Savannah cats are a new breed that are accepted by The International Cat Association (TICA). Savannahs are a domestic breed originating from initial crosses between the domestic cat and African Serval. The African Serval is a spotted wild cat found in the Savannah grasslands of Africa. The characteristics that make it attractive as an ancestor to this breed are its exotic spotting, its long and lean body, large upstanding ears, exotic face, energy, and personality (sociable, curious, and interactive).
The goal of this breed is to produce a domestic cat with the exotic appearance of the African Serval, with a unique personality derived from the Serval while retaining all relevant domestic cat traits. Savannahs eat domestic cat food (although often preferring a raw diet), faithfully use litterboxes and basically live in your house like any other domestic cat. They may differ in many ways: come when called, fetch toys for hours, go for walks outside on a leash, jump in your bathtub when full of water, insist on showering with you in the morning, and usually are very "helpful" in the kitchen. And, of course, their looks are different: their huge ears, the different shaped eyes, the spots, their walk...
Development of the breed is complicated by a fertility issue: males of the first four generations (approximately) are sterile, but females of all generations can be expected to be fertile. To develop the breed, males from selected outcross breeds (and mixtures of these breeds) are used, and now fifth generation Savannah males are becoming available to be used in breeding future Savannahs!
Servals are amazing creatures, and people are often tempted to get one of their own. They are cute and lovable when kittens, but their mischieviousness and lightning reactivity when full grown animals can make them difficult to live with. We must remember that Servals are still wild animals and need special facilities, nutrition, handling, and attention. It is the hope and goal of the Savannah breeder to give people an alternative to the wild cat, that still fulfills the yearning to have such an exotic-looking cat.
Savannahs are Expensive!
My favorite way to describe the cost of a Savannah is to liken it to flying you and your favorite companion to Paris (from San Francisco in my case) for a week in May staying at a 3 star hotel (minimum). Of course, you get to have the Savannah for years so it is a much better value. This cost is due mainly to the complicated process that goes into making our breed. There is more information on why this breed is so expensive on the FAQ page.