Do Savannah Cats Act Like Dogs?

You may have heard people say that Savannah cats act like dogs, and if so, that probably sounds rather odd to you. After all, cats and dogs are as different as animals come, really, so how can something that is bred from a wild cat (the African Serval) and a house cat act like a dog?

Do Savannah Cats Act Like Dogs?

However, it’s true that some Savannah cats do act in ways that are similar to dogs. They are highly intelligent creatures with endless amounts of energy, and they like to play, follow their humans, and socialize a lot. You can even teach them how to play fetch!

If you’ve been trying to decide to get a dog or a cat, you may want to consider getting a Savannah cat. They have many qualities similar to a dog, which we’ll share below.

They Love Water

According to PurrCraze, Savannah cats are very keen on water. This is decidedly unusual for cats; we all know that most domestic cats despise water and will avoid it at all costs.

However, many of the big cats, such as tigers, enjoy a swim. It’s a good way for them to keep cool when the weather is very hot, and tigers can often be found lounging beside the water. Some big cats hunt in the water, too.

The Savannah is perhaps closer to its wild ancestor than its domesticated one in this case because most Savannah cats will love being in water. They like to play and paddle around and may enjoy lying in the cool water on a hot day.

Water is an excellent way to give your Savannah cat a bit of extra stimulation and something to do, keeping them engaged. If you are able to take them walking somewhere with water, they will enjoy that, or you can provide a kiddie pool or even run a bath for them!

They Can Be Trained To Walk On A Leash

A few people have successfully trained domestic cats to walk on leashes, but that’s relatively rare, and usually, you feel that the human is getting more from the walk than the cat is. However, Savannah cats are brilliant creatures, and it isn’t hard to train them to walk on a leash in most cases.

You should get a harness that fits your Savannah comfortably. Don’t just use a collar; you might damage your Savannah cat’s neck if it pulls. Give your cat time to get used to the feeling of the harness by putting it on and taking it off a few times, and then venture on some short walks around the house.

Once you are satisfied that your Savannah is comfortable, consider going into the backyard or even up the street. Keep your early walks short and close to home to minimize the chance of mishaps.

You may have to work quite hard to get your Savannah cat to walk on a leash, but they are intelligent creatures, and with lots of rewards, you will get there! Most Savannah cats respond well to positive reinforcement.

They Play Fetch

This might sound like it’s getting a bit ridiculous in terms of the “it’s a dog” behavior list, but you can get Savannah cats to play fetch.

Some domestic cats will also fetch, but because Savannahs are highly intelligent and high-energy, you are more likely to get a successful fetch from one than you are from a normal cat.

Savannahs love to run, and if you’re happy to keep throwing the ball, they’re pretty likely to bring it back over and over again. Some Savannahs might need a little encouragement to return the ball to you, but many will pick up on the aim of the game seemingly instinctively.

Get some light cat toys for Savannahs that are fun to toss, and have a go at throwing them for your Savannah. This will help with mental stimulation and physique.

They Love Playing Outdoors

Savannahs love to be outside, although they have been bred to be happy indoors too. Bear in mind that these cats need to have lots of things to interact with. The outside world is the perfect opportunity, but you need to make sure that you are keeping your pet totally safe at the same time.

Savannah cats are rare and beautiful creatures, and they are also worth a lot of money. Don’t just let your Savannah wander around your garden freely whenever it feels like it. You should make an effort to be outside with it, making sure it is safe.

This may not always be feasible, so your best bet is to build an outdoor enclosure where your Savannah can enjoy the world without being put in harm’s way. This enclosure needs to be secure, as Savannahs are excellent jumpers (they can leap up to eight feet high) and very clever.

An enclosure is also a good way to minimize your cat’s impact on local wildlife. Savannahs retain a lot of hunting instincts from their African ancestors, and they are far more effective and dangerous predators than domestic cats.

They will hunt almost anything small and twitchy, so do a favor to your cat and the local birds and rodents around you, and keep them separate from each other.

They Are Very Loyal

People say dogs are man’s best friend, but your Savannah cat might want to argue that. They love their people. Most Savannah cats want to be near their owners all the time and are highly in tune with them.

According to FAQCats, they often have favorites within a family and spend as much time as they can with them. This loyalty is great and certainly considered more dog-like than cat-like, but it can make it hard to get your Savannah to accept other people.

Final Word

Savannah cats aren’t completely like dogs, but it’s easy to see where the comparison came from. They share a surprising number of characteristics with dogs, which makes them markedly different from many domestic cats.

Of course, every individual is different, but you are likely to notice some of these traits in your Savannah cat, and if you are a cat person who also loves dogs (or vice versa), a Savannah cat might represent the best of both worlds. 

Before you take one on, just make sure you’ll be able to keep up with its endless energy!