If you’ve been thinking about getting a Savannah cat, you might be wondering how much time and attention they need and whether they will fit in well with your lifestyle. These cats are very beautiful and elegant creatures, but how much work do they need?
Are Savannah Cats High Maintenance?
Savannah cats need very little; they have short coats, rarely need brushing, and don’t produce a huge amount of fur or dander. However, Savannah cats need a lot of time and attention in terms of company and emotional investment, and they won’t be happy if they are left alone for extended periods.
Savannah cats make great pets, but it’s essential to do your due diligence before acquiring one.
What to Expect With A Savanna Cat In Terms of Maintenance and Care?
They Rarely Need Brushing
Savannah cats do not need to be brushed a lot. They have short coats and, according to TheHappyCatSite, they are thought to produce less dander. That may mean less clean-up after them, as well as less time spent maintaining their coats.
If you’re not a fan of grabbing a brush or a comb, a Savannah cat is a good option.
You Can Train Them
Savannah cats have a high level of intelligence. Does that make them lower maintenance?
Potentially, yes, because you can teach them to do or not to do certain things. For example, you may be able to teach your Savannah cat not to go into certain rooms, or not to scratch your furniture, etc.
This can make them less work in the long run, especially if you have them from a young age. However, it is vital to train them well because Savannah cats can be stubborn, strong-willed creatures, and they also like their own way.
You will need to use lots of positive reinforcement to encourage obedience and keep them behaving.
If you make the most of their intelligence, it can be a blessing – if you don’t, you may find that it makes your Savannah hard work. According to PurrCraze, they can open cupboards and drawers. They have even been known to get into fridges.
Savannah cats that aren’t well trained can also be problematic in terms of their territory. This can apply to other animals or even to people, and as large cats, you don’t want any risk that they might choose to attack someone.
You will need to socialize them from a young age. When you first take on your Savannah cat, work on gently introducing and familiarizing them with other people and – if possible – pets.
This may take up a lot of time early on, but it’s key to ensuring you can bring people and animals into your home easily in the future.
A Savannah cat that is not socialized as a kitten may be reluctant to accept anyone outside the immediate family in the future, and you might find yourself struggling to deal with their behavior if you have a guest.
Only get a Savannah cat if you have the time to put into training them. Training can be great fun for both you and your cat, but it does mean a time commitment!
They Are Mischievous
Even a well-trained Savannah can cause its fair share of mischief. As mentioned, they are good at opening things, and they can jump up to eight feet high. This means there is pretty much no part of the home that they can’t reach.
They like a lot of vertical space and enjoy jumping, so you’ll need to either build shelves especially for your Savannah or sacrifice shelves that you already own. You’ll also want to provide them with a high-quality cat tree since they love to perch up high.
Make sure you get a cat tree designed for larger cats, as this breed can get big.
Ornaments, photo frames, and trinkets may need to be put away behind glass to prevent them from being broken.
You may feel that your space is no longer really “yours” once you own a Savannah; they like to be the center of attention and can be a little naughty about how they get it. Some people describe the need to “toddler-proof” their homes as a result of owning one.
If that sounds like too much work to you, a Savannah cat isn’t the right pet for you!
They Need A Lot Of Attention
These cats require a lot of your time. Savannah cats are not suitable for owners who are usually out for hours on end. They are more like dogs in terms of their play and activity needs.
Your Savannah will want to be with you most of the time. It will sleep less than most house cats and expect you to give it lots of time and attention when it is awake.
How much play your Savannah needs will depend to a degree on how tame it is. Savannahs with low F numbers (the lower numbers may not be legal to own in some places) will require more exercise and stimulation. The higher the F-number, the closer to a domestic cat it will be.
An F4 or F5 is a good option for those who want a cat that doesn’t require much time and attention.
However, you should still be prepared to spend several hours a day petting, playing with, and exercising your cat.
Savannah cats enjoy walking with their owners, and it is easy to train them to walk on a leash (which you should do if you will be taking them outside). I’ve put together some cat leashes and harnesses that got high reviews from other pet owners.
They also love swimming, so you can take them to lakes, and they will enjoy wading out and splashing around. Some will happily hop in the bathtub with you!
Outdoor exercise is great because it involves plenty of mental stimulation as well as physical activity. If you can’t provide this sort of thing, a Savannah cat may prove too much work for you.
Think of owning a Savannah cat like owning an active breed of dog. If you couldn’t commit to the dog, you won’t be able to commit to the Savannah; it will simply be too much work, and the cat will be unhappy due to not getting enough time and attention.
If you have a high number Savannah (F1 or F2, usually), you are going to have to put time into preparing a suitable diet. They will not like the cat food that can generally be purchased at pet stores, so you may have to prepare a raw food diet yourself if you can’t access a commercial formula that’s suitable.
Many commercial foods are breed-specific. So, be sure to look for dry foods for Savannah cats.
It’s important you understand the cat’s needs and how to create a balanced diet. It should not be done by guesswork. Talk to your vet and make sure you understand exactly what has to go into the food to ensure that your Savannah is getting everything it needs.
Even the higher numbers may prefer some additions to their diet and will be pleased if you feed them fresh meat to supplement their cat food. Always talk to your vet about feeding so you can make sure your Savannah is getting everything it needs.
This sort of maintenance will become a habit as time goes on, but it is still something you will need to do regularly, so if you haven’t got a lot of free time, think about somewhat complex feeding as an aspect of owning a Savannah.
Savannah cats are great if you want a high-activity, engaging pet that likes to be involved with everything you are doing at all times.
Their short coats don’t require much in the way of physical maintenance. Still, these cats need constant mental stimulation, plenty of physical exercise, and good training as kittens to make rewarding and manageable pets.
But there are plenty of Savannah cat toys that will help keep them occupied when you don’t have the time.
Overall, Savannahs are definitely high maintenance pets.