The idea of a pet tiger, cheetah, or lion isn't a new one but it is definitely an impractical one. But people who are in love with the big cats thankfully have a more practical option if they want a pet with that exotic look by getting a pet Savannah cat instead.
Savannah Cat Characteristics
This medium sized cat is known for it's large ears and resemblance to a cheetah (although the patterning can vary depending on what kind of domestic cat was bred with the Serval). They are excellent jumpers (always keep them in a harness) and are also considered the largest of all domesticated cats.
When standing, the hind end of the Savannah is usually higher than the front end but all four legs are very long in proportion to the rest of their body. They have small heads with their obvious large ears and other traits that will vary from generation to generation with the F1's (first generation) being the most "wild" looking.
Today most Savannah cat breeders breed a Savannah to a Savannah or a Serval to a Savannah and prefer not to use other domestic cat breeds. In order to qualify with TICA as a purebred Savannah cat the cat must be four generations removed from the Serval ancestor (F4).
Feeding Savannah Cats
Savannah cats should be fed a grain free cat food. Some owners and breeders prefer a more natural Serval diet for their Savannah's and feed raw meat (rabbit is a favorite of Savannah's), vegetables, and use supplements in place of the formulated diet. But whether you choose a dry, wet, or raw food diet (be it canned, frozen, etc.), make sure it is balanced with vitamins, minerals, and taurine.
There are several brands of cat food that appropriate for pet Savannah's including EVO, Taste of the Wild, Primal, and other grain free diet formulated for high energy cats.
Savannah Cat Health and Diseases
Savannah's are prone to any and all diseases that other cats get and they need the same vaccines that other domesticated cats require (Rhinotracheitis, Calicivirus, Panleukopenia, and Rabies are the current core vaccines). But there are of course some diseases that pure bred cats get more frequently than mixed breed cats.
Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) is prevalent in all pure bred cats, not specifically Savannah's, but should be monitored for regardless. Testing is available but is not able to detect all HCM in cats. Therefore feeding a balanced diet with appropriate levels of taurine in it is crucial to health of your cat's heart.
Getting a Savannah Cat
There are a number of reputable Savannah cat breeders out there but you should be prepared before bringing one home. Find out what kind of food the breeder feeds, if they've tested for HCM, what vaccines they've already had, and what generation of Savannah is the cat you are looking to purchase or adopt (F1, F2, F3, etc.). Next, make sure there is a veterinarian near you who will treat your wild looking cat (some vets will not see hybrids) and get your new cat a quality cloth harness specifically made for cats (they are very quick, agile, and excellent jumpers).
While Savannah cats are considered a domestic breed, some cities, states, and countries have laws and regulations against owning a hybrid cat breed. Therefore, check your local laws before acquiring a beautiful Savannah cat.