Choosing a Breeder

As with all important decisions, finding a happy and healthy Savannah kitten will require a person to do his/her homework when it comes to looking for a breeder and bringing your new fur baby home. Learning as much as you can before finding a breeder is very important. You should become familiar with characteristics, grooming requirements, personality, breed standard etc. You will be able to ask the right questions with some knowledge of the breed. You are about to embark upon a relationship that may span fifteen to twenty years.

You will want your new savannah to be a happy and healthy kitten. Here are some tips on picking a good breeder. You will of course want to ask lots of questions, but don’t be surprised if the breeder asks you just as many. He or she will be anxious that the home their kittens go to is suitable.

Choosing an ethical, reputable breeder is a very important part of getting a happy, healthy well socialized kitten. You can start by making a list of breeders to contact. You can find a savannah breeder at cat shows, on social networks or a website by searching the internet. You can also check a breed directory on the internet like Savannah Cats R Us. Do some research on their reputations! Check cat groups on Facebook and Yahoo, checking with friends, and vets are all good sources to start with. If you get a bad review, cross that breeder off your list, then go on to the next.

A reputable breeder will be registered with a cat registry; you are more likely to get a healthy, well-socialized kitten with pure bloodlines. Kittens should be raised around all the daily activities of people, in their bedrooms, kitchen, around TVs, etc… Kittens that are isolated are not as well socialized and may be fearful. These kittens will be much harder to socialize as they age. Ask if they have their cattery is registered. They will also have their cats registered with the same registry. Also ask if both parents are registered. You can look up the registry and call them and see if any complaints have been filed on their cattery. They should also abide by a code of ethics and not sell to wholesalers and pet shops. If any of the above is applicable, then cross off the list and move on.

Here are a few standard things a breeder should and should not do:

  • Savannah kittens should not be able to leave until 12 weeks of age
  • They have their first 2 vaccinations (3rd one is done at 16 weeks by new owner)
  • They have been routinely wormed
  • Provide a health guarantee via a written and signed contract. The contract should guarantee health for a period of time as well as a genetic problem that may crop up at a later time with an indoor only policy. There should also be a written policy that if you must give up your kitten for some unknown reason, that it goes back to the breeder.
  • Not let you take home a kitten that has any signs of illness of any kind, no matter how small
  • Give you registration papers, even if the papers follow after the spay/neuter of the kitten
  • Require you to spay/neuter the kitten if not done so previously
  • Want your information, or questions you, about various situations of your life. These kittens should be like family to the breeder and they should want to know about you as well. Remember, you aren’t just buying a new car
  • Provide you with multiple references

The above list is by no means exhaustive. Ask lots of questions. There is NO such thing as a stupid question when you are buying a savannah kitten.

Points of interest:

  • There are many variables on pricing kittens. Type, bloodlines, markings, color, sex, the breeder and size can all influence prices
  • You new family member should be kept indoors, be neutered/spayed and have places to climb as well as scratching post to allow natural behavior will ensure a long, happy and healthy life
  • A breeder should love their cats, be knowledgeable about the breed and committed to producing healthy, well-socialized kittens
  • Savannahs require a high quality diet that is free of grains, by-products and meat meal
  • The breed is new so there is still a lot of variation in the appearance but it improves all the time
  • Savannahs are more social than the normal domestic cats that people are used to seeing and they are often compared to dogs. They can be trained to walk on a leash and play fetch
  • They do not sleep as much as other breeds of cats
  • They are known for their love of water and jumping abilities


Article by Gary Fulgham

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What is the Savannah’s temperament like?

Savannah cats are intelligent, curious, loyal and very people oriented. They are high energy cats that need things to do, so lots of toys and places for them to climb are essential. Don’t expect your Savannah to be a lap cat or a cat that can sit still for long periods of time. They need regular interaction and exercise, and games that involve running and jumping. Many people say they are “dog like” but that is not quite correct. They are fairly easy to train to walk on a leash, like to play in water, follow you all over the house and can learn to play fetch but other than that, they act like cats. :) Socialization is very important for a Savannah Kitten. Most breeders do fabulous jobs of socializing their kittens. Continuing to socialize them with new people is a good idea.

Why is the Savannah Cat so expensive?

This is a question that many people ask. Savannahs are a remarkable breed and breeders had to overcome many obstacles to get this breed started. It is a fairly new breed (just over 20 years old) that was created by crossing domestic cats of various breeds with an African Serval. Pricing can depend on location (one close to you), the breeder and the quality of the cat as well as generation, color, pattern, sex, whether show quality and if a pet or breeder.

Creating the first generation (F1’s) is a very difficult endeavor. Only a handful of breeders have been successful. There is a gestation difference between the Servals and domestics. It takes a lot of work and a pile of money to find a domestic that can carry to term as well as finding a Serval that has an interest in breeding a domestic. Breeders have put a lot of time, care, financial investment and energy into creating an F1 program. The number of F1’s available each year is limited. The supply is low and the demand is high.

There is a lot of cost that goes into making F1’s. There is the price of a Serval that ranges from $4000.00 to $5500.00. Then there is the acquisition of the domestics and savannahs that are being used in the breeding programs. Raw food diets and vitamins for the Servals and high quality dry and wet food the females, as well as large enclosures that are very pricey to build and maintain factor in as well. Add vet bills and bottle feeding to the mix and you will see a lot of money going out the door before ever having the first F1 born. These costs have to be maintained for up to 2 years before a Serval might even begin to have an interest in breeding. If the male Serval doesn’t breed, a breeder will have to start over with a new Serval male.

How much do savannah cats cost?
Price depends on many, many factors so I will simplify the cost by making chart for a broad price range below. The higher the percentages of Serval blood in a generation, the higher the price. I have seen F1’s from 50 % to 78% Serval. Price range will include all percentages of each generation. The range will also include pet and breeder cats. Almost all F1 females are sold as breeders. The lower price is for pets only and the higher prices are breeder only. Some breeders may price kittens outside of this price range.

Are there other cost considerations when purchasing a Savannah?
Yes, there will be other cost. A few breeders will microchip kittens before leaving but most do not. You will have the cost of neutering and micro chipping once you receive your new forever fur baby. There also may be shipping cost if you are not close enough to drive. Shipping runs between $300.00 and $400.00 on average for all shipping cost (airfare, crate, health certificate, and rabies). Breeders will also require a vet visit within 72 hours of you receiving your new kitten for the health guarantee. Savannahs also require a higher quality food that is grain free. This food is more expensive
I have seen the same generation with a lot of different prices. Why is there a price difference?

There are many reasons for the price difference. Quality, coloring, male or female, pet or breeder and age are all factors. Quality should play the largest part in price in the way kittens are priced. A kitten that has large ears, golden coat, black spots and conforms to the standard should command a higher price. A kitten that has small ears, spots not well defined, with a ticked background coat and a round head would not be as close to the standard, therefore less money. It would be wise to for anyone wishing to purchase a pet or breeder to study the savannah cat standard to learn about type (head, ear, tail, coloring and body shape). Things such as a crooked tail, lockets (unwanted white spots), off colored (cinnamons, blues, reds etc), not conforming to standard etc are a few things that might reduce the price on a given kitten.

A breeder that pays top dollar for the best breeding stock will most likely be asking a higher price. The kittens that are closer to the breed standard and will of course cost more. Some kitten in the same litter can also be priced differently. Some may not be the expectations the breeders was looking for or be close enough to the breed standard to command top dollar. That does not mean the kittens will not be exotic looking or have any less than a great personality. Some Savannahs kittens may be priced higher but are not always a higher quality kitten. That means is the breeder is asking a top dollar and not taking quality into the quotient. It is imperative that a buyer do their best to research what a good quality savannah should look like. Check kittens on different pages that look similar and see what the pricing is. Contact multiple breeders and ask questions. You can join savannah cat lovers on Facebook as well. There are a lot of the top breeders there. You can ask questions and see the pics people post (there are lots and lots) and learn what you are looking for in a savannah.

Gary Fulgham
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