Savannah cats are considered to be hypoallergenic. Although no cat is truly hypoallergenic, the Savannah sheds considerably less than most cat breeds. People with severe allergies still should not get any cat as a pet, but the Savannah cat may be a great option for people with mild cat allergies.
If you or anyone you know is thinking of getting a Savannah cat, then keep reading.
What is a Savannah cat?
Tall and elegant, the Savannah cat was first introduced in the 1990s. They are a result of breeding between a Siamese cat and the wild Serval cat of Africa. The breed retains the large perked ears, long legs, and spotted coat of its wild ancestor along with the domestic cat’s friendly demeanor.
First generation crosses (F1 and F2) are generally larger than later crosses and have beautiful spotted coats in a variety of shades of brown, tan, and black.
Savannah cats are fiercely loyal, intelligent, and inquisitive cats, but might not be the best choice for first-time pet owners. Adult cats can grow up to 17 inches tall and weigh 25 pounds, depending on what number generation each cat descends from.
They are still relatively rare. A few states still ban them, depending on the generation, so be sure to check your state’s ordinances before getting one.
Savannah cat appearance
Savannahs have a tall, lean body with a spotted coat. They look like small cheetahs. They are the tallest domestic cat. Though, their height and weight may be dependent on how many generations removed an individual cat is to the Serval cat.
Their coats come in black, black smoke, silver spotted tabby, and brown spotted tabby. Their coat is short and dense which is easy to maintain.
Their eyes are slightly hooded and almond-shaped with a dark tear duct line. Their eye color usually reflects their coat color, but not all the time.
Savannah cat personality
The Savannah cat may not be the best choice if you are looking for a lazy lap cat. They are an active and athletic breed that enjoys jumping on top of furniture. They are often described as more dog-like than cat-like. They love to play in water and will not hesitate in wading into pools or tubs.
Another thing they have in common with dogs is how easy they are to train. They can be taught to walk on a leash.
They are very loyal and love to follow their humans around the house just to be close to them.
They can be wary of strangers if they are not socialized as kittens. If they are socialized properly in their youth, they will do just fine around other pets. They may not be a great choice for families with little children, not necessarily because they might hurt them, but because the combined energy of the cat and children may be too much to handle for parents. It is best to wait until the children are more mature and calm before getting a Savannah.
Are Savannah cats hypoallergenic?
Yes, Savannah cats are considered to be hypoallergenic, in the sense that they are less likely to cause an allergic reaction compared to most other cat breeds. Though, there are several cat breeds that are considered more hypoallergenic than the Savannah. They may not be a good choice of pet for people with severe cat allergies, but they are a good option for those with mild cat allergies.
How much do Savannah cats shed?
Savannah cats do not shed as much as other cat breeds. They shed a lot less than long-haired breeds despite their coat being double-layer. They shed to grow in their winter coats, but it is easy to manage with proper care and the right tool such as a good cat brush. As long as they are brushed once or twice a week and bathed regularly, their dander can be kept under control.
What do I do if I want a Savannah cat but have cat allergies?
Before getting a Savannah cat of your own, try to spend time with the breed. If you have friends with a Savannah cat or if you can locate a breeder near you, ask them if you can spend a few hours physically interacting with both adults and kittens. Note how your body reacts and see if it is even possible to bring one into your home.
Getting a Savannah cat without doing ample research may result in having to rehome the poor cat, so be mindful.
Tips for managing cat allergies
If you have mild cat allergies but are still adamant about getting a Savannah, here are some things you can do to manage your allergies:
Keep your kitty out of the bedroom
One of the first things you should do once you have the cat in your home is to close your bedroom. While it might be hard to resist cuddling with your cat while you sleep, your body will thank you for the break from the allergens.
Make sure to consult with your veterinarian to ensure that you are giving breed-appropriate cat food to your Savannah. Seeing as they are hybrid cats that are part wild Serval, they may need a more protein-rich diet. Giving them food with Omega 3 will also keep their skin and coats healthy. Make sure they have access to fresh, clean water all day to keep them well hydrated.
Vacuum your furniture regularly
Build up a habit of vacuuming your furniture regularly. Concentrate on your cat’s favorite resting spots since those have the most dander. You can use a microfiber cloth to wipe down smooth surfaces like shelves and tables to gather dander and dust more effectively.
Vacuum your furniture as often as you vacuum your carpets and floors.
Consider an air purifier
If you or a family member has severe cat allergies, you may want to invest in an air filter. This will help pull the allergens directly out of the air. This will make breathing easier for you and may greatly reduce the allergen count of your whole home.
Brush your cat’s fur at least once a week to remove loose hairs. If your cat does not like baths, another trick you could try is to use a damp washcloth to wipe down your cat’s fur gently. Allergens such as the Fel D1 protein found in cat’s saliva gets deposited on their fur while they groom themselves. By wiping your cat’s fur off, you will help remove some of those allergens and prevent them from building up.
Wash your hands
Make sure that you wash your hands with soap and water after every physical interaction with your cat. This will prevent allergens from being inhaled if you accidentally touch your face with your hands.
Savannah cats are considered to be hypoallergenic because they shed a lot less than most other cat breeds. They are also lower-range shedders despite their double-layer coat. They may not be ideal for people with severe cat allergies, but they are a great option for people with mild cat allergies.
To manage your allergies make sure you keep your kitty out of the bedroom, vacuum around your home regularly, consider investing in an air purifier, give your cat a breed-appropriate diet, brush and bathe your cat as needed, and wash your hands after every physical interaction.
Image: istockphoto.com / Michel VIARD