Do Savannah Cats Purr?


The Savannah cat is a special animal. It is in an informal category all of its own in the domesticated cat family, quite unique in so many ways. The fact that we can call it ‘domesticated’ is actually a point of contention in itself as there are still many places (including some US states) where this breed of cat is actually banned.

Buying a Savannah cat isn’t something that one just goes out and does. You won’t find them at a rescue center and it’s entirely possible that you can live your whole life without ever encountering one. They are quite rare and because of this, they can be extremely expensive to buy. The Savannah cat is also more difficult to look after than most of your regular breeds.

With the above said, exactly how different is the Savannah from other cats? For instance, one question that is often asked is about its vocal ability…

Do Savannah cats purr? Yes, the Savannah cat is very vocal and will purr at any opportunity. The Savannah is one of the most vocal cats that can be domesticated.

How do Savannah cats differ from other cats?

This question in itself is probably worthy of a whole article dedicated to it. As any owner will appreciate, the Savannah cat is in its own league. The Savannah is:

  • Expensive – due to breeding complexities, this is not a cheap cat to buy. Depending on its breed profile, you will pay anything from $1,000 to $20,000.
  • Usually Large – weighing up to around 20 lbs, this can (and will most likely be) a big cat. Many are bigger than even the notorious Maine Coon! Often, this can be a problem as they have been mistaken for ‘big cats’ before.
  • Likely to live for a long time – I’m making them sound rather like something you’d buy from the supermarket here but the Savannah cat can live up to around 20 years of age.
  • Most likely Healthy – the Savannah isn’t known for having any major health problems.
  • Definitely Playful – you will find the Savannah cat will play from the moment they arrive into your (err their) home to very late in life. Life, for this cat, is full of opportunities to have fun.
  • Definitely Different – for those people who transition from a normal domesticated cat to a Savannah, you will notice many differences in their personality. They are a breed that should be reserved for the professional owner only!
Does the Savannah cat purr?

There are many others. The point I wanted to make here is that the Savannah is no ordinary cat. They don’t look like an ordinary cat and they don’t act like one. Also, I reckon they know it.

What makes cats purr?

Did you know that perhaps one of the less obvious differences between domesticated cats and the large, wild cat family such as Tigers, Lions, etc. is related to purring? You can’t get a cat that can both purr and roar. Big cats, like the Lion, Jaguar, Tiger, etc. can all roar – so they can’t purr. Domesticated cats, as we know, purr – so they can’t roar. Although, wouldn’t it be awesome if they could! Can you imagine being woken up by your little furball in the morning by a 100-decibel roar? Purring isn’t just limited to our domesticated friends though, also Bobcats, the lynx, and others will also purr if happy.

Why can’t the big cats purr though? Well, in these animals there is a bone that is found in smaller cats that is instead a ligament with these larger cats. It is possible that this ligament can be stretched which, in turn, creates a bigger passage that can produce more sound. This enables them to have a wider range of vocal pitches available to them. The deep sound that you associate with the ‘roar’ sound is caused by more fleshy vocal cords than are found in smaller cats.

How does the Savannah cat tell you it’s happy?

In the above, I’ve explained how different the Savannah cat is from other domesticated felines. However, at least in one regard, they are similar. When they are happy, you will be able to easily tell as the signs are the same as for other cats.

Obviously, purring will be an indicator, although many people don’t realize that purring isn’t always associated with just a happy cat – it can also be down to illness, although fortunately, this is quite rare.

Does the Savannah cat purr?

Other ways are more in their mannerisms. For instance, rubbing themselves against you (putting their scent on you) or pushing their head into you. Also, you may notice that when you enter a room where they are already present, they may choose to roll onto their back. This is a sign that they feel absolutely comfortable in your company. It is not, I repeat not an invitation for you to ticket their tummy’s. With any cat, this is an easy way to get a claw sandwich with your hand being the meat in the middle. With the Savannah, things are always just a little more painful though…

What other sounds does the Savannah make?

The Savannah cat is known for being vocal. In fact, it will feel like you are having a conversation with her. She will greet you when she comes into the same room as you. She will tell you when she wants to play and she will tell you when you need to feed her.

It isn’t all about meowing though. The Savannah can make some very unusual sounds and not just during the day. Don’t be surprised when she comes running up the stairs at 3 am on a Tuesday with some very important news that requires your immediate attention!

Another vocal trait of the Savannah is to hiss a lot more than other cats. Typically, if your average cat hissed it would be because they felt extremely threatened or were hurt. This isn’t the case with the Savannah though. I’m sure they, themselves, know why they are doing it but it certainly isn’t always obvious to me! Sometimes they just get a bit too excited I think. Interestingly, the hissing derives from their ancestors who used the sound to scare off predators. Some believe that they make this sound because it sounds like a snake, hissing – I think this is just a coincidence though!

Summary

If you are in any doubt as to whether the Savannah purrs or not, just spend five minutes with one and you’ll soon find your answer. Typically, the Savannah is an incredibly happy, sociable cat and it will find ways to keep itself happy. However, the more you can interact with her, the happier she will be.

One last thing though about the Savannah – be careful before you jump in headfirst. This is an expensive cat to buy and to keep. It will also cost you a lot of your time (and your family’s time), not that this is a bad thing! However, be warned – very few owners are able to jump from a Savannah to any other breed of cat and so, therefore – you may have to forego some of the luxuries in life (such as nice cars) in favor of her!

Matt

I'm Matt Pettitt, joint founder of the Pets Knowledge Base alongside my wife, Jane. Since I was just 2 years of age I've had pets in my life - which I don't mind admitting is 47 years! I strongly believe that when you introduce a pet into your family you should do everything you can to give it the best life possible. I've learned a lot during the past (almost) five decades and this blog gives me a medium to share everything I have learned ( both good and bad) about pets. If you'd like to know more about us, and how to contact us - take a look at our About page here!

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