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What’s an F4 Savannah Cat? What Are They Like?

Written by: Jordyn Alger

Last Updated on June 7, 2024 by Catster Editorial Team

kitten breed Savannah_Kolomenskaya Kseniya_shutterstock

What’s an F4 Savannah Cat? What Are They Like?

When a Savannah cat is described as an F4 cat, what does that mean? F1, F2, F3, F4, and F5 are markers to determine a cat’s generation. The letter “F” stands for “filial generation,” and the number indicates how many generations the Savannah is removed from their wild serval roots. So, the higher the number, the less serval DNA the Savannah should have. F4 is considered a true Savannah that falls in line with breed expectations.

This article will give an overview of the F4 Savannah, otherwise known as a breed-standard Savannah, so keep reading to learn more.

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The Earliest Records of the Savannah Cat in History

The Savannah cat originated in the United States. This breed is considered relatively new since they were developed in 1986. There are conflicting reports on how the breed began, but it is widely understood that Judee Frank, a cat breeder, agreed to care for a male African Serval temporarily. During this time, the Serval mated with one of Frank’s female Siamese cats. The result was a never-before-seen hybrid.

The owner of the African serval came to pick up both the Serval and the kitten, which was named Savannah. The name stuck and became the title for the entire breed. Savannah (the cat, not the breed) eventually had a kitten with a male Turkish Angora cat. The resulting kittens became the first F2 generation of the Savannah breed. As word of this beautiful feline spread, breeders began to work hard to keep them going. Today, there are Savannah catteries across the globe.

Adult Savannah cat
Image by: Kolomenskaya Kseniya, Shutterstock

How the Savannah Cat Gained Popularity

In a short time, the Savannah grew in popularity. The first F2 Savannah kittens caught the eye of breeders due to their exotic looks. These kittens were soon rehomed to Patrick Kelley, who grew passionate about keeping the breed alive. He teamed up with Joyce Sroufe, a breeder with experience breeding exotic cats.

Sroufe was able to recreate her own F1 Savannah kittens in 1994, and since then, the Savannah breeding efforts have persisted. This breed has grown so popular that in 2012, The International Cat Association (TICA) awarded the Savannah a Championship status, which is the highest honor in the organization.

Formal Recognition of the Savannah Cat

The first attempt to have the Savannah breed officially recognized was in 1996. Kelley, Sroufe, and another breeder, Karen Sausman, put together the first breed standard for Savannahs. They submitted this standard to TICA in hopes of officially acknowledging the breed.

Unfortunately, at the time, admissions for new cat breeds were paused due to internal restructuring at TICA, and the species was dismissed. However, once the reorganization within TICA was completed, the Savannah was resubmitted for consideration. This time, they were accepted as an official breed. As of 2000, the Savannah has been an official cat breed.

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Top 3 Unique Facts About Savannah Cats

To learn about the interesting features of the Savannah cat, take a look at these fun facts.

1. Savannah Cats Love Water

One of the most common cat stereotypes is that they hate water. While this is often true, the Savannah cat goes against the grain. This cat loves water! Their wild Serval ancestry plays a significant role in their love for the water, so you can expect your Savannah to try to join you in the shower or bath anytime they can.

2. Savannah Cats Are Adventurous

Savannah cats are energetic, curious, and intelligent. Unlike most domestic house cats, they won’t be content lazing around most of the day. They need to burn off their energy and satisfy their curiosity. For this reason, you may find your Savannah getting into mischief. Don’t be too surprised if you walk in on your cat opening your cabinet doors!

It’s also not uncommon for the Savannah to climb to the highest spots in the home. You will likely find your cat on top of the refrigerator or walking across the tops of the cabinets. They can jump over 8 feet high, so there are very few places in your home that your Savannah won’t be able to access.

3. Savannah Cats Love to Be Walked

Would you believe that there are cats that like to be walked? The Savannah is one of them!

This cat can be leash-trained and walked outside. It will require some training and patience, but eventually, your Savannah will pick up on it. Chances are, they’ll love to walk, as their adventurous personalities encourage them to try new things.

Does the Savannah Cat Make a Good Pet?

The Savannah cat can be a great pet as long as you know what to expect. They defy all expectations if you anticipate a lazy, low-energy cat. They are athletic and intelligent and always looking for new challenges, and they may become destructive if they are not given an adequate release of their energy and curiosity. It is best to keep breakable items locked away with a Savannah in the home.

These cats are easy to train due to their keen intelligence. Socializing them is important, as they can be wary of strangers. That same wariness is not extended to a Savannah’s family, whom they will shower in affection. Savannahs are remarkably loyal and have a strong desire for companionship. Some people compare their personality to a dog’s. This cat will need weekly brushing and regular nail and dental care to maintain good health.

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The Savannah is a unique and exotic breed. While the F4 is considered the standard Savannah, all the previous generations allowed them to become the incredible cat that they are today. This breed’s affectionate temperament and quirky charm make them a perfect companion for anyone looking for a distinct feline companion.

Featured Image by: Kolomenskaya Kseniya, Shutterstock

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