We are discussing the sale price of first filial (F1) Savannah cats. They are expensive. The price will vary. But a good indication comes from a breeder in the UK who runs and owns Kent Savannahs. His name is Ojars Bluzma. He charges £11,000 for a first-generation (F1) kitten. He breeds about 10 kittens a year and he keeps his breeding cats in an outdoor enclosure which is typical of cat breeders. Jean Mill who started Bengal Cats did the same thing.
I have seen prices higher than this (and lower). I think that you could pay as much as £20,000 (the same in US dollars) for the very best first-generation Savannah cats. People who want a status symbol cat want an F1 or perhaps a second-generation cat (F2 – see Motzie). They want them for their size – they are the largest domestic cat you can get anywhere – and their beautiful coat which is obviously reminiscent of the serval father which is heavily spotted and high contrast. The buzz word “exotic” comes to mind.
It is said that the high cost is partly because it is difficult to breed first-generation Savannah cats. This is because the serval is a medium-sized wild cat and much larger than a standard domestic cat. It’s probably quite technically difficult to get mating to happen effectively. I don’t know if accidents happen and if the female domestic cat is sometimes injured or even killed in such meetings.
I have spent many days at a Savannah cat breeders in Oklahoma (A1 Savannahs) and seen servals in enclosures. I’ve also seen F1 Savannahs in enclosures. The enclosures are about 15′ x 40′ if they are lucky. Sometimes there are smaller and they live in these enclosures permanently. They have an area which is covered and protected from the elements. Even in the best establishments, breeding cats is quite a starkly commercial business.
People who are researching the price of F1 Savannah cats are probably thinking about adopting. If I am correct they should read a page that I have written about looking after high filial wild cat hybrids. I’m not saying it’s too difficult. It can be very successful but in my opinion you can’t be a casual cat owner if you want to look after a high filial wildcat hybrid properly.
The fact that a serval or F1 Savannah recently escaped from a luxury home in Hampstead Garden Suburb in North London gives you a hint at the difficulties. Some people do like to keep servals as pets but they have to really be kept in enclosures and that changes the ballgame completely. You need the space and the time and the licence to do it. A famous F1 Savannah in America, “Trouble”, escaped his home and was killed on the road. He was the world’s biggest domestic cat.
You will also find that in Britain you will need a licence from the local authorities to look after a F1 Savannah cat and that applies, as I understand it, to any first-generation wild cat hybrid. I have a page on that topic as well. Check with the authorities where you live before adopting. In the US it varies state to state.
First-generation wild cat hybrids are considered to be more intelligent and more active than your standard domestic cat. A breeder in Cardiff, Kes-hia Jenkins,31, is right when he says that, “They’ve got a touch of the wild side to them. They can jump higher and go outdoors, and open the fridge. Their outgoing and into everything. They’re big, tall, long and slim. They are not nasty, not one bit”. But you can see from that short statement that you will need to be involved to make sure they don’t escape down the street or that they are entertained.
I have a strong feeling that people are not aware of the demands. People should consider them carefully. There is a trend in the UK by people with deep pockets to adopt one of these status symbol cats. In 2017 there were about 225 wild or hybrid cats in the UK according to council data. This info comes from The Times newspaper and I believe it refers to high filial wildcat hybrids. I say this because the F5 Bengal cat is more or less a standard domestic cat and very popular. There must be more of these in the UK than 225 at this time. Wildcat hybrids below this filial (F5+) are considered to be pretty much standard domestic cats despite the fact that they have some wildcat in them. The first filials are about 50% eildcat and therefore you must expect their character to be as described.