Unwanted high filial Savannah cats

As the video presenter says, it is indeed a great shame that such a beautiful cat has been abandoned by his owners. Loki is a male, high filial (probably an F1 or F2) Savannah cat. This means that there is a lot of wild cat DNA or blood in this cat. This in turn means that the cat behaves more like a wildcat than a domestic cat. And you can imagine what this means in terms of cat caregiving. More demands are placed upon the owner. Not every high filial Savannah cat owner can meet these demands unfortunately. In giving up Loki the owners also gave up upwards of $20,000, the cost of a high quality F1 Savannah cat.

Loki an abandoned high filial Savannah cat
Loki an abandoned high filial Savannah cat. At BCR now. Safe but anxious. This is a screenshot from the video.
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I’m not being critical of these people in terms of their inability to look after a high filial Savannah cat. But I think we can be gently critical of people who adopt Savannah cats of this type without really doing due diligence on whether they can, in the long term, provide a good home. You have to be absolutely sure otherwise the cat can end up like Loki, at a cat rescue centre. It is unusual to see a domestic cat ending up at a wild cat rescue centre such as Big Cat Rescue (BCR) in Florida. Carole Baskin, who owns and runs Big Cat Rescue has a particular dislike of these sorts of wild cat hybrids. And I can fully understand what she’s getting at. She thinks that they are created and adopted too carelessly and irresponsibly at the expense of the cats’ welfare.

F1 Savanahs in the home of Jean Pierre
F1 Savanahs in the home of Jean Pierre. Photo: Kathrin Stucki of A1 Savannahs

They are very beautiful cats and a lot of people like to possess them as they would possess a Ferrari, a beautiful car. And there is a parallel between a Ferrari and an F1 Savannah cat. They’re both fast, quick and thoroughbreds. They are expensive and demanding. You have to know how to look after them, maintain them and protect them. They are beautiful possessions but there is always a downside to possessing something beautiful.

And when that beautiful possession is a living, sentient creature with a sharp brain, great athleticism and a huge demand to hunt and behave as if they are in the wild, the downsides become readily apparent. It’s just a question of being the right person. There are people who can look after F1 Savannah cats very well and they do. They have the time, the money and the space to do a good job. They provide great homes for these specialist cats.

But they are unsuitable, in truth for most people. Some people go up a notch and adopt a serval. A male serval will be the father of an F1 Savannah cat. But if you adopt a serval you live with a genuine wild cat and all that goes with it. If there is one overriding impression that I have about the F1 Savannah cat and the serval is that they sometimes escape.

All the news stories that we have about the serval and F1 Savannah is of them escaping from their homes. Why should this be? It’s because you have to keep them inside or if they go outside it has to be on a lead because they’re just too expensive. And they can frighten people if they are allowed to wander outside. This can lead to them being apprehended or shot.

And if you have to keep them inside, how big is your home? Do you have an enclosure at the back which is large enough? Will it ever be large enough? These sorts of cats need huge amounts of space in which to behave naturally. I’m thinking of perhaps 10 km² for the home range of an F1 Savannah cat. It might be something like that. You can’t satisfy that amount of space unless you are a particular sort of person with a farm or something like that. The point that I’m labouring is that keeping an F1 Savannah cat does not suit everybody.

I’m not decrying people or the cats. It is not my place. I’m just saying please be careful before you adopt an F1 Savannah cat. Don’t just be drawn in by the appearance and the idea of living with such a wonderful creature. You have to be more practical and more businesslike than that otherwise you end up with the situation that you see in the video which is sad for all the parties. Particularly the cat. You can see Loki looking very uncertain, nervous, anxious in his new home: a life in an enclosure amongst the big cats BCR.

Small but important point: embedded videos like the one on this page sometimes stop working for reasons beyond my control. If it has happened; sorry.


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