When speaking about the various breeds of domestic cats who, either by nature or human design, look like their bigger, wilder cousins, only a couple came about by the actual breeding of a domestic cat to a wild one. One of those breeds is called the Savannah cat. It is the product of crossing an African Serval to a domestic shorthair, most often a Bengal, Egyptian Maus, Serengetis or the like.
Unlike Pixie-Bobs, who will naturally mate with available barnyard cats and do so regularly, the breeding of a Serval to a domestic can be a difficult task. Judy Frank, a Bengal breeder who lives in PA, accomplished the first documented breeding in the 1980s. The resulting mix produced a playful, curious cat that is very talkative and extremely friendly, while having the beautiful, wild look and physical features of the wild Serval cat. The Savannah was named after the African grasslands that are native to the Serval. They are overwhelmingly breathtaking, having gorgeous spotted and striped coats in colors that range from silver to amber. Another endearing quality to this animal is the distinctive teardrop markings that show around both their eyes and their ears.
Somewhat typical of wild to domestic blendings, the male Savannahs are generally sterile until the fifth generation, but the females are usually fertile from the first generation on. Savannahs are also one of the largest breeds of domestic cats available. Compared to the atypical domestic cat, who weighs in between five and a half pounds to sixteen pounds, although some have been know to grow somewhat larger, the Savannah can reach up to a whopping thirty-two pounds. Their fur varies depending upon the domestic cross that is used for the blending.
The earliest generations of a blending always have dark spotting on a lighter coat. Many breeders of Savannahs have used Bengals and Egyptian Maus to preserve these markings in later generations of the cats. Savannahs can have tan coats with brownish or black spots, or a silver coat with a marble pattern, dark spots, or other pattern combinations. Savannahs are very social creatures that get along well with cats and dogs. They have loads of energy, greet people with head-butts, and love to pounce on you from out of nowhere.
They also like to follow their owners about the house, much as a dog would. Another thing unusual about the Savannah cats is that they love water and think nothing of joining their human companions for a quick shower or a hop into the bathtub. They even enjoy getting into pools and streams much as their wild ancestors the Servals do.
Otherwise, Savannahs eat, use the litter box, and require the same veterinarian check-ups as any domestic breed of cat.
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