There’s something unmistakably striking about the Savannah cat. Descended from African wild cats and crossed with domestic cats, these exotic hybrids are graceful, captivating and leave you wanting to know more.

There’s much more to this charming rare breed than meets the eye. Here’s some interesting facts about these little leopards in disguise:

20 Things You Didn’t Know About Savannah Cats

  1. Savannahs are a relatively new breed; a fusion of the African wild cat and a domestic, they have only been in existence since 1986, and were registered with the International Cat Association in 2001.
  2. The Savannah gets their wild streak from it ancestor the African Serval cat, native to Africa. These wild creatures have evolved with an impressive jumping ability to avoid predators, while their loud purrs ward off unwanted visitors. A typical Savannah will have less than 10% possible heritage to their Serval origins.
  3. Due to scarcity, demand and challenges in breeding, these animals can command up to $20,000 and are not easy to come by. Breeders cannot release kittens until they reach 10-14 weeks old.
  4. They have a fierce jump, reaching around 11 feet. That’s higher and further than any of their cat siblings! Due to this, Savannahs quite enjoy being up high.
  5. Savannahs are often prefixed with a ‘F’ rating, this shows their ancestry designation. For instance, F1 is a first generation descendant, F2 indicates grand kittens, and F3 are great-grand kittens. This breed is considered to be purebred at F4 and above.
  6. They can be quite sizeable. Typically, a Savannah can weigh up to 10 pounds, but some have been known to reach three times as much.
  7. Their expected lifespan is 12-15 years.
  8. Unlike most of their other feline counterparts, these cats like to play in water.
  9. They are known to be one of the largest domesticated cats in existence.
  10. They have extremely long legs, making them as tall as a small or medium-size dog.
  11. Look closely and you’ll see black tear marks under their eyes. This has evolved to reflect light when hunting.
  12. Notice their huge ears? These come from their wild background, a nod to the African Serval
  13. Harking back to their wild ancestry, these cats are known to make a distinctive ‘snake hiss’ growl. This is said to be imitating snakes, from their days in the wild.
  14. This breed is both highly energetic and highly intelligent. They need stimulation, interaction, and entertainment, to avoid a certain destructive streak!
  15. According to cat experts, this breed has many common traits with dogs. They can easily be trained to walk on a leash and love to play games. Furthermore, they question strangers and are fiercely loyal to their owners.
  16. They hold a world record for being the tallest cats in the world. This was last recorded in 2017 by Savannah-bred Arctrus, who stood 19 inches proud.
  17. Standout features include their large ears, used for hunting prey, and their hooded eyes, flat across the top, as well as their leopard style print.
  18. Many confuse them with similar-looking Bengal cats. Their higher energy temperament and larger build help distinguish them to cat aficionados.
  19. They come in brown, silver, smoke, and black, with their trademark dark spots.
  20. Due to their wild lineage, Savannahs are not allowed as pets in some states, such as New York, Hawaii, Nebraska, Massachusetts and Georgia. This is because of concern around how they could change the existing eco-system with their wild nature.