Savannah cats are hybrid cat breeds. They are a cross between a domestic cat and a serval, a long-eared wild African cat. Breeders started breeding this crossbreed in the late 1990s. It has been an accepted breed by The International Cat Association since 2001.
Because the cat is a result of crossbreeding, each generation is slightly different. F1 generation Savannah cats are produced directly from a serval and a domestic cat breeding which results in an offspring that is 50% serval. F2 generation Savannah cats have a serval grandparent, making them at least 25% serval. F3 generation Savannah cats are at least 12.5% serval with a serval great-grandparent. This continues through the F4, F5, F6, and F7 generations, with offspring being one generation removed from a serval.
Savannah cats are loyal and playful which is exactly what many people are looking for in a pet. Some are anxious around new people and other pets, but many are social and friendly. Savannah cats like to jump and climb to high places. Some Savannah cats can even jump up to eight feet in the air! Unlike many other breeds, Savannah cats are not afraid of water and actually enjoy playing in it.
There is disagreement about whether Savannah cats have the same nutritional needs as other breeds. Most breeders agree that Savannah cats require more taurine, but there is no agreement about the need for special food like a grain-free diet. In fact, most veterinarians argue that a grain-free diet is not good for cats because of a poor balance of nutrients.
This is a popular topic, but there is no clear answer. Four states have no laws on keeping wild animals as pets: Alabama, Nevada, North Carolina, and Wisconsin. On the other hand, four states have a complete ban on their possession in most counties and cities: Alaska, Hawaii, Oregon, and Washington. When speaking about a Savannah cat, it is important to look up its generation. Some states only allow fourth generations or later because these cats have been properly bred to eliminate most of their wilder instincts that could be dangerous to humans.
Some states do not allow Savannah cats to be owned as pets. Georgia, Hawaii, Nebraska, and Rhode Island all ban pet Savannah cats. Delaware doesn’t allow ownership without a permit. In Texas, you are not allowed to own a Savannah cat in most counties. Aransas, Bell, Coryell, Ector, Guadalupe, Harris, Kaufman, Lubbock, Mason, Ward, and Montgomery counties allow you to own a Savannah cat with strict permitting rules.
Other states limit the generation of Savannah cats that can be kept as pets. As explained, the further removed from the original wild serval cat, the less likely the cat is to exhibit the behaviors of wild animals. Alaska, Colorado, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Vermont limit ownership to F4 generations and later. New York allows for generation F5 and later. The only exceptions to this are the city of Denver in Colorado and New York City which ban any Savannah cat ownership.
In all other states, it is legal to own a Savannah cat. Still, there are some restrictions on ownership. In New Mexico, Oregon, and Indiana, some cities or counties may have their own restrictions on ownership or may require owners to obtain a permit. In Maryland, it is legal to own a pet Savannah cat as long as it is under 30 pounds in weight. Washington allows Savannah cats as pets, but they are banned within the city of Seattle.
Savannah Cat Legality
|Alaska||F4 and later|
|Colorado||F4 and later||Illegal in Denver city limits|
|Delaware||None without permit|
|District of Columbia||All Generations|
|Indiana||All Generations||Some counties require permit|
|Iowa||F4 and later|
|Maryland||All Generations||Must be under 30 lbs|
|Massachusetts||F4 and later|
|New Hampshire||F4 and later|
|New Jersey||All Generations|
|New Mexico||All Generations||Some cities require permit|
|New York||F4 and later||None in NYC|
|North Carolina||All Generations|
|North Dakota||All Generations|
|Oregon||All Generations||Some cities/counties have restrictions|
|South Carolina||All Generations|
|South Dakota||All Generations|
|Texas||Not allowed in most counties|
|Vermont||F4 and later|
|Washington||All Generations||Ownership is banned in Seattle|
|West Virginia||All Generations|