Categories: Savannah Cat

Are Savannah cats dangerous to humans?

f2 savannah kitten with plush toy. Underfoot! Photo by Michael taken at A1 Savannahs in Ponca City, Oklahoma, USA.

No, but the question has to be more precise to provide a precise answer. This is because you can adopt an F1 or an F5 Savannah cat. The former is a first filial cat in which the father is a serval and the mother a domestic cat. The fifth-generation Savannah cat is pretty much like any other domestic cat. Neither the F1 nor the F5 are dangerous to humans. However, if the first filial Savannah cat is poorly socialised or for whatever reason becomes aggressive or even inadvertently scratches a person then they are liable to do more damage than the smaller and inherently less wild 5th filial cat. Under rare conditions an F1 Savannah cat could conceivably be dangerous to humans due to their size.

Magic and Leone. Magic was the tallest domestic cat at the time. Photo: Kathrin Stucki

Socialised

A1 Savannahs f2 savannah cat. Photo: Michael

However, it must be stressed that all Savannah cats no matter what the filial are fully socialised by their breeder. Therefore they are equally good at being companions to humans. In truth, there is almost no possibility that they can be dangerous to humans unless and except they are poorly socialised which would be extremely rare.

Misleading news stories online

The question in the title can only come about because the news media has on occassions portrayed the F1 Savannah cat as a dangerous animal. There have been some escapes of F1 Savannah cats into public places from confinement in their owner’s homes. These unfortunate cats have sometimes been shot by the local authorities because residents have incorrectly perceived the cat is dangerous to the public. This is based upon their size. The public does not know what they are looking at. They sometimes believe that a wild cat of some description has escaped. This is why they call the authorities who inevitably take extreme measures in the interests of pubic safety.

The stories are misleading. There have been quite a few instances of escaped servals or F1 Savannahs. These unfortunate cats are confined to the home because of their value and stature ($20,000 and large). They sometimes escape because they have a larger than usual appetite to be active and hunt. This brings me nicely to the question of how one should live with first filial hybrid wild cats. They are a special type of cat and you have to be prepared to compromise more than usual (click to read). They demand more attention and more of your time. But I stress, they’re not dangerous to humans.

Two examples

Trouble. At the time the world’s tallest domestic cat. He escaped his owner’s home and was sadly killed on the road. Horrendously tragic. Photo: pubic domain.

A celebrated first filial Savannah cat whose name was Trouble was killed on the road having escaped his home. He was a magnificent Savannah cat. At the time he was the world’s biggest domestic cat (Guinness record). He had taken the title from the female F1 Savannah cat called Magic who was bred by A1 Savannahs Near Ponca city, Oklahoma, USA. In the UK, there was alarm when an F1 Savannah cat (or possibly a serval) escaped from the home of a rich suburban dweller believed to be of Middle Eastern descent. The police were called and it was all over the Internet. I don’t know the outcome but the story emphasises the issues that can befall an owner of an F1 Savannah cat. People feared for their health and lives in a suburb of London.

Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 71-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in many jobs including professional photography. I have a girlfriend, Michelle. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare.

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