Savannahs are a relatively new hybrid cat breed and as such still have relatively wild instincts. They are the largest domestic cat, have boundless energy and a strong desire for attention. It’s easy to see why owners hope they are allowed out to play, so to speak. Is it better to keep this breed indoors?
Can Savannah cats go outside? Savannah cats can go outside but should not be allowed to roam unsupervised. Ideally, you should fully enclose your garden or walk a Savannah cat using a harness and leash. The reasons for this are explained below.
All cats love the outside world but for some, it poses many dangers. A Savannah should be carefully protected from a variety of hazards but also guarded to prevent its natural instincts from causing problems too.
A Savannah cat is an excellent escape artist. It can jump or scale very high fences making it difficult to contain. For this reason, many people don’t risk letting one outside, choosing to create a suitable inside play space instead.
Indoors or outdoors? Which is best for Savannah cats?
As Savannahs are fast cats and great at jumping and climbing, it is probably safer to keep one inside. These days, most cats are kept indoors for safety.
If you are prepared to erect high, sturdy fences in your garden and then add a mesh roof, you will find it difficult to contain a Savannah cat safely.
Safe ways to let a Savannah cat outside
You should never let any cat, Savannahs included, outside without being fully vaccinated. Even under supervision, a cat can still be exposed to something that could cause illness such as parasites, airborne bacteria, and viruses. You never know what other animals have passed through where your cat treads.
Booster vaccinations should be administered annually by your vet. It’s important not to let these slip.
Your cat could be exposed to many parasites whilst outside including:
- Intestinal worms
Speak to your vet about regular treatments to help keep these at bay.
Spay or Neuter
A cat that is spayed or neutered is less likely to roam. It is also, generally calmer.
Always have your cat microchipped. It makes it so much easier to reunite the two of you if the unthinkable happens and your cat escapes. Make sure you keep the microchip company informed of any changes of address or other contact details.
Even in an enclosure, a Savannah cat should be supervised at all times. So make sure you’re prepared to be in the garden at the same time.
There are several ways to create an enclosure:
- Buy a very large catio – For a Savannah, this must be as big as possible to prevent it from feeling cooped up and frustrated. It should also have plenty of shade, somewhere to climb, sleep, eat and toilet.
- Full garden enclosure – Install a high fence around your perimeter and then add a mesh roof. This should be well above your head height so that the space is still suitable for you (and any family you have) as well as your cat. Ensure there are plenty of shady areas and things for your Savannah cat to climb.
- A porch enclosure – if you have a large rear porch with a roof, it is ideal to add a strong mesh fence to this so that you Savannah can have safe access to the outside world.
All of these options require a certain amount of skill and planning. If you don’t feel capable of building one and can’t find a suitable ready-made enclosure, consider having a company build one for you. Your Savannah cat will thank you for it.
Harness and leash
If you begin training a Savannah to wear a harness and walk on a leash as a kitten, you’ll have more success tan suddenly hoping an adult cat will comply. Cat’s often hate the way a leash restricts their natural movements.
It is vital to use a suitable harness that your cat cannot slip out of – it’s never advisable to clip a lead to a cat collar, especially as all cats should have safety collars that snap off with a little pressure.
You may find your Savannah does not take to a harness and leash, in which case you should not force the situation. In the long run, you’ll cause your cat unnecessary stress.
The ideal harness is soft and comfortable with no thin straps to dig into your cat’s body. This Kitty Holster is perfect. Make sure you use a strong leash with a sturdy clip such as a carabiner.
Try to choose quiet areas to walk your Savannah on a leash so that it feels safe. Heading through traffic to a busy park is not ideal.
The dangers of letting a Savannah cat out unsupervised
There are many ways in which a Savannah cat could be endangered if it is allowed to roam free outside.
Jumping and climbing
You may think an 8-foot fence will contain a Savannah cat – but it won’t. You may think you can stop your cat from leaping over a fence but you’ll probably be too slow. Savannah’s are fast and agile. One could scale a fence of 8-foot before you have even blinked.
Savannah cats can also climb over fences taller than 8-foot which is why enclosure rooves are a must.
Cats are always in danger near roads, especially after dark. Many people who let their cats outside make sure they are are in before dark.
As a precaution, ensure your cat wears a reflective safety collar so it has a chance of being seen after dark if it ever should escape.
Certain areas are home to cat predators such as coyotes and bobcats. Even if you have an enclosure you should keep an eye on your Savannah and make sure it’s indoors after dark.
An outdoor cat, especially one as attractive as a Savannah, is at risk of theft. There are some unscrupulous people in this world.
Cats can get distracted and wander for hours, exploring new scents and areas. They may go on the hunt and give chase and then find themselves in unknown territory, unable to find their way home.
There are many hazards in the outside world. Deliberately laid poisons, poisonous plants and decaying animals are all a danger to cats. Things such as antifreeze are highly toxic. An outside cat could encounter any number of these.
Looking like a wild cat can put a Savannah cat in severe danger. People may not realize one is a pet and take a shot at it.
An enriched indoor life is best for Savannah cats
Your Savannah cat is safer indoors, no doubt. Of course, it could easily get bored and unfit. There are certain things you can do to enrich your cat’s indoor environment.
It’s important to give Savannah plenty of space indoors if it cannot go outdoors. Leave as many doors open as possible so it can have room to run about the house to expend energy.
If you have a staircase, allow your Savannah to use it freely.
Buy your Savannah the tallest climbing tree you can fit into your home. Ensure it is sturdy, has places to scratch, climb, perch, sleep and play. The Go Pet Club 72″ Cat Tree provides all of these things.
Plenty of toys
Buy a large selection of cat toys and change them regularly to prevent boredom. A laser pointer is excellent for a Savannah cat to chase.
Play with it
Play with your Savannah every day to encourage it to keep active and fit. Cats benefit from at least 15-minute long play sessions with their owners. Twice a day is ideal.
Can Savannah Cats Go Outside?
Physically, there is no reason not to let a Savannah cat outside. However, it may be a decision you live to regret if it goes missing or gets injured. Providing a safe enclosure or training it to walk on a leash are always safer options. Of course, there’s no place safer than indoors.