How do I choose a Savannah kitten?

Consider the following:

Savannah Traits

    • Basic Savannah Traits
      • long, lean bodies
      • long legs
      • large ears
      • ear tips pointing straight up
      • ears are set high on the head
      • solid spotting
      • if the coat is golden it is more tan than red
      • hooded-eyes, looks like a boomerang near the nose bridge
    • Savannah Bonus Traits
      (traits sometimes desired by other breeders but often are less of a priority than the basic traits)
      • Black noses
      • Black spotting
      • Shorter tail
      • A bit larger than the average cat
      • Ocelli marks on the back of the ears

Ivy has a very nice long lean body and long legs. She has a nice triangular head and large ears. I’ve included a picture of Jet’s mother, Lil' Bird, to demonstrate how very nice Savannah ears have tips that point straight up to the ceiling, almost like bunny ears. Her ears are also set high on her head. Most Savannahs do not have all of the breed traits; every cat has their weaknesses. However, as a breeder I strive to pair my cats with other cats that can compensate for their weaknesses. In this case, Ivy’s ears are not as upright as I want them to be, so I will breed her to Jet and Odin who have more upright ears like Lil’ Bird pictured above.

Bengal Traits

    • Bengal Traits
      • Rounder, stocky bodies
      • Shorter legs
      • Smaller ears
      • Spotting is Rosetted: large, open, multi colored spots
      • Pelted coat (very soft to the touch)
      • Glitter (coat has a sparkle to it in sunlight)
      • If golden, the coat is often reddish or orange in color
      • Rounded eyes

I will consider selling a kitten as a breeder to someone who has a TICA-registered cattery and is fully informed and responsible about breeding practices. Otherwise, for the safety of my cats and to prevent “backyard” breeding, I will spay and neuter my kittens that are going to pet homes.

Males tend to be a little larger than females when fully grown. Noel’s F2 kittens will likely be larger in size than Ivy’s F3 kittens if you are very concerned about size. However, size is something not guaranteed and not something we focus on at Sunny Savannahs. Noel is not a “large” F1 and Ivy is not a “large” F2. If you want a “large” Savannah you probably should find another breeder. However, I’d like to warn you that there is a lot of genetic variability in a cat’s size, and often you do not know what size they will be until they are full grown. Breeders can only guess at what size their kittens will become based off of past litters.

  • WHAT ARE THE "FUZZIES"? Maybe you have wondered why some kittens have great contrast in their coats and have been surprised to see others looking like wiry little wooly bears. Well, kittens’ coats often change as they age and this makes it even trickier to figure out what your kitten may look like when it is an adult. There is nothing wrong with the kitten who has a wooly coat, the only down side is they may be a little harder to sell because people can’t tell how beautiful their coat could be in the future!

    • At birth kittens will likely have a coat where you can see their spotting and have a general guess as to their coat color. Enjoy this time to really study their spots because you might not be able to see them in a few weeks!

    • From 2 to 6 weeks a more-wiry looking coat will appear. It will become harder to see the kittens’ spotting. I call this the “fuzzies”. Some kittens get the "fuzzies" worse than others. It really just depends on their genetic lines.

    • The "fuzzies" may also make the coat look greyish. Often kittens do not photograph great from 4 weeks to 11 weeks because of the “fuzzies”.

    • In my cats I’ve seen coats start to clear up around 11 weeks and by 16 weeks I have a really good sense of what their adult coat will look like. By 16 weeks you can see if the black spotting is going to become lighter or brownish. You can also see how solid the base color will be. Some cats have more “ticking” or a muddied looking base color.

    • As cats continue to age beyond 4 months their coat color may become less golden or more golden. It really depends on what is in their genes. There are cool golden tones and warm golden tones that may appear. Reddish tones tend to be more of a Bengal trait.

    • Moral of the story, look to both of the kitten’s parents to try and estimate what your kitten’s final coat will look like. This is a very complicated guessing game otherwise. Ask for pictures of kittens from past litters to help give you a range of how a kitten’s coat may turn out.

Odin, around 2 weeks
Odin, around 5 weeks
Odin, around 1 year

    • It’s important to know that kittens born with black noses do not always keep their black noses - at times their noses become more pink as they age. If a kitten has a pink spot on their mostly black nose, this pink spot is likely to enlarge with age. If a kitten has tearstains - black fur markings around their nose - I think they’re more likely to keep their fully black noses.

    • Eye color also changes during the first year of life. Almost all kittens start out with blue eyes, but then they slowly change to a blue-green, then to green, and then sometimes to brown or a golden color. Look to the kitten’s parents to estimate what their adult eye color may be. We have a lot of eye color variety in our household. Sunny has deep golden eyes, Odin has orange eyes, Ivy has green/hazel eyes. Jet is still under a year, we’re thinking his eye color may be orange when he is done maturing.

    • Kittens' ears also change as they grow. At first kittens’ ears are small and at the sides of their head. Then the ears begin to grow larger and move toward the top of their head over several weeks. A kitten’s ears may not be upright and perky on their heads until they are around 10 weeks old. Therefore, a lot of breeders will wait until this age to get a feeling for how a Savannah’s ear set will finally look. Ear set is an important part of the breed standard. Some kittens who have very large ears may have them flopped over for several weeks. You can see this in Ivy’s baby picture.

    • On a side note, F1 Savannahs are often born with a silver coat and then begin to become more fuzzy and golden as they age. This makes it tricky at first to know for sure whether the kitten you put a deposit on will end up being a silver or gold adult. If the F1 kitten starts to have tinges of gold on the edges of their body they will likely continue to warm up and be more golden in the coming weeks.

Ivy's baby blue eyes
Ivy's adult green eyes