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Ocelot vs Savannah Cat: How Are They Different? (With Pictures)

Written by: Patricia Dickson

Last Updated on June 27, 2024 by Catster Editorial Team

Ocelot VS Savannah Cat

Ocelot vs Savannah Cat: How Are They Different? (With Pictures)

The Ocelot and Savannah Cat share several similarities; both cats have a black spotted coat and a tan color. Both are very energetic and love the water, and they require plenty of attention to keep them happy. Despite their similarities, they are two very different types of cats.

Ocelots are incredibly difficult to train due to their wild cat instincts, but training the Savannah is a much easier task. The Savannah traces their heritage back to Africa, while the Ocelot originated in South America. The most striking difference is that one is a domesticated house cat (Savannah), and the other is a jungle-dwelling wild cat (Ocelot).

Yet both are sometimes kept as pets, and if you’re considering adopting one of the cats as your own, keep reading, and we’ll help you decide which is the right pet for you: the Ocelot or the Savannah.

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Visual Differences

side by side Ocelot VS Savannah Cat
Image Credit: Left – COULANGES, Shutterstock | Right – AJR photo, Shutterstock

At a Glance

  • Average height (adult): 16–20 inches
  • Average weight (adult): 24–35 pounds
  • Lifespan: 7–20 years
  • Exercise: 1+ hours a day
  • Grooming needs: Moderate
  • Family-friendly: No
  • Other pet-friendly: No
  • Trainability: Difficult
Savannah Cat
  • Average height (adult): 14–17 inches
  • Average weight (adult): 12–25 pounds
  • Lifespan: 12–20 years
  • Exercise: 30 minutes a day
  • Grooming needs: Low
  • Family-friendly: Yes
  • Other pet-friendly: Often
  • Trainability: Intelligent but stubborn


Ocelot Overview

The Ocelot is a medium-sized wildcat that lives in Central America and northern South America. It’s easily identifiable by their black-spotted tan coat and large eyes.

Even though they are wild animals, some exotic cat enthusiasts own Ocelots as pets. If you want to care for an Ocelot, there’s a lot you need to know. The most important thing to know is that an Ocelot is not domesticated, and it’s a challenging cat to keep as a pet.

Ocelot cat
Featured Image Credit: Tambako The Jaguar, Flickr


Ocelots are challenging to train, and you may need an exotic animal trainer to assist you. They have powerful instincts, some of which are not conducive to a family environment. For instance, Ocelots hunt constantly and do so whether they’re well-fed or not. Because of their desire to hunt, your neighbors’ pets are at risk. Toys and playing can only do so much to keep your Ocelot from hunting, and no matter the training, the instinct will never entirely go away.

On top of that, Ocelots love to mark their scent. They spray everywhere, even where they sleep. You’re Ocelot can be trained out of this behavior, but it’s a very strong instinct. The biggest problem is that Ocelots need to begin training early in their life to reduce their powerful instincts, but that carries its own set of issues.

Ocelots are very needy animals. They love attention and scream when they don’t get it. This neediness only worsens if they’re removed from their mother too early.


Ocelots were once on the endangered species list, which led to regulations regarding the animal’s transport, hunting, selling, and keeping. Thanks to these regulations, the ocelot population began to rise. Eventually, the Ocelot made the list of animals with the least concern; however, the Ocelot population has begun to fall again.

ocelot lying on the grass
Image By: Joel santana Joelfotos, Pixabay

Suitable for:

Ocelots, despite their adorableness, don’t make great pets. They are wild animals, and a suburban home, apartment, or mansion is not a suitable environment. If you want to own one as a pet, first make sure they’re legal in your part of the world.

Alaska and New England have banned them, and some states require you to pay special fees. After figuring out that you can own one, determine if you should own one in your neighborhood. Ocelots are difficult pets, and if you can’t deal with a wild feline in your home, they aren’t for you.

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Savannah Cat Overview

The Savannah is categorized into five generations: F1, F2, F3, F4, and F5. An F1 Savannah Cat has the most Serval DNA, while an F5 has the least. The Savannah was developed by crossing the African Serval with a Siamese cat. The more Serval genetics present in a Savannah Cat, the more expensive they will be. The F1 Savannah is one of the most expensive domestic pets you can buy and one of the tallest.

All five categories of Savannah share similarities. Their black spots decorate their yellow, tan, or brown coats, and they have large ears. A physical characteristic that differs between the categories is the size. They can weigh anywhere from 12 to 25 pounds and have a height of 14 to 17 inches.

Savannah kitten
Image Credit: Kolomenskaya Kseniya, Shutterstock


Savannahs are very friendly and playful. They are also very intelligent, which leads to them being curious and active. Savannahs are energetic felines; they love to play and hardly ever tire. Because of their hyper nature, they need several toys and interactive games to keep them busy and entertained.


Savannah Cats have been described as more dog-like than cat-like. This, combined with their high intelligence, allows them to respond to basic commands easily. However, no matter how dog-like, they are still cats, and training requires patience.

It’s important to start slow and use positive reinforcement and to ensure they stay engaged, limit the sessions to 10 to 15 minutes. Unlike some breeds, you can leash-train your Savannah to walk with a harness, and since they like water, you may be able to convince them to join you at the pool.

savannah cat sitting on couch
Image By: Kolomenskaya Kseniya, Shutterstock

Suitable for:

Savannah cats love attention and are ideally suited to active families. They are loving pets if they get plenty of attention, so if you can’t provide it, a Savannah probably isn’t for you. Savannahs love having other cats or dogs around because it gives them friends to play with, and they’re unlikely to suffer separation anxiety if they stay entertained.

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Which Breed Is Right for You?

Hopefully, this article has helped you decide which of these animals is right for you. Ninety-nine times out of 100, the more suitable pet will be the Savannah since it was bred to be a pet. If you want to own an Ocelot, there’s so much you need to consider. You’ll need to budget for a hefty food bill since they’re wild carnivores, have a large enclosure to keep them in, and you need to keep them away from other neighborhood pets. Although a responsible pet owner may be able to care for an Ocelot without issues, the cat will be happier in their native land.

Featured Image Credit: Left – LucasFZ70, Pixabay | Right – Kolomenskaya Kseniya, Shutterstock

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