Spotting Animal Scams

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Useful tips on detecting a scammer posing as a Savannah breeder

 

Useful tips on detecting a scammer posing as a Savannah breeder

Sadly, internet pet scams are on the rise. The human affection for our furry friends is an open arms invitation for many types of animal scams. With our love for animals we often don’t recognize the animal scams and can easily get taken.

Usually these scammers will place ads or have websites that have nice pictures and are fairly well worded. Rest assured that a scam site is only after money and the animal will not exist, at least in their hands. The pictures are stolen from legitimate websites and breeders. Scam websites may also take the wording as well as testimonials from a legitimate breeder’s website.

Facebook is huge right now for animal scammers. If an ad on Facebook looks too good to be true then is probably is a scam. Below are some tips on protecting yourself against these scammers.

1.) Look the websites or Facebook ads over very closely. Are there things that you find odd as in broken English, prices drastically reduced, pictures of a totally different animal than what is listed for sale. If you are skeptical ask that they take a picture of themselves holding the kitten/cat. Ask them to do it right away. This will aid in not allowing them to search out a picture on the internet. Most scammers will say that they cannot right now and give some excuse.

2.) Nearly every scammer will have a low price. Most try and sell F1 or F2 Savannahs.  (example: selling F1 savannah for $2000). Prices do vary and some scammers will try for higher prices. If they ask you to send money via “western union” or “money gram” you can be assured that the person is a scammer. NO legitimate breeder will ask for either one. A check, PayPal, credit card or cash in person are the only acceptable payments most breeders will accept.

3.) Make sure you ask for more pictures than are on the website or in the advertisement. Ask for pictures at different ages as well as different angles. Compare all the pictures to make sure they are all the same animal. Can the breeder produce them?

4.) One of the reasons that these websites look so legitimate, they steal the text from other websites. If you want to see if the text is stolen, copy and paste the website address into the search bar at http://www.copyscape.com . Copyscape will allow 10 checks per day per computer. It will list and place that has the same exact text.

5.) A person can also do what is called a “who is” search on the domain name to see if it is registered in another country. www.DNSstuff.com  There are Savannah breeders as well as other animal breeders in other countries that are legitimate so not all “out of country” websites are scams.

6.) Check to see if there is a phone number. While some breeders will prefer email contact and not list their phone number, most will have a phone number on the site. Not having a phone number on the website does not mean a breeder is not legitimate. The purpose here is to check location. If there is a phone number, do a search on the area code to see where it is located. If the area code is out of the country but they say they are in New York then you will have a great clue that the site you are on is a scam site. Remember that there are some breeders in other countries that are legitimate. Most of the scam sites are people from African and Cameroon but I have seen sites listed in Australia, Europe, Russia, and Czech Republic as well.

This of course is not a complete list of dubious tricks a scammer will use. If in doubt, contact a breeder and ask them their thoughts.

You can also visit this website below to see if the cattery websites are listed. This site only list legitimate savannah cat breeders:

  • http://savannahcatsrus.com

Remember, due diligence is your friend when looking for a new forever fur friend for your home and family

Article written by Gary Fulgham and cannot be copied or used without permission.

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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
No copying or using any of this material without permission