Bengal and Savannah cats both come from crossbreeding a domestic cat with a wild cat. They might even look the same to the untrained eye. But these majestic creatures have numerous differences that will be vital when you are choosing which of the two breeds to add to your home.
If you want to know more about the similarities and differences between the Bengal cat and the Savannah cat, keep on reading.
What is a Savannah cat?
A Savannah cat is an exotic-looking hybrid between a wild Serval cat and a common domestic cat. Serval cats come from Africa. They fall into the medium range of size when compared to other wild cats. Servals have long bodies and limbs that give them a distinct look. They have large ears, small heads, and golden coats with spots.
People really wanted to make Servals pets, so in 1986, the Savannah cat was bred.
Savannah cats can have different coat colors and patterns, but must always have the required spotted coat. They are slim and lanky with large ears, and are bigger than most cat breeds. They do not weigh much more than regular house cats. Savannah cats that are more closely related to the Serval, like the first or second generation, tend to be larger than their descendants. Male Savannah cats can weigh up to 20 pounds and stand 18 inches tall.
What is a Bengal cat?
Bengal cats are the result of breeding a domestic cat with the Asian leopard cat. This combination creates a hybrid with a gorgeous coat that has leopard-like spots.
The Bengal was first bred in 1963 by activist and breeder Jean Mill. The very first Bengal had a black, male domestic tomcat for a father and a female Asian leopard cat for a mother.
Bengals gained popularity in the 80s and 90s as a household breed because of their charming personalities and beautiful coats. They are noted for their long, athletic bodies; high cheekbones; rounded ears; and rounded eyes.
Similarities between the Bengal and Savannah
1. Both breeds are athletic.
Bengal and Savannah cats can both jump three times their height. They have extremely high energy levels and need to be given plenty of opportunity to burn it off. If they do not have the appropriate room to run, climb, and explore, they may become anxious and listless.
Both breeds love interactive toys that will let them show off their athletic prowess, so if you plan on getting either breed make sure you will be able to devote time to keeping them active.
2. They are both curious.
Bengal and Savannah cats are both mischievous, just like most highly intelligent breeds. If you close a door on these cats, they will figure out how to open it.
Bengal and Savannah owners are familiar with cat-proofing. These safeguards are needed with these two breeds because they will get into any enclosed space they can find. Putting a safety latch on anything with a door in your house may be necessary.
3. They both love water.
Most cats abhor water and avoid it at all costs. These two breeds can’t seem to get enough of it. This trait is one they share with their wild ancestors. This sets them apart from other cats because they exhibit a love for water rather than a fear of it.
It also helps when they are introduced to water at an early age. When they become accustomed to water, you might even catch them joining you in the shower to play in the water.
4. They both love the outdoors.
While neither breed should be allowed outside without supervision, as it may be dangerous for them and other animals, both breeds can be trained to go on walks on a leash. This will take care of the bulk of the cat’s exercise for the day while also satisfying their desire to explore. Leash training them from an early age is ideal for acclimation.
5. They both do not shed much.
Savannahs have a typical double layer of fur that does not shed as much as regular cats, while Bengals have a single layer of silky fur that also sheds minimally.
Both breeds still require regular grooming, but owners will find that they will not have to vacuum as frequently as with other cats. Bathing them is not necessary unless they roll in something dirty or smelly, but if you get them used to baths from an early age, it will be a breeze.
6. They are both talkative.
Both breeds are known for being quite vocal. They will not be shy to tell you when they need something from you, or if they just want to talk.
Differences between the Bengal and Savannah
The genetics of these two breeds are only half similar, so even though they have quite a lot in common, they also have several differences. These differences are what makes these cats have their own quirks.
1. Bengals are smaller than Savannahs.
The Asian leopard cat is smaller than the Serval cat. This is why Bengals are closer to the size of a regular house cat than a Serval is.
Savannahs are considered one of the largest breeds of cats, along with Maine Coon cats and Norwegian Forest cats. This is why some cat owners decide that Savannahs might not be the right cat for them, especially if they live in a smaller home.
2. Savannah cats are wilder than Bengal cats.
Because Savannah cats are a much newer breed, the ones that are sold as pets have a higher concentration of their wild ancestor’s genetics. They will have qualities that are more akin to the Serval than the domestic cat. This is a plus for some cat owners because it makes the Savannah cat more dog-like (meaning they are loyal and will tend to follow you around).
Bengals have a higher degree of house cat genes which makes them display more domesticity. They will want to cuddle more, while the Savannah cat prefers other ways of showing affection.
3. Their markings and colorings differ.
Both breeds have a wide range of possible colors, from brown to silver. The most obvious difference in their coats are their markings. Savannah cats have dark spots that are similar to Servals, while Bengals can either have rosettes, which are large blooms of color on their base coat, or marbling, which is a swirling pattern that covers their fur.
4. Savannah cats are more expensive.
A Savannah cat can cost up to $20,000 if it comes from the highest quality breeder. This breed is rarer than the Bengal which explains how expensive they can be.
Bengals from the highest quality breeder can run you $10,000, which, while not as costly as the Savannah, is still very expensive.
You can find breeders that sell both cats at lower prices, but make sure that the breeder is highly-rated.
Bengal and Savannah cats are both hybrid cats that are one half domestic house cat and one half wild cat.
Savannahs are large, active cats that are more dog-like than the typical cat. They are friendly and curious. Bengals, on the other hand, are closer in size and temperament to the regular house cat.
Both breeds require a lot of attention, especially since they are very active. You need to provide them with interactive toys and to walk them everyday to expend all of their energy.
Whichever breed you choose, you are going home with a special cat that is loyal and loving.
Image: istockphoto.com / kazanlena