Bengal Cats vs Savannah Cats [Similarities & Differences]

Bengal cats and Savannah cats are both popular pets. Both are hybrid cats meaning they have been bred with a domestic cat and a wild cat. If you’re thinking of getting one of these amazing felines, it’s important to do careful research first and understand what you are taking on and whether you and your new friend will suit each other.

The Savannah breed is a result of a domestic cat with a Serval. 

A Bengal is a result of a domesticated cat bred with an Asian leopard. 

So which one makes the right pet for you? Well, let’s take a look at some of the similarities and differences of each breed to help you decide.

Bengals vs. Savannah Cats

In terms of looks, Bengal cats and Savannah cats appear quite similar. They also share some similarities in behavior due to their closeness to wild cats, but they are quite different in many ways. For example, Bengals are usually smaller and tamer than Savannahs, and Savannahs are more like dogs than Bengals are.

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What Are The Biggest Similarities?

Appearance

Both cats are somewhat spotted, with markings a little like a leopard or cheetah. 

A Savannah cat has crisper, sharper spots, ranging from brown to silver to black.

Bengals are also spotted, although a little more blotchy, and are often similar in color to the Savannah, although some Bengals are paler. They both look athletic and robust, and they are large felines, with the Savannah being the bigger of the two.

Love of Water

Both of these breeds are unusual for loving water. This is probably because they have been bred from wild cats that enjoy swimming. But you can take either a Bengal or a Savannah to a lake or river and watch them paddle around happily.

This isn’t something you can do with most domestic house cats, which sets these rather aside from their close cousins. If you set up a tub with water in the home, you can watch a Bengal or Savannah play for hours, while domestic cats are famous for their hatred of getting wet.

Athletic

Because of their breeding, both of these cats are also highly athletic. Therefore, they need a lot of exercise and stimulation. Many people choose to walk them on leashes using harnesses because of this. 

Savannah cats, in particular, with their dog-like tendencies, are suited for this. Here’s what you need to know if you want to walk a Bengal cat.

You need to ensure you can provide plenty of exercise before you consider taking on either of these felines. They need to exercise and tone their muscles, and a bored Bengal or Savannah is likely to be destructive and difficult to handle. If you can’t exercise them, don’t get one.

They also both love being outdoors, which is something you should consider carefully before getting one. 

They are valuable cats, and you will need to find a way to protect them from people who might want to steal them. So you have to think about your outdoor space and how practical it is.

You may wish to install a cat run or enclosure so that your pet can enjoy the outside world without being at risk. This has the additional advantage of protecting the local wildlife from your pet. 

Because these cats are both quite wild and have very strong instincts, they can be a significant threat to birds and other prey.

They are superb jumpers, which is something you need to bear in mind when organizing cat-friendly spaces. 

A Bengal can jump three times its height, while a Savannah can clear eight feet. They love climbing and will enjoy any vertical space you can give them.

They Are Easily Bored

These athletic cats need a lot of exercise, but they also need mental stimulation. They are highly intelligent. If they don’t have plenty to occupy them, they can quickly become destructive and difficult to handle. 

A bored Bengal and a bored Savannah might attack furniture, knock things off shelves, chew things, or even start biting.

You need to think of ways to keep both these kinds of cats occupied, especially if you will be out for a few hours. They love toys that allow them to run, jump, and test their hunting prowess, and they need plenty of space for this.

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They also both like their owners to play with them, so make sure that you have plenty of time set aside to engage with your kitty daily. 

Bengals and Savannahs are great pets, but they are not low maintenance by a long shot, and you need to recognize this before taking one on. If you can’t offer several hours of play most days, you need to select a different pet for both your sake and the sake of the cat.

What Are The Biggest Differences?

Savannahs Are Wilder

Savannah cats are wilder than Bengals, which can make them more challenging for an inexperienced owner to handle. 

They are more like dogs and can be fiercely loyal and keen to follow their owners around, which is both good and bad.

Bengals usually have a higher degree of genes from their domestic ancestors and are more likely to be cuddly, affectionate, and playful. They are a little more like a standard house cat than a Savannah is.

Bengals are often thought to be easier to handle because of this. They are slightly calmer, gentler, and more patient, while a Savannah is constantly on the go and ready for anything.

Dietary Needs

While it will depend a bit on what kind of F hybrid you buy, Bengals can be a little easier to feed than Savannahs, as they are better adapted to eat normal cat food. A Savannah may require you to mix other meats in with its food, especially if it is a high F-number.

Savannahs, therefore, require a lot more in terms of time when it comes to food prep and understanding dietary needs. 

You will have to understand which food is suitable for your Savannah and how to ensure it’s getting everything it needs.

While you should also do this for a Bengal, you may find that your Bengal is healthy on a standard diet for cats, available everywhere. This is something you should certainly take into consideration when weighing up the two felines.

Health

According to HospitalVetinariGlories, Bengal cats are slightly more prone to health issues than Savannah cats are. They are vulnerable to heart problems and retinal atrophy (which can lead to blindness in some individuals).

Bengals are also often allergic to anesthetics, which can pose problems if your cat needs to undergo surgery at any time.

Savannahs can, of course, suffer from health problems like any other cat, but they are not prone to any specific issues due to their breed.

Final Word

Both Bengal and Savannah cats are similar in many ways, but they make quite different pets, and you should ensure you understand those differences before you take them on. The most significant one is the Savannah’s wildness relative to the Bengal’s.

If you are an experienced owner looking for a dog-like companion and have many hours to devote to your pet, a Savannah may be suitable. 

You will still need plenty of time for a Bengal, but you may find that they are a little more laid back and somewhat easier to handle and keep happy.

Remember, both cats need lots of exercise and stimulation to keep them healthy and content, so don’t take on either breed if you can’t meet this requirement.