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Are Savannah Cats Legal in Maryland? Updated Restrictions Across the US

Written by: Jordyn Alger

Last Updated on June 7, 2024 by Catster Editorial Team

Savannah cat sitting on a cat tree

Are Savannah Cats Legal in Maryland? Updated Restrictions Across the US

Savannah cats are large and athletic cats descended from the wild serval cat. They are highly intelligent, open to training,  and incredibly curious. While they can be wary of strangers, when it comes to their owners, they are loving and affectionate.

Despite this cat’s sweet disposition, many places in the United States do not allow people to own Savannah cats. If you live in Maryland and are thinking about adopting a Savannah cat, you are in luck; Maryland allows all generations of Savannah cats as long as they are under 30 pounds.

If you want to know why Savannah cats are often outlawed and what places they are illegal or restricted, keep reading below.

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Why Are Savannah Cats Illegal in Some Places?

As mentioned, the Savannah cat is a descendant of the wild serval. The serval is native to Africa and can reach 24 inches in height and weigh 40 pounds. Servals are adept hunters that can leap 6 feet when chasing prey, making them skilled predators.

For this reason, the Savannah is considered an exotic cat breed that could be dangerous for local wildlife and pets. If it escapes from its house, some fear that the Savannah will harm those in its community when approached. There is also the concern that the Savannah may breed with stray cats, creating exotic hybrid strays that will roam around and overpopulate the city with predators that the local wildlife cannot compete against.

There is also a concern for the serval population. The more popular Savannah cats become, the more likely that servals will be taken from the wild to breed. The more that the servals are captured or killed, the more likely their population is to become extinct.

There are many reasons why some places choose to ban Savannah cats. Although they are not entirely banned in Maryland, there are many states where Savannah cats are prohibited entirely.

Savannah F1 kitten
Image Credit: Kolomenskaya Kseniya, Shutterstock

Places in the United States Where Savannah Cats Are Illegal

If you are considering moving to any of the following states with your Savannah cat, you will need to think again.

  • Georgia
  • Hawaii
  • Nebraska
  • Rhode Island
  • Texas

Texas is the one state that has a unique exception. Certain counties in the state will allow you to own a Savannah cat if you have a license.

Places in the United States Where Savannah Cats Are Restricted

While some states do not outright ban Savannah cats, they may impose restrictions on them. The states that limit Savannah cats are the following.

Alaska Allows Savannah cats F4 and later
Colorado Allows Savannah cats F4 and later except for in the city of Denver, where Savannah cats are illegal
Delaware Allows Savannah cats with a permit
Indiana Some counties require permits, but most of the state allows Savannah cats freely
Iowa Allows Savannah cats F4 and later
Massachusetts Allows Savannah cats F4 and later
New Hampshire Allows Savannah cats F4 and later
New Mexico Some cities require permits, but most of the state allows Savannah cats freely
New York Allows Savannah cats F5 and later except for in the city of New York, where Savannah cats are illegal
Oregon Some cities and counties have restrictions, but most of the state allows Savannah cats freely
Vermont Allows Savannah cats F4 and later
Washington Allows Savannah except for in the city of Seattle, where Savannah cats are illegal

Maryland is also on the list of restricted states since Savannah cats must be under 30 pounds for legal ownership within the state.

Places in the United States Where Savannah Cats Are Legal

Although the Savannah is heavily restricted across the United States, there are also places where you can own a Savannah without worrying over legal obstacles.

  • Alabama
  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • California
  • Connecticut
  • District of Columbia (DC)
  • Florida
  • Idaho
  • Illinois
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Maine
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Mississippi
  • Missouri
  • Montana
  • Nevada
  • New Jersey
  • North Carolina
  • North Dakota
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma
  • Pennsylvania
  • South Carolina
  • South Dakota
  • Tennessee
  • Utah
  • Virginia
  • West Virginia
  • Wisconsin
  • Wyoming
savannah sitting on the couch
Image Credit: Kolomenskaya Kseniya, Shutterstock

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Final Thoughts

Savannah cats are sleek, energetic felines that require experienced owners who can meet their mental and physical needs. If you live in Maryland and your Savannah is under 30 pounds, you have nothing to worry about. There are other states where you would not be able to say the same, so be sure to check local laws before deciding to move with your Savannah to a new area.


Featured Image Credit: AJR photo, Shutterstock

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