An article at Daily Mail states that pound-for-pound cats are better at hunting than tigers! Domesticated cats are good hunters, nevertheless. But when we have a Savannah, who is a hybrid between a domesticated cat and a wild African Serval – does their trait make them exceptionally good hunters?
The answer is a resounding yes – Savannahs are good hunters, getting the best of both worlds from the genes of African Serval and domesticated cat. F1-F3 generations of Savannahs retain more of their wild gene and physical features of African Serval. Hence, they are better and more aggressive hunters than F4 and beyond.
Now, these hunting skills can be a boon and a bane for their pet parents. If their hunting needs are not satisfied, an indoor-bound Savannah can get bored and aggressive. How do we solve this issue?
1. Features That Makes Savannahs Good Hunters
Savannah’s endowed physical features are passed down from African Servals. The only thing that they get from their domesticated parent is their tamable temperament.
This combination makes them fit to be a pet while retaining their exotic and active physical features.
Savannah cats have long back legs than their front legs, making them an excellent jumper. They can stand on their hind legs to jump as high as 8-11 feet.
This makes them adept in hunting preys both large and small – even flying ones and those in the burrows.
If we observe the hunting skills of an African Serval in a wild setting, we can know a lot more about our very own Savannahs. African Servals are successful in half of their attempts at hunting.
Their success rate ranges from 50%-62%, which jumps their rank in being the most efficient hunters, even better than a cheetah! Their average number of kills in a 24-hour time is 15-16 preys.
African Servals also have a good ultrasonic hearing.
Their hunting strategy is generally taking a giant leap on their target and biting its neck while it is trapped under their front paws. This makes the job more efficient and quick. These same traits are passed down to a Savannah, be it of any generation.
Do yourself a favor: have a look at the video below of two Savannah cats (F5) hunting. Their focus, dedication, and their movement are just fascinating.
2. Wildness And Hunting Behavior – Understanding Their Generational Gap
Every Savannah is distinguished by their filial generation number. It starts from F1 (filial generation 1) to F6 or even F8 in some cases.
The F1-F3 generations of Savannahs retain most of their wild genes and are considered wild in some states. F4-F6/F8 are considered to be more domestic.
The first litter that we get after we breed an African Serval with a domesticated cat is of the F1 generation. They will have 50% of the wild gene in them.
When these F1 generation cats will mate with another set of domesticated cats, they will reproduce the F2 generation of Savannahs. They will have 30%-25% of their wild genes.
This cycle will go on and on till we get F6 or F8 generation of Savannahs. As we leap forward in the generation, their wild temperament and genes start to become less and less dominant.
This will only leave us with Savannahs that have retained some of the physical features of a Serval and has the obedience of a domesticated cat.
Also, it is important to note that F1 to F3 generations of Savannahs are generally bigger in size. Moving forward from F3 generation, we can notice their size is reduced, as they breed further. So an F1 generation of Savannah is bigger than an F6 generation of Savannah.
3. What Happens If They Can't Hunt?
The pros of having a Savannah are that they are highly intelligent, quick-witted, and entertaining. Being obedient is not their best streak, especially when we talk about F1 to F3 generations of Savannah.
From F4 to further, they exhibit more trainable temperament. Nevertheless, they all are prone to get bored!
If you cannot provide them a mentally and physically stimulating environment, they will start to show aggressive behavior. Aggression is more evident in F1 to F3 generations than the others when bored.
Others might retort to destructive behavior to entertain themselves. That is why it is important to be up for this challenge when adopting a Savannah.
If you have ample of time, patience, and energy, with a knack to handle some wildness, then F1 to F3 Savannah cats will be ideal for you.
But if you have a lack of sufficient time, patience, or energy to deal with a hyperactive Savannah, then F4 to further generations will suit you best.
From taking them out on a leash, playing fetch to keeping them entertained with toys, it all works for a Savannah! You can invest in sturdy and entertaining toys such as remote control ones made with durable material or even a fishing pole toy to keep them jumping around.
4. Do Savannah Cat's Hunt Smaller Children Of The Family?
It is advised that you keep the F1-F3 generation of Savannahs away from a household with kids. They are not dangerous per se but they still have some unpredictable temperament.
These Savannahs usually are very territorial and have a need to hunt. If you have babies and small kids, keep them away from these cats.
This is not the same case when we talk about F4 to F8 generation of cats. They are friendlier and social. Also, they tend to be more trainable and tamable. They fit the best with people who have kids and babies. They tend to be of smaller size than F1-F3 generations.
However, it is important to note that every Savannah wants to feel included and entertained. A bored and ignored Savannah will look like a sorry state of affair.
5. Could A Savannah Hunt Other Pets In The Household?
Savannahs have dog-like qualities when it comes to being friendly, playing fetch, swimming, and being leash-trained. They will do well with dogs. You only have to make sure that the dog you have has an equal temperament and energy level as Savannah.
When it comes to cats, Savannahs do well with other cats too. However, bigger ones such as F1-F3 generation of cats tend to chase away or irritate smaller and low-activity cat. Make sure to match their temperaments before you adopt a Savannah or another cat.
Savannahs are not compatible with smaller prey animals such as rodents, reptiles, hamsters, and birds. They will get curious and will try their hand on catching them just for fun.
This will be traumatizing and deadly for smaller pets. Keep them away from smaller animals or you can avoid having a Savannah for your home.
Will Savannah cats run away? Yes, Savannahs are curious by nature and hence, shouldn’t be let out without a leash. They are supposed to be indoors, as they are oblivious to the wild or a city setting, which can be dangerous for them. From cars to wild animals, all pose a danger for a Savannah.
Are Savannah cats dangerous? No, most of the Savannah cats are not dangerous. However, F1-F3 still have their wild gene dominant in their blood. This makes their temperament a little unpredictable and aggressive. But they do not pose a threat as a feral animal.
How high can Savannah cats jump? A Savannah cat can jump as high as 8 feet (2.5m) from a standing position. This makes them excellent at jumping over your cabinets, refrigerators, or pawing off a treat from your hand. This trait makes them a good hunter and also a notorious cat.