How much do Savannah Cats cost and why?

The price of a savannah cats can be as little as $500 to up into the $20,000 plus range. The reason for this huge variation in price is that there are so many different generations, qualities and colors of savannahs. Unlike most cat breeds which are all considered either purebreds or not, savannahs are still in their infancy as a breed and are still offered as Early Generations cats, Later Generation cats and permissible and non permissible for cat show.

The Savannah Breed

Savannahs are a breed based on the hybridization of an African Serval and a domestic cat. The first crossing is the most difficult to produce since the two species are not always compatible, have different gestation periods and are often born premature. Many breeders invest in servals and domestics and attempt breeding them for years with no success. Every F-1 savannah born alive and healthy is a little miracle and as a result are rare and can be very expensive. These are the extreme end of pricing. Since all future generations depend on the subsequent breeding of the F-1 females these cats carry the highest price tags as breeders. Male F-1 savannahs are sterile so are priced as pets only. Female F-1 savannahs are frequently larger than the males at this generation which is also a draw for the high end pet market.

Appearance of Savannah Cats

Many pet buyers are more concerned with appearance and/or size than with the purebred status of the cats. The earlier generation cats usually have the most extreme appearance and the F-2 males are generally the largest of the savannahs. F-2s are the product of breeding an F-1 female to a domestic, usually savannah cat of a later generation where fertility is restored in the breed (F-5 OR f-6). Since F-1 queens are extremely expensive and fertility is limited in many cases F-2 cats generally carry a very high price tag as well. With every generation away from the original hybridization the price tag generally goes down. F-4 is the first generation that can be considered purebred being 4 generations of savannah to savannah breedings. That said very few F-4 cats are actually 4 generations of savannah to savannah breeding since many other breeds are out-crossed to the early generation cats in order to improve the appearance, size or disposition of the subsequent generations. The result of this requires additional identification being the letters often seen in the description of a kitten. “A” cats have an out-cross as a parent, “B” cats have one or more grandparents as an out-cross. “C” cats have one or more great grand parents. The final designation is “SBT” (Stud Book Traditional) All A, B and C cats are considered “Foundation Savannahs” and are registered with TICA. Because breeders are often trying to improve the breed these later out-crosses make wonderful pets, can be exotic in appearance, have most of the attributes of “SBT” cats but carry a lower price tag as they are not eligible for Show.

What Effects the Pricing of Savannah Kittens

Beyond just the simple difficultly in producing a quality healthy pet other factors effect pricing. There are many “Johnny Come Lately ” breeders that see the huge price tags of the Early Generation cats and think they will jump in and make a fortune breeding these very special cats. There are the “Backyard Breeders” that have good intentions but very limited knowledge. There are those who would cheat the legitimate breeders by failing to have cats sold as pets, spayed and neutered and can only offer kitten with “NO PAPERS” since they did not buy the breeding rights to the cats they breed. If a breeder offers a cat with no papers you have no proof you are getting what you are paying for! All of these are fringe operations destined to fail and potentially offer kittens from cats of lesser quality.

Price is not an indication of quality. It is, like all things, market driven. If a breeder can convince a buyer that their kittens are better than another’s they will ask a higher price even though the kittens offered may not be of better quality or even be lesser than those offered at lower prices by others. Price often reflects a breeders overhead costs like Veterinary care, housing, travel etc. Just like any business a breeder must make a profit to stay in business. If their overhead is high then they must charge more for their kittens. Buyers often end up paying more for the location of a breeders operation and cost of labor.

Finding a Quality Savannah Cat Breeder

At Belle Hollow our cats share our home and farm. We are able to keep our costs down by caring for our cats personally, in addition to very reasonable labor rates. We built our facility over a long period of time in a rural setting. Our daughter is a Veterinarian, as is one of my best friends, so we are able to keep our veterinary expenses low and quality high by comparison to other breeders. We charge a fair price for our kittens. We focus on Health and Disposition before any other attributes and as a result we have good fertility levels and happy cats. We cater to the pet market so we do not expend resources on travel to cat shows. All of these combine to allow us to offer kittens at reasonable prices as opposed to some of our competitors. Check out our pricing page on the web site for an indication of what our pricing is like. You may be surprised at how reasonably priced our cats can be. If you are in the market for a savannah of any generation check out our available kittens page, give us a call and see if we can’t help you acquire your new best friend.

How big are Savannah Cats?

KJ F-2 Savannah Cat age 3 weeks

 

This is the most commonly asked question I hear from potential owners. It is also the most often over stated fact regarding the breed. Savannah cats as described in the TICA standard are considered to be a medium sized breed. Savannahs are supposed to have the appearance of the originating wild species, the African Serval. African Servals are a small wild cat but by domestic standards they are pretty large being 25 to 60 pounds. It was never the intent that the domestic hybrid to be a mammoth cat, instead the breed is to take on the appearance attributes of the serval, being long and lean body shape, shorter tail, enlarged ears and a clearly spotted short coat.

Early generation savannahs can be quite large however. F-1 females can be 15 to 18 pounds without being chubby but for the most part the F-2 males get the prize for big cats. F-2 males can range from 12 pound to the mid 20’s with the upper teens being more the average. However no reputable breed can guarantee size of any savannah at any generation. Just like your human children, you can not predict at birth to 1 year how tall your child will be with certainty. Good breeders like to see the larger kittens but do not breed for size since when you breed for a specific breed trait you often get undesirable traits as well. Early Savannah breeders often used a domestic breed, Maine Coon, as foundation cats for the hybrid because of their great size. Unfortunately that also brought some undesirable traits of that breed including a genetic heart defect know as HCM and a heavy frame unlike that of a serval. We still see vestiges of these issues in the savannah breed to this day.

Here at Belle Hollow we strive to produce healthy, social and then beautiful kittens in that order. It does no good to be beautiful or big if you are not healthy and social so our breeding program reflects that mission. We have bred some extraordinarily large F-2 savannah kittens as well as some pretty big F-6 savannahs but we have always strive to work for healthy, social cats first.

If you are looking for just a big cat try looking at a giant breed like Maine Coon. Savannah Cats are so much more than big cats. they are big personalities, intelligent, interactive companions and just all around mischief makers. This is not Gramma’s cat sitting on the end of the couch asleep. Savannahs meet you at the door, are willing, sometimes large, happy playmates and loyal companions.

KJ, F-2 Savannah Cat age 6 years

Egyptian Mau, The original Domestic cat!

This fabulously spotted breed is beautiful both inside and out. Even tempered, intelligent and very pliable, the Egyptian Mau is a true jewel among cats. As humans evolved and began to grow crops these cats evolved to exploit the vermin that plagued our store houses. Self hybridized over thousands of years from various wild African cats only the most social and pliable cats formed the foundation of what we now call Egyptian Mau. These are the cats found in the tombs of the Pharaohs and worshiped as companions and for protection of food stores. There are the very beginnings of all “Domestic” cats. A recent study of the domestic cat’s genome has shown that all current domestic cats have their foundation in the street cats of the Middle East and Fertile Crescent, the very same place early man evolved.

History of the Breed

Almost lost to history, this breed was resurrected in the 1950s from a silver female brought to the US from Europe and then bolstered by additional imports. The street cat of Egypt, their genetic finger print is found in all current domestic cat breeds. Being the only naturally spotted breed, commonly available, it is a foundation cat for most other selectively bred or hybridized spotted breeds. Maus not only add their great spots but their stable, dependable, disposition to the breeds it has help to improve. Stable disposition is a hallmark of the breed. Although each cat has their own personality, as a breed all are born and bred to be pliable amiable companions. They are adaptable, as one would expect, after thousands of years of evolution making them very opportunistic and able to find a niche and thrive in any situation or environment they find themselves in. These personality breed traits are past to many of the spotted breeds they have been used to help found. I like to say you could drop a Mau in the ocean and he would make friends with the fish.

Smart and trainable

A fairly rare breed in the US and Europe they are highly sought after as pets by those who have had contact with them. Extremely intelligent and renowned for their loyal, dog-like personality these cats are loving, social and very trainable. High energy they are not the couch potato many expect in a cat. They meet their owners at the door when they return home, follow them from room to room and stand by closely to give and receive human companionship. So easily trained these cats love to play fetch, walk on leash and are favorites in advertising and movies. As a breed they came into the movie spot light as the companion to “Catwoman’ in the movie by the same name in 2004 with Halle Berry. Popularity of the breed boomed after that and made devoted followers of those who acquire these exceptional cats.

Appearance
Egyptian Maus come to 5 recognized colors. Silver spotted, Bronze Spotted, Smoke spotted, Black and Pewter, only the Silver, bronze and smoke cats are eligible for show but all can be registered. The breed is recognized and a genetic registry is maintained by both CFA (The Cat Fancier’s Association) and TICA (The International Cat Association” along with various lesser known breed registries. All have characteristic “Goose-Berry” green eyes, a melodic voice and an upright forward turning tail resembling a tea pot handle when the cat is happy. They can have a variety of vocalization from melodic meows to chuffs and chirps. Egyptian Maus are the fastest of all domestic cat breeds. They have an exaggerated flap of skin between their belly and back legs allowing them to have an extremely long stride while running. They are athletic and can jump easily from the floor to almost any counter or cabinet top. They enjoy perching above their domain to watch for the next opportunity for play or exploration.

Health

Because this breed is a creation of human free evolution prior to the 1950’s they have very few health issues. Like all cats they can have various conditions but they have an overall strong immune system and suffer a lower percentage of genetic issues. They are selectively bred by responsible breeders for health and personality, not color since they are naturally spotted. Being a “Street Cat” they can survive on a very poor diet and if owners are not careful they can become overweight. Over weight maus are prone toward, bad joints, fatty liver and diabetes so keeping your mau fit is very important.

A true companion animal, beloved for thousands of years, you can’t go wrong with an Egyptian Mau.

Fat Cats!!!!

Fat Cats! PLEASE PLEASE READ THIS ALL

 

I feel it I necessary to remind owners that Egyptian Maus and most cat breeds are “Easy Keepers” (require very little food) as they have evolved as street and feral cats and can live on almost anything. As a result it is very easy for loving, over indulgent owners to create “Fat Cats”.

 

All “Fat Cats” of any breed are at risk for a myriad of horrible health conditions. Just like people can they develop type 2 diabetes, arthritis, fatty liver issues, and accelerated renal failure. A fat cat just like a person is a cat that is 20% or more overweight. That is, if your cat should weigh 8 pounds but weighs 10 it is almost 25% over weight and subject to all the above health issues. More often I hear from owners who’s 8 pound cat weighs 12 pounds (50%) over weight or even more, 16 pounds (100%) over weight. Just think, if your ideal weight is 150 pounds but you weigh 225 how much of an impact that would have on your health or worse still if you weighed 300 pounds!! Now being a rather portly woman myself, I can attest to what it has cost me and my health. As I type this I am recovering from double knee replacement. That joint damage was my own fault and I know it is self inflicted. It is, however, unfair to allow your cat to suffer from an issue that you as an owner can control and prevent entirely.

 

Don’t let your cat get fat or, if he/she already is, put him/her on a diet and get it under control before your cat suffers. It is impossible to explain to your beloved pet that the pain they feel in their joints could have been prevented by a healthy diet. Worse still is having inject your best friend with insulin because you allowed them to destroy their pancreas and they can no longer produce enough insulin.

 

Fat cats die from diabetes, fatty liver disease and pancreatitis. They suffer long painful years with badly worn out joints and slow kidney failure. Fatty liver disease is especially insidious as when the cat’s owner finally decides to put Fluffy on a diet and Fluffy stops eating because they do not like their new food, they rapidly go into liver failure and die in just a few days. Crash diets also kill fat cats. If you put your cat on a diet you must be sure that your fat cat continues to consume a basic level of calories or you could lose your cat in as few as 3 days. Be sure to consult your veterinarian about how to institute an appropriate diet. Never let your fat cat go more then 2 to 3 days without eating!

 

Most commercial cat foods are full of fillers which generally are carbohydrates. Don’t necessarily accept the idea that grain free is better since, in lieu of grain, the food is full of cranberries and sweet potatoes etc. Cats are obligate carnivores; which simply means that they evolved to eat meat and animal body parts only! Commercial foods are designed to in some ways mimic a natural diet by way of processing meat, meat by products and various additives but there is no easy replacement for whole prey (raw dead animals). Because processed meat results in small quantities, (volume) of food, most foods have added carbohydrates for necessary nutrients but also to make a bored cat feel full. That sleepy fat cat on your couch is not how it was evolved to be. Natural cats generally sleep up to 20 hours a day and then spend the other 4 hours hunting for their food. That is 4 hours of serious activity, not walking from their bowl to the bed, to the couch, to the counter top. If your cat does not get 4 hours of activity a day (almost none do) then you need to adjust their diet. There are low carb, higher protein diets available that, if fed in appropriate qualities, can give your cat a healthy diet and insure a long and healthy life. If you are willing to put in a little extra effort, feeding a raw diet is not as complicated as many believe.

 

Feeding raw is not just dumping a chicken thigh is Fuffy’s bowl! Since cats eat whole prey they are unable to create all the nutrients and minerals they need. Many of the amino acids that cats must have to live cannot be synthesized in the cat’s body and must be consumed in their diet. Taurine is found in the blood of their prey, many other nutrients are found in the partially digested gut content of their prey, calcium comes from eating whole bones, etc.  There are excellent supplements available that, when added to raw meat, make a complete diet without adding unnecessary carbs that simply fatten your cat. It is not necessary to grind raw meat or bone. On the contrary most cats prefer to chew their food which means chunks of meat or meat with bone are accepted well and help to keep their teeth clean too. Supplements are simply sprinkled on their meat! Some cats require a slow introduction to raw or lower carbohydrates diets but with a little effort your fat cat can be transitioned to a healthy diet.

 

Many are concerned with raw being a vector of bacteria like listeria or salmonella. Cats have a very acidic gut so they can eat lots of bacteria that would make people very, very ill with no problem. If they are healthy and not immune compromised, they often eat carrion (dead stuff) in the wild. If your cat is permitted to go outside unattended, which we discourage strongly, you can bet they eat really yuck stuff everyday! Most pet food recalls for these type of bacterial contamination are because people handle cat food and people can get sick, not the cats. Feeding raw does mean you need to exercise good hygiene for your own protection. Not just in the handling of the meat, but also in the feces as raw fed cats can shed more virulent bacteria in their feces.

 

In summation, if you love your cat don’t, kill them with kindness. Play with your cat, don’t just feed them. You can control what your cat eats. Exercise good judgment. Cats can’t open cans and over eat without your complicity. Don’t be complicit in your cat’s early demise. Don’t have to explain to your cat why you have to take blood samples and inject them with insulin. Don’t have to stuff pain killers down their throat for those over used, arthritic joints. Don’t deliver your cat every couple of days for fluids as their kidneys fail at an early age. Don’t have to visit in the veterinary hospital as your cat hovers between life and death with fatty liver disease. A proper diet for your pet is easily attained and, although you may think they will resent you not over feeding, they will be happier and healthy for it!

It’s Savannah Mania at Belle Hollow!

We have an amazing selections of available and affordable savannah kittens at this time. F-2s, F-3s and F-6Bs and SBTS and in a rainbow of colors. If you don’t see the kitten you are looking for please Contact us to see if the kitten you desire is not yet posted or if we expect that kitten in the near future!

Shhhhhhh!!

A little bird told me we will be offering 4 stunning little F-2 Savannah babies in the next few weeks.

Are Savannah Cats “other pet” friendly?

I get this question all the time!  Savannah Cats are generally very gregarious in nature and if properly introduced get along well with other pets. As kittens Savannah Cats like all kittens are pretty pliable and will learn to fit into most families and enjoy the companionship of other pets as well as people. That said, you should consider the disposition of the pets you will be introducing your new kitten to.  Dogs, that have never had cat friends, maybe inclined to chase small kittens. Older cats may be a little territorial about having a new kitten invade “their space.”  Talk to your breeder before selecting a new kitten. Sometimes the sex of the new savannah kitten my have an impact on what would make the best match for your home. Take your dog to a friends home who has cats and see how they behave around dog friendly cats. Your new savannah kitten will adapt to your pets, the real question is will your pets adapt to your new kitten?

gunner-and-nyahs-bathsb-800-jpg

How much do Savannahs cost?

That’s a great question! Because savannahs can be Early Generation (F-1 through F-3) or later generations (F-4 through F-8) and come in several standard and many, many non standard colors the pricing can vary greatly.

Generally speaking the closer (lower the number) the kitten is to the African serval the more expensive the kitten. F-1 kittens are very hard to produce, have a high mortality rate from prematurity and require intensive care they are the most expensive of savannahs.  That said the price for a healthy quality pet can vary from breeder to breeder by thousands of dollars.  Here at Belle Hollow we strive to keep our pricing reasonable and our kittens are frequently more affordable than other breeders. We are able to accomplish this by having lower overhead (we already live on a farm), our daughter and my best friend are our two Vets so we are able to keep our veterinary bills in check and we don’t need to make a whole year’s salary on each kitten.

A savannahs price is not necessarily an indicator of quality just an indicator of what a breeder thinks their market will bare. We have seen many, many breeders come and go over the years thinking they could make a huge profit on just a few Early Generation kittens. We are more interested in placing our quality kittens in quality homes and maintaining our excellent reputation, than making a quick buck on a high dollar sale. See our pricing page for our pricing guidelines but keep in mind all kittens are priced according to their individual attributes.

Is a Savannah right for me?

Black on Black savannah kitten

Black on Black savannah kitten

Savannahs are generally a high energy cat. Not your Mom’s couch potato, they enjoy interaction, play and are very intelligent. If you want a “Doglike” pet without the dog, Savannahs maybe the perfect kitten for you. Easily trained, savannahs can walk on a leash, ride in the car, go camping or participate in any activity you introduce them to as kittens. I have bred kittens that live with long haul truckers, run 5K marathons and love to bath with their people. Unlike many fully domestic cat breeds this cat really likes it’s family and is a true companion animal.

F-6SBT Brown Spotted Savannah loves her family's fish!

F-6SBT Brown Spotted Savannah loves her family’s fish!

Merry Christmas and a Blessed New Year

This year comes to close with so many more beloved kittens and their families. We have been blessed to place them in loving homes where we hope they will make their new families lives richer with love and companionship. Stan and I, want to wish all our Belle Hollow families and friends a very Merry Christmas and a Blessed New Year.

Betsy and Stan Whitlock

Belle Hollow 2015

Belle Hollow 2015