The infamous Savannah cat is really rather rare. You could go through your whole life without ever encountering one. Many consider them to be an unusual breed which has some slightly different requirements than your conventional cat. They have often been mistaken for large, wild cats and this isn’t just down to how they look – but how they act.
It’s always a good thing to do research before possibly looking at acquiring a pet. If this is the case for you then I applaud you – too many people just jump in head-first and buy without understanding what they are really buying into. Often, the consequences are an inability to be able to deal with their specific requirements and they are returned or abandoned. The Savannah cat is one just animal where special care and attention is most definitely required.
One aspect that people seem concerned about is the personality of the Savannah cat – which brings me to the following question…
Are Savannah cats dangerous? No, the Savannah cat is not considered as dangerous to humans. It is slightly larger than your average cat but it has a very gentle and fun temperament. However, it is a hunter and will often kill small prey if given the opportunity.
Is the Savannah cat different to other cats?
Many people may just skip this section as they already know the answer – these are the people who have already encountered a Savannah and therefore know the answer. Yes, the Savannah cat is different from other cats. I know each cat, whatever the breed, has different personalities but there are distinct differences that the Savannah has that puts it in a different place to other felines.
First, we have the physical differences. The Savannah can be a big cat and has an appearance that (as I said in the introduction) has been mistaken for a wild cat on more than one occasion. It doesn’t have the variety of colors that are often seen in other breeds and is most likely found in silver, black or brown.
Then there’s the Savannah cat’s personality. If you think you can treat one the same as any other cat then I’m afraid to say you will be mistaken. For instance, whereas most cats will wander outside and come back after a couple of hours the Savannah may wander outside…and carry on wandering. You see, it doesn’t need us. Yes, we can make life easier for them and (arguably) give them a nicer life – but if all humans suddenly disappeared from existence I somehow think the Savannah would do just fine. So, because of this – if you want to keep one, you need to do things differently. However, that’s not the point of this article and actually could accommodate an article all of its own!
What risks are there with having a Savannah cat?
Well, there’s a risk you’re going to lose it if it’s not contained somehow but that’s not what we’re talking about here. Are there any risks to your health in owning a Savannah? Here, we can look at similarities between your conventional moggy and the Savannah cat.
Because, really – how much harm can this cat do? Actually, the only harm it will ever do is to your heart – if it manages to escape from your property or when its days are finally up. I guess we could also say there’s a risk to your finances as depending on what breed-quality you choose, it will cost you several thousand dollars. Although insurance for your cat is always recommended, fortunately, though the Savannah isn’t known for any serious genetic problems so, if you’re lucky, you should have a healthy cat until older age.
So, to answer the question – there are no more risks to having the Savannah cat than any other cat.
How can I calm my Savannah cat down?
Firstly, and most importantly – the Savannah shouldn’t be left to play outside. Unless it is an enclosed area, they will leave your property and you may never see them again. Why am I mentioning this? Because, if you keep your cat enclosed in a small closed area, it will become stressed and anxious. So, we can’t let them outside and we can’t keep them cooped up inside – what do we do about this?
It’s called a happy-compromise. You need a space inside that’s big enough for them to run around and play. Ideally, outside you will have a sealed-off area where they can still be outside and play – but can’t escape.
Back to my question though, how can you calm a Savannah cat down if it is showing signs of anxiety or stress? Firstly, you could take a look at the article I wrote just about this. There are some simple things that you (and your family) can do to help keep them calm though, let me give you some examples:
- Be calm yourself – try not to make sudden movements around your cat or make sudden movements.
- Don’t stare at your cat – in fact, when you look at them you should blink, very slowly – followed by a yawn. This actually sends a signal to your Savannah (or any cat) that you are not a threat – staring at them without blinking may send the opposite signal.
- Get down on their level – you’re going to like this one. When next to them, flip over to your back and put your hands and feet in the air! Yes, you’re going to feel (and definitely look) stupid. But, you may have noticed they do this to you sometimes when you enter a room where they are in. It’s a sign that they trust you (not an invitation to tickle their tummies!). Give it a go – you’ll see them relax in front of you.
Apart from the above (and do check out my article all about this as I mentioned above) – regular feeding times and lots of affection. Often, kids can present a problem as they just don’t seem to ‘get it’. Educate them on the importance of how to act in front of your Savannah and teach them that they are not toys/dolls to be prodded with.
How dangerous can cats be?
Cat’s (at least domestic cats) are not dangerous, typically. However, common sense here needs to apply. You should never leave a cat alone with a baby/toddler. This isn’t because the cat is suddenly going to pounce on the baby as soon as your back is turned! This is because humans at this age usually don’t understand about animals and what they can and can’t do. If they start prodding them or pulling their tails the cat may think it is in danger and will try to protect themselves. Often, this results in just a friendly little nip or a little swipe – but it’s not worth putting the small-human (or the Savannah) in this position.
So, the Savannah is not dangerous to humans. Yes, they are a little bigger than your average cat but they have a very gentle, fun personality and it is just not in their nature to try and hunt/attack us.
The same can not be said of smaller prey. In fact, if you are a mouse or something else of similar size – then firstly, well done for managing to learn English – good work. Yes, the Savannah can be dangerous to animals smaller than it. It won’t be trying to eat them typically though – just to play with them!
Why are some cats more dangerous than others?
Actually, they are not. At least, if we’re talking about domesticated cats then none of them are classed as dangerous, regardless of what you might read on the internet! The only cats that are dangerous are the big ones that roar and as cool as it would be for the Savannah to be able to do this – they physically can’t.
Yes, some cats can be more likely to lash out than other cats but nine times out of ten, this is down to its upbringing and owners, not the cat itself. If it has been mistreated and is wary of us humans then it will be in constant fear for its safety. The worst that will happen though if your cat does lash out will be some scratches or some bite marks – we can hardly define this as being dangerous.
If you do have a cat that is more prone to do this then you need to look at the things you and your family is doing and how you can correct them – rather than looking at your cat.
Just because the Savannah cat is slightly bigger than your average cat does not make it any more dangerous than any other cat. If you treat them how you should (and if you’re seriously looking at a Savannah cat then it should be assumed you know all about cats) then you won’t have any problems.
The Savannah is a stunning cat, both physically and personality-wise but to own one is not a straight forward proposition. You have to look at the cat and understand that its requirements are different from others. You have to be prepared to admit that if you can’t accommodate its very specific requirements that there are many other breeds of feline cat that you could look at. For instance, have you looked at the Maine Coon?