I don’t agree with the title. It is wrong in my opinion. The cats referred to are Savannahs, specifically first filial Savannah cats. These are very large cats, similar in size to a medium-sized dog but much more slender than the average dog, so there is a similarity in respect of size but it more or less ends there.
I really feel I have to defend the Savannah cat. This is partly because I have lived with them for a couple of weeks in Oklahoma when I visited and stayed at A1 Savannahs at the time the Stuckis owned and managed the business.
I played with F1 and F2 Savannahs and saw their normal behavior. They are definitely cats! Their behavior is definitely cat-like, I have to say.
The author who penned the title writes for The Dodo website. The title is deliberately provocative but overly provocative I’d say. It is unreal. The title is based upon a conversation with an employee of Big Cat Rescue, Susan Bass, and we know that the owner of Big Cat Rescue, Carole Baskin, hates wild cat hybrid cats especially the big F1 cats. Carole might hate them because she sees to many high filial Savannahs dumped on her organisation but I don’t know. The author is criticising the Savannah cat.
Breeders might claim that the Savannah cat has dog-like behavioral characteristics but then a lot of breeders say that about other breeds to give the impression to buyers and the public that their cat breed interacts well with humans. We know in all seriousness that you don’t take comments that a cat is dog-like that seriously. It might mean the cat plays fetch. A lot of cats will do this, not only F1 Savannah cats. It largely depends on the individual cat more so than the breed. But this one characteristic does not turn a cat into a dog.
It is true that F1 and F2 Savannah cats sometimes like to take a shower with their owner. Is that dog-like? Do dogs like to take showers? I don’t think so. If a Savannah cat likes a shower (and the most celebrated Savannah cat – Magic – did) it is because the large wild cat element of these cats takes over. Wild cats often like water or hunt near water because that is where the prey might be.
Susan Bass makes an interesting statement about the Savannah cat:
“We get calls all the time from people asking us — begging us — to take them off their hands,”
The reason, if this is an accurate reflection of Savannah cat ownership, is because the F1s and F2s are too near the wild serval. They retain certain wild cat characteristics (which incidentally is all the more reason why they are cat-like in their behavior).
Bass says that they howl at night and spray (scent mark) foul-smelling urine around the house! Hell. This is hell on earth. If that is true, once again this is not dog-like behavior but it is certainly unacceptable behavior to most cat owners. I would not expect this criticism to be entirely accurate. It is more accurate with respect to domesticated servals.
Bass does make one incontrovertible point: it is immoral (my word) to breed these exotic cats for adoption when there are perfectly good and beautiful cats languishing in cat rescue centers across America.
Bass makes another fair point: if a person wants a dog-like cat it is more sensible to adopt a dog! Yes, that too is incontrovertible.
The bottom line is this: F1 Savannah cats are very rare and hard to breed. They are very expensive at around $20k. They behave like cats and do require the caretaker to be an involved and special person who understands cats and who can spend more than the usual amount of time with his/her cat as they are intelligent and demanding of stimulation. F5 Savannah cats are more or less like your average cat breed with a very low percentage of wild DNA.
Read more about the Savannah cat on this page. Thanks.
Source: People Are Breeding….