As human societies changed from hunter/gatherers to farmers, cats began to take up residence with humans due to the attraction of rodents to the grain supplies that accumulated on farms. Until recently, however, there has been little interest in pedigreed cats, as compared to pedigreed dogs. As more and more humans crowded into cities, modern life styles made it considerably less desireable to keep a dog, especially a large dog. Hence, interest in new and larger cat breeds has increased dramatically. Unlike dogs, cats do not require daily walks, and are, therefore, more convenient as pets for dual working households and/or those living in apartments.Description:The overall impression of the Savannah is a tall, lean, graceful cat with striking, large black spots and other bold markings on a luxurious tawny, gold, orange, silver, black or black smoke background. The cat is a replica of the tall, lean, muscular Serval cat of the African plains fromwhich it originated. Affectionate and outgoing, with exceptionally long neck, legs, and ears, as well as a medium length tail, the Savannah is both unusual and beautiful. The Savannah is an exceptioonally graceful, well-balanced cat with striking color and pattern.The most distinguishing features of the Savannah are those that are inherited from its Serval ancestors. Its ears are quite large, are set high on the head, and are close together. Light colored horizonal bars (ocelli) on the back of the ears are very desireable. The eyes are set beneath a slightly hooded brow, with dark ?tear stain?markings running vertically between the eye and the nose. The head is small, in comparison to the body, and is triangular in shape. The Savannah?s body tends to be long and lean, yet quite muscular. This breed has exceptioonally long legs, ? length tails, and a coat that is medium in length with a slightly coarse feel to it.The pattern consists of bold, dark brown to black spots that can be round, oval or elongated. A series of parallel stripes emanate from the back of the head to just over the shoulder blades, where they fan out over the back, breaking up into spots as they move horizontally along the back towards the tail. Smal spots or ?speckles? will be found on the feet, as well as the face of the Savannah.The Savannah is probably the largest domestic breed of cat, not so much with respect to weight, but rather in stature. This breed, when fully mature, can easily stand as tall as 15-18 inches at the shoulders, with its weight ranging between 17-25 pounds.
In the mid 1980?s, Judee Frank, a Pennsylvania cat fancier, was given an African Serval cub to keep for a friend. This Serval cub was raised with domestic mixed-breed kittens, and at the approximate age of 2 years, sired a single kitten out of one of the domestic females. Since Servals tend to bond closely with the person who raises them, the owner of the Serval cub decided to take possession of the kitten, rather than reclaiming the Serval male. This kitten was named ?Savannah?, and went on to produce a litter of kittens sired by a Turkish Angora. Unfortunately, Savannah never ended up getting pregnant again. However, this initial cross received the attention of other breeders who went on to duplicate this hybrid breeding. The breed adopted the name of the first kitten produced, and has been called ?the Savannah Cat? ever since. Today, there are over 40 breeders working on this breed, but less than 200 cats registered with The International Cat Association (TICA). In 1996, a few of the early Savannah breeders submitted the Savannah Standard to TICA. However, due to a moratorium on new breeds, the Savannah was not granted new breed status, at that time.In January of 2000, a small group of Savannah breeders joined together to form the Savannah International Member and Breeder Association (SIMBA). It was through the efforts of this dedicated group of breeders, that the Savannah was finally accepted in September of 2000, for registration status, as a new breed, by TICA.Through the efforts of SIMBA, the Savannnah cat gained Evaluation status within TICA in May of 2002, thus enabling this noble breed to gain entry into the show halls of TICA throughout the world.
The Savaannah is confident, alert, curious, friendly, and affectionate. It is very ?puppy-like? in its approach to life, ever playful, and full of energy. It will retrieve, loves water, and can learn to walk on a leash. These cats are quite vocal, but their ?meow? is not that of a typical cat, and may sound as if the cat is ?complaining?. Any evidence of a challenging disposition, however, is grounds for immediate disqualification from a show.
Arden Morley, Vice President of the Savannah International Member and Breeder Association. - Arden Morley can be reached through her cattery at Camelottaspots