most breeders price their kittens depending on their potential to become breeding stock. A good "pet" kitten will therefore cost you the least amount of money. A potential breeder male can cost as much as $2000. Higher generational cats can cost more, too , with F1's and F2's in the higher end of most breeders' price ranges. There's no guarantee that a kitten priced in the middle of the range will make a good "show cat" even though you may pay a little more for it. Many things - temperament, health, maturity level, handling, etc. - all go into the making of a good show cat. There's simply no way a breeder, or you for that matter, can look at a young kitten and know for certain that he or she will be a prize winner. Certain physical features, such as a tail that is just a smidge too short or too long, for example, can mark a kitten as unsuitable as a show quality example of the breed, but then again, just because you get a less expensive kitten doesn't necessarily mean it can't grow up to be crowned champion. Please be aware that many breeders enter into a spay/neuter contract for kitten considered "pet" quality, and that you must spay or neuter the kitten after purchase or you will be in violation of the contract. This is to protect the animal as much as the owner and breeder. Also be aware that most males through the F4 generation are sterile and cannot breed, but can spray and mark and will still need to be neutered.

Health wise, Savannah cats have no real health concerns or problems. They can eat the same premium cat food as other domestic cats. They are easily trained to use the litter box. Their short coats don't take much more care than an occasional brushing. They do, however, tend to love the water, so bathing may not be an option. Savannahs have been known to hop in the tub and shower with their humans. They tend to like to nap in the sink, too. Regular, routine veterinarian visits are all that is usually required to keep your Savannah in prime form and good health.

Overall, the Savannah cat makes a good addition to most homes. They are loyal yet loving, intelligent and independent. A Savannah can be expensive to acquire, but easy to care for once you get it home. Whether you choose a Savannah based on its looks, personality or its "wild yet mild" distinctiveness, choosing a Savannah for your family is almost always the perfect choice to make.

About the Author
Urban Safari is home to the finest savannah cat breeding with information regarding the history and development of this beautiful breed. Visit them online today.

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