When I am asked to compare generations I realize it is an almost impossible task.
There is no stereotypical f1 or f7 savannah cat.
(If you want to understand what all the "generation" and "F" talk is about check out our What the "F"???? page for an explanation)
So much depends on the quality of cats in the pedigree and the breeds of cats used when developing the savannah breed.
To say that an f1 will be such and such a size and temperament is such a broad generalization and it is unfair to all the f1’s that don’t fall into that description. Also the temperament of a kitten can be 90% environment and 10% heredity so it is hard to even talk about differences as if it were related to filial generations only.
A person can own a 100% full blooded Serval and have a better house pet then someone who is living with an f7 kitten that has never been handled. We have all been exposed to feral kittens that someone has found under their shed, or out in the woods, and they have never been handled and sometimes their parents have never been house pets for a couple of generations. These kittens that were missing the close contact with their human counterparts never become the same pets as kittens that are raised at home and handled frequently and watch tv with the owners and are doted on and played with lovingly, by visitors and family members.
Kittens also learn a lot from their mothers. If they see that mom is relaxed and purring and enjoying humans, they will also. If they see mom using a litter box, they will! If their mom hides in fear every time a human walks by they will learn to fear humans and hide. The kindest owner often cannot change this behavior that is learned early in kittenhood. A cat as it learns to trust it’s owner will change some behaviors but it may still hide under the bed when visitors come to the home or act out at the vet office or be very upset going in the car. They have many fears based on their kitten hood and their most impressionable weeks of growth between 6-14 weeks old.
There are many traits that are common to almost all Savannahs and will be seen in every generation. Savannahs like water! Savannahs are active and playful cats! Savannahs like company and interacting with their owners! Savannahs love to be petted and head butted. Savannahs like toys, other cats, most children and most dogs. Savannahs are usually too rambunctious and clumsy to be around infants. Savannahs are not good with pet birds in the house ! Savannahs will not survive as a free roaming outside cat. Savannahs like to go for walks on a leash. Savannahs will knock things over-especially if they are fragile and valuable. Savannahs will carry things around the house ie their toys, laundry (clean or dirty), stuffed animals, food (not necessarily theirs!), crumpled paper, slippers, pill bottles, key fobs, hats, and even hand tools! Savannahs eat regular cat food. We feed all our cats, including our Servals, high quality dry cat foods with canned food and/or cooked meat added for extra flavor.
So aside from this general description of ALL Savannahs I shall outline here some ideas of different generations and some of the common quirks to try to help you make a decision when looking for the perfect kitten. I am also going to use personality comparisons based on well raised and well loved kittens that are from homes and catteries that spend lots of time with their kittens and expose them to lots of social activities before they leave for their new homes. There are many dysfunctional cats of different breeds from catteries that have not been raised with love and care so I am not going to include their behaviors in this descriptive page as it gives a false impression of what these cats are like. Some websites mention many negative things about the Savannahs.. Especially the f1’ and f2 cats which is just not true. If these people are experiencing these behaviors in Savannah cats it is because of someone’s lack of care and kindness at some point in the cats life.
I have decided not to use too many pictures of different generations as it will mislead you about what a cat from that generation “should” look like. Instead I will just put some random pictures on this page and label them as examples only of different generations.
You can also have a look at this video for 'examples' of cats of various generations
We own two servals and love them to death. Although we adore our Servals and cannot imagine a better pet, we realize they are not a good choice for everyone. Servals are big cats. They can open doors, jump on counters, knock over heavy things and chew their way through almost anything. They use a childs swimming pool as a litter box.
Servals can be prone to blockages because of their chewing habits. Imagine living with a puppy that chews everything, is the size of a lab, and can get onto the counters in an effortless leap. Servals can clear everything off a table, dresser top or fireplace mantel with one sweep of their strong paws. We find this endearing but probably most people would not. They will make sure everything is on the floor and their path is clear and then they look innocently down at the chaos on the ground.
Servals thrive on human interaction. They love to be with their people. They love to be under your feet when you are going up and down the stairs, on top of your keyboard when you are busy updating your website, and when you are sleeping they want to play-play-play. They will pull the covers off the bed, bring you wet toys they have dipped into the aquarium (or worse), and unload your sock drawer
Servals are priced at $5500-$6500
They also can get anything out of your hand. If you are walking around with a sandwich on a plate.. it will be on the floor within seconds of your Serval noticing it. They don’t’ want it. They just want to see it ! They have very strong legs and when they leap up and those two feet grab at what you are holding it will fall !
The Serval then checks it out.. bats at it a bit and then walks away looking for the next source of entertainment.
F1’s-- the half servals.
It would be expected they would have half the Serval personality and half the domestic.. but that is not necessarily true. It will vary from cat to cat. You will certainly see a lot of Serval beauty in the f1 cats. They are stunning looking pets. These will be big cats with the long legs and elegant walk of the Serval. They need a large litter box. We use a doggie litter box but it is pretty big to fit into the average bathroom, so keep this in mind if you are contemplating an f1.They will vary in color somewhat but it is generally accepted that they are ALL beautiful. There is no such thing as an ugly F1 ! These are high priced pets. F1’s range from $8500-$12,000 depending on the pedigree, percentage of Serval in the mother cat, and the appearance and markings of the kitten itself.
F1 Savannahs bond fiercely to their owners. They do not do well if they need to be rehomed. Although they act like you are the center of their universe in truth it is really themselves that is the center of their universe. But you are their source for everything. Affection, food, shelter, and security. They will be lost without that. They want to be with you at all times. They will want to be petted, and adored. They do not like to be picked up and carried around.. but they do like to sleep with you, snuggle with you on the couch, and kiss and nuzzle up close with you.
F1's are intense in everything they do. They play hard, and can be demanding of your attention. 30 minutes of FETCH is just not enough. They will follow you around throwing their toy into your lap or dropping it at your feet until you relent. They have lots of energy and you will want to quit before they do !
Like the servals, they will knock the sandwich off your plate, but they will eat it ! and they usually wait until you are sitting down and not looking and they will quickly swipe it and then take it somewhere private to eat.. like the middle of your bed.
My f1's know when there is chicken in the fridge and they will be relentless about nagging me for it. I dont know how they can smell it through a closed sealed fridge.. but they can ! They will meow-LOUDLY, get under my feet, wake me up in the night, and basically do a Lassie thing to show me what they want! and it is NOT to rescue a child out of a well ! They will keep up this behavoiur for two/three days if necessary. The word "NO" or "LATER" is not understood by F1 Savannahs.
These are intelligent cats and thrive on learning new things. It can be bad things.. or good things. That will be up to you. Our f1’s and servals know basic dog tricks. Fetch, come, sit, shake a paw, kiss, beg and speak. You need to be firm and consistent with an F1. You cannot say one day it is ok to walk on the counter and then the next day that it is not. And even if you are consistent, they will be ready to test your stamina at every turn. And sometimes they pout if you get mad at them ! Be ready for challenges if you want an f1. If you have raised a teenage daughter you will be well prepared for raising an f1 Savannah
F2’s Grandpa is a Serval
Our personal opinion is that this generation is the best overall Savannah for looks, personality and price.
They are still expensive ranging $4500-$5500 but much more reasonable than an f1. Also the f2 kittens can get quite large even outweighing the f1s and they are gorgeous kittens!
The f2’s are an exotic looking cat. There is no doubt that these cats are different than any other breed out there. They are tall spotted cats with large ears, long legs and they usually have that lovely large Serval nose. Although they have some of the strange quirks of the Serval they have enough domestic blood in them to make them pretty easy to live with. They still like to have lots of time with their humans but they are not as needy as the f1’s They don’t pout like the f1’s do and they are not quite as demanding and possessive of their food. Of course these are all generalizations and will vary from one kitten to another.
The f2’s still need an owner that is consistent with house rules. F2’s will like to push their luck with manners and walking on the kitchen counter puts them closer to head butting height with their human friends so it seems like a good idea for them. You will have to be loving, yet firm with them.. but they do learn, and they don’t challenge the rules quite as much as the f1’s. Many f2's enjoy shredding toilet paper and paper towels. See attached video
F3’s I am a Savannah!
Most f3’s are still distinctively Savannah. You should be able to look at an F3 and say .. wow.. that is a Savannah ! If you are unable to do that.. then you will want to question the pedigree. If the cat looks like a Bengal.. then it may have too much Bengal in the pedigree. Basically .. if it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck.. well you know..
The f3’s still have the distinctive look and beauty of the higher generation savannahs, but at this generation you often see the color getting more domestic looking and the kittens are losing their buttery yellow base coat. It depends on the genetics but some cats will have a warm color to the base coat at this generation and you will have a beautiful spotted cat even if it is not the true straw color of the Serval great grandparent. At this generation a lot of the look of the cat is going to depend on the skill of the breeder. What cats are in the background trying to replicate the Serval appearance? At this generation you have a large percentage of domestic compared to the Serval percentage so it is important to have elegant exotic cats as choices in the pedigree if you still want to see a really nice looking cat. These cats will run $2500-$4000
CLICHÉ: you usually get what you pay for
The temperament of the f3 is perfect for doing therapy work, or educational displays. They are striking looking cats that behave well and adapt to new situations. They are also easy going enough to work with other people besides their owner. They will respond well to strangers in your home and could be rehomed --- (but only if you dropped dead and had no other choice of course !)
F4’s I’m a show cat !
The f4 Savannahs are the earliest generation that will be eligible for show status once the Savannahs are accepted and advanced to Championship competition in TICA. (probably 2012)
The size and appearance from one F4 to another will vary enormously. This is something that will change over time as Savannah breeders continue to work on developing our breed. We aim to have cats that are more consistent in appearance, size and type. Right now this is such a new breed that we are seeing a wide variance within our breed and even within our litters. If you are looking for an f4 you need to really do your research and find a breeder that has the look you want in a Savannah for a pet or a breeder. The size and appearance can vary a lot in this generation. Some will get as large as f1’s and others will be smaller than the average domestic cat. F4’s are not as needy for your time and will do better with a workaholic owner than the f1’s and f2’s. They are good pets for families with young children as they are not as large or rambunctious as the earlier generation cats. They are playful and will play fetch with anyone that will indulge them. At this generation if the cat is considered a ‘show cat’ it could run up to $3500. But the range for a pet kitten would normally be $2000-$3000
F5-F7’s I am fertile !
F5 is the first generation that you have a good chance of fertile male kittens. Up to this point the savannah boys are normally sterile. There are some fertile f4’s but not very many of them. Since these F5-F7 boys are now fertile they are in high demand for breeding programs. This will spike the price up on promising young men and a good looking stud cat could be $4000.
Pet kittens that are F5-F7 would normally be $1000-$2000
These kittens will be average sized cats with spotting, large ears, elegant build, and beautiful temperaments. They should be friendly to everyone, outgoing and easy to live with. They will pose no more challenges then the average domestic cat except that they are still very active and playful. They will not be sitting around the house all day watching TV. They will be searching for dust bunnies and playing air guitar on your windows trying to get the birds outside.