In 1986, a domestic cat gave birth to a kitten sired by an African serval. The kitten shared traits from both species and was named “Savannah.” And thus, this exotic-looking and behaving animal came to be. These hybrid cats are large and lean with the serval’s characteristic large, erect ears and brown-spotted coat. There are five generations of Savannah cats, ranging from F1 to F5. Discover the difference in the types of Savannah cats, including their appearance, size, and personalities. Plus, learn which is the best Savannah cat to get.
F1 Savannah Cats
The F1 Savannah cat is the largest, most expensive, and rarest generation of this breed. According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the F1 is the tallest domestic cat in the world, measuring up to 19 inches tall. However, their size can vary. Females weigh between 12 and 19 pounds, and males can reach up to 25 pounds.
Despite their size, F1s won’t destroy your house. They are manageable cats that bond easily with their owners. But they can’t be bothered to interact with children (unless bonded from birth) or people they don’t know, often retreating or watching from a distance. They are not known for being aggressive, but they don’t usually do well with other small pets, like fish, birds, and rodents. These cats have insanely high energy and want to play constantly. They also love water!
Average Size: 13 to 25 pounds
Price: $12,000 to $20,000
F2 Savannah Cats
F2 Savannah cats are the next size down. Lengthwise, they are an inch or so shorter than the F1s. And males range in weight from 15 to 24 pounds, occasionally reaching up to 30. Females are smaller, averaging 12 to 16 pounds. Their appearance is similar to the F1s but features slightly more domestic looks.
This generation tends to be more social, especially with their immediate family members. They are still not considered lap cats, but they enjoy being petted and played with nonstop, even with children. They can be weary of strangers, like the F1s. However, they take less time to warm up to new people. If you want a Savannah that looks similar to an F1 but with a more social personality, the F2 is a great option.
Average Size: 12 to 24 pounds
Price: $4,000 to $11,000
F3 Savannah Cats
The further Savannah cats get away from their African serval heritage, the smaller and more domestic cat-like they get. F3 Savannah cats are the next generation down and are typically around 17 inches long. Males weigh between 13 and 19 pounds. And females are significantly smaller at ten to 13 pounds. This breed still has its wild markings but begins to resemble a domestic cat more closely.
The F3 is very social and shares close bonds with its family. It also welcomes strangers easily and thoroughly enjoys playing with children. In this generation, they are more likely to sit on your lap and want to be held. They have excellent personalities while being active and highly intelligent. Unlike most domestic cats, the F3 can be trained to walk on a leash and loves to play in the water!
Average Size: 10 to 19 pounds
Price: $1,500 to $4,000
F4 & F5 Savannah Cats
The F4s and F5s are very similar in size, appearance, and price. For that reason, they are grouped in the same category. These generations look like tall, lanky house cats with exotic markings. They average 16 inches long and weigh about the same as an F3. Males average 13 to 20 pounds, while females weigh ten to 13.
F4 and F5 Savannah cats also have temperaments and personalities similar to the F3s. But they are even more social and hands-on. They are very energetic and intelligent, and they enjoy playing and being petted all day. While they more closely resemble a regular house cat, they are more intelligent and playful.
Average Size: 10 to 20 pounds
Price: $1,000 to $4,000
What is the Best Savannah Cat to Get?
Each Savannah cat features a unique look and personality. And the one you choose will entirely depend on your family’s needs and desires. However, if you are looking for recommendations, go with the F3. They are a great mix of exotic looks and fun personalities. They are slightly smaller than the F1s and F2s but are much more sociable and affectionate, easily getting along with all family members and guests.
Bonus: Are Savannah Cats Considered to be Exotic Pets?
Before you adopt a Savannah cat you should check the exotic pet laws in your state of residence. Unfortunately, several states ban all Savannah cats while some impose bans on the F1 type – which is 50% serval. Exotic animals are undomesticated and are banned from pet ownership to protect the rights and safety of people who could be harmed by these pets that are so close to being wild.
Some states do not allow Savannah cats – those are Georgia, Hawaii, Nebraska, and Rhode Island. The state of Delaware allows ownership with a special permit. Texas only allows ownership of Savannah cats in a few counties – so sometimes it depends on which county you reside. It can actually get to the city level – the city of New York, New York, Seattle, Washington and Denver, Colorado ban any Savannah cat ownership. The state of New York allows for generation F5 and later. Washington allows all Savannah cats and Colorado permits Savannahs of generation F4 and later.
Savannah cats of generation F4 and later are allowed in Alaska, Colorado, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Vermont. All other states allow ownership of Savannah cats either outright or with restrictions or permits.
The photo featured at the top of this post is © Eric Isselee/Shutterstock.com
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