Have you ever seen those amazing Savannah cats, which are a cross between African Servals and the domestic cat? They are larger than normal cats, have cheetah-like markings, and look absolutely extraordinary. If you’ve ever come across one, you might be wondering, “are Savannah cats dangerous to humans?”
Are Savannah Cats Dangerous?
The answer is not really, no. You might see slightly more aggression than in the average house cat, and they can probably do a little more damage because they are larger, but it is unlikely that a Savannah cat would do any significant harm to a human.
Different Hybrid Levels
The closer your cat is to its ancestral wild cat, the more likely it is to exhibit some aggressive and possibly unpredictable tendencies. Savannah cats can be constantly interbred with house cats, and as you go down the line, their aggressive tendencies fade.
According to PetPoisonHelpline, Savannah cats that are F4, F5, and so on are safe for sale to the general public. But F1, F2, and F3 could be considered dangerous.
In many places, you cannot buy the lower hybrid numbers as they are not considered suitable for domestic environments. This is both for the sake of the people and for the sake of the cat; it is not fair to keep an animal in an environment where it is uncomfortable, edgy, and aggressive.
If you are looking to get a Savannah cat, you should spend some time researching the different levels of hybrids and find out what differences there are between the later F numbers. Choose one that you know you will be comfortable with, and err on the side of caution.
You should also read anecdotal stories about people’s experiences with the cats, learn about potential drawbacks, and educate yourself on what behavior to expect. This will increase your chances of getting a pet that you can build a great relationship with.
Choosing a hybrid level that will suit you is important for both your own happiness and your pet’s happiness. If you are experienced and have a huge amount of time to dedicate to your new pet, you may be able to manage F4 to F5 hybrids.
However, if you are a little bit low on time and have less experience, you should go for a higher number, such as an F7 or F8.
How Active Are They?
It’s essential that you expect high levels of activity in your Savannah cat. These are not felines that sleep all day; they want to play, play, play, and then play some more. Even if you are an energetic person, you may find they wear you out!
Keeping your Savannah cat busy will be crucial to ensuring that it is safe and happy, as Savannahs that are bored and unstimulated may start to take out their frustrations in other ways.
These animals are very strong and can be extremely destructive if not looked after well. According to PurrCraze, boredom leads directly to destructive behavior.
As these cats are also very clever, it’s easy for them to get into things that they shouldn’t. You may find they do damage even to valuable or important items that you have put away, as they are skilled at opening cupboards and can jump up to eight feet high – meaning almost nowhere in your home is safe from them.
However, if you can keep your feline busy and engaged, you’ll find their activity one of their biggest charms. You can teach most Savannah cats tricks and play games such as fetch with them. Make sure they have plenty of perches to sit on at varying heights and plan around exercising them.
You can take Savannah cats out on leashes for walks or build an outdoor enclosure for them (with walls higher than eight feet or an enclosed roof!). It is not a good idea to let Savannah cats wander unattended as they are very valuable and may be stolen and could also get lost or hit by a car.
Choose toys that are durable and remember that what an average house cat’s claws wouldn’t manage to mark, a Savannah cat may be able to puncture in a blink. These are highly efficient hunters and they will love playing, but they need toys that are suitable.
Check out these Savannah cat toys that will keep your cat entertained and away from trouble.
Are Savannah Cats Dangerous To Other Animals?
Savannah cats have a high prey drive, which can be dangerous to wildlife and other pets. Make sure that you take extra precautions if you own fish, hamsters, guinea pigs, gerbils, birds, etc.
Cages should have double locks, and you should put weights on top of lifting lids. Savannah cats don’t mind water and will have no issue with dipping their paws into fish tanks. They are not ideal housemates for other small pets, though they may get along with cats and dogs.
Could A Savannah Cat Hurt Me?
It’s unlikely that a Savannah cat would injure an adult. If it did attack you, it would probably leave teeth and claw marks, but these would be unlikely to be very serious (though you should always get treated for bacteria/infection).
Bear in mind, however, that they are strong, and aggression should not be tolerated. Teach them to play gently, and use positive reinforcement to steer them away from biting, scratching, or other painful attacks – even if they are only playing.
Don’t leave Savannah cats around young children. Again, they would be unlikely to hurt a child, but they are big, powerful creatures, and it is better to be safe than sorry.
You should never leave a small child unattended with an animal and a Savannah cat – particularly one of the low hybrid numbers – even more so.
Overall, it’s doubtful you would suffer a severe injury even if a Savannah cat attacked you, and few would. They are very loyal to their humans, and although they can be wary of strangers, good socialization when they are kittens will help them overcome this.
Respect your cat’s body language, and don’t frighten it. If it does not want to be held or played with, let it go. Learn to read its moods, treat them kindly, and you will form a strong reciprocal bond.