Why can’t I have a Savannah cat in my house in Texas?

by Heather
(Marshall, TX)

I have done tons of research looking for the right breed for our family. I feel we could give a Savannah cat a wonderful home to live forever.

On our budget I wasn’t sure we could afford one, but just because I couldn’t have it right this second doesn’t mean I give up!

I have spent weeks digging and avoiding scams. I was aware that in some states I wasn’t allowed to have them, but there are several breeders in TX, so I thought I was safe.

I then found out that I cannot have a Savannah in a home at all in Texas, has to be kept in a separate enclosure?!?!?!?!?

I do not want to breed, just love. My husband is home all day, I work 2 miles away four days a week, our 7 year old has ended a friendship over a playmate not treating animals (a cat) in a respectful manner, and Wall-E, our 3 year old mini schnauzer just loves other animals.. .especially cats!!!

I have searched everywhere and I don’t understand why??? Can anyone answer this?

Heather


Hi Heather… thanks for visiting. I thought I knew where wild cat hybrids such as the Savannah were banned: Alaska, Hawaii, Mass and NY.

However, it seems I was wrong. Your post got me looking and I came up with the same things as you it seems. I checked because I could not believe what you were saying!

F5 Savannahs are true domestic cats.

Anyway, the law for hybrid animals in Texas appears to be the same as for the potentially dangerous animals of which they are hybrids.

The code (law) is section 822 and definitions are at 822.101. “Dangerous wild animal” included a serval. And the Savannah is a serval/domestic cat hybrid. Animals that are hybrids of the listed animals are also governed by this law.

Licensing etc. is required and there are heavy restrictions. Am I missing something? Have I got this wrong? I find it strange. You can see the law here: http://codes.lp.findlaw.com/txstatutes/HS/10/822/E

Some counties in Texas seem to have their own rules. This needs checking out.

One interesting point is that the leopard cat, a small wildcat that is the wild cat parent of the Bengal cat hybrid is not listed as a dangerous animal in this legislation. That would mean that the Bengal cat is acceptable in Texas. Bengals are wild cat hybrids just like the Savannah. I guess you know that. A high filial Bengal cat, say an F3, will have a character similar to the Savannah. You might consider that.

Daniel an F3 Bengal cat
F3 Bengal cat “Daniel”.

I will do further work on this subject over time. The reason why states are clamping down on wild cat hybrids is probably because things have been too slack and uncontrolled for many years and there have been problems (financial and animal health issues) with the keeping of large wild cats and other species of animal. Also there is the issue of conservation. Importing wild cats into the USA from their habitat (servals live in Africa) is not good conservation. Almost all the wildcats are under threat of extinction in the wild in the short or long term.

Michael

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Why can’t I have a Savannah cat in my house in Texas?

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Dec 27, 2011 🙁
by: Heather

I talked to animal control today. They are considering the Savannah a dangerous animal, because it does have a percentage of Servel in it. I can keep a cat as long as I register every year, take out $100,000 insurance policy, and build a separate enclosure because it will not be allowed in my house whatsoever.
I can go to the zoo at anytime. I am not interested in keeping a cat outside in a cage, I want one I can bring into the house. Thank you for suggesting the Begal, but I believe that I will rescue a cat from my local shelter.


Dec 23, 2011 Chaotic
by: Michael

Hi Heather. One thing is clear. The law is not clear! Nationally it varies a lot. There needs to be some coordination between states and some clarity because the law that I saw looked carelessly drafted. Good luck. Please leave a comment if you find out something useful.


Dec 21, 2011 Thank You
by: Heather

Thank you for responding to my post. Since I posted I first contacted Fish and wildlife, who told me I did not need to register with them, but to find my city law on the matter. I then contacted City Animal Control who was also unsure about it and gave me number to a Zoologist in the area. He believes the law was written not considering a Savannah and his advice was to contact Animal Control and find out what they would allow. I am currently waiting to hear back.


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Why can’t I have a Savannah cat in my house in Texas? — 2 Comments

  1. Hi, I wanted to know any updates on Savannahs. I also want to own one but Im now a bit confused. Please let me know anything on this issue. Thanks

    • Hi, I presume you mean updates on the law with respect to keeping a wild cat hybrid in a certain state in the United States. I am sure you know that the law on keeping so called exotic pets including wild cat hybrid cats varies from state to state. Certain states ban them.

      This page provides some information on that:

      http://pictures-of-cats.org/savannah-cat.html#Legalities

      However, things are evolving. There is a gentle shift in the USA away from allowing wild cat hybrids as pets in my opinion. The same can be said about keeping tame wild cats. So, as things are always changing, I would advise that you check the current law by going to the state’s website and dig around or phone someone. The law is constantly in flux. If you want certainty it is best to check the current situation. Hope this helps a bit.

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