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Accidental Savannahs?


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Hi everyone! Your cats are lovely, I've read most of the threads prior to posting (so helpful!), and have no issues with our boys - just concerns about how they were acquired.

Here goes: on July 18th we adopted 2 male kittens from Craigslist. The ad was a bit strange - the postsee was pleading for her ad not to be flagged again as she was not charging money for the kittens, just offering them to a new home. The story she gave was that there is a feral momma cat that lives around her property in Eagle Point, OR, and that this was the 3rd litter to be dropped off at her house by said momma. 5 in the litter, 2 like Ninja, 3 like Bear (I'll post pics when I figure out how :). Ninja was in terrible condition - so thin, weak and malnourished that he could barely hold up his head. She said she thought they were 10wks, but something was off about the whole story, and she was super nervous when I asked if there was a rehoming fee - holding up hers hands and saying no, no, no. (Most of the ads we checked asked for a small fee) Needless to say - upon seeing Ninjas condition we took them home.

(Vet visit: roundworms, she had never seen them so bad. Also thought he had nail fungus, turned out to be gross crusted litter - ew, poor guy. She also told us they were 7wks at most.)

Well. It didn't take long to figure out we had something different. We (Rebecca and Mike) have both had many DSH cats over the years - these are something else! It was after seeing picture of the ear marks on the SV cat on the wiki page that we got the idea that ours might be SVs. Then I saw a photo of an F4 named Zuri - Ninja has very very similar spotting and body type. After some more research, we are now 100% sure - and have zero issues with the cats themselves (omg amazing amazing amazing), they are healthy, and growing like mad! At 14wks Ninja was 4.9 lbs, Bear was 5.4 - and they are in the middle of another spurt, at 16wks Bear is the size of a small DSH, Ninja is not far behind!

My question/concern: after learning about the breed it seems unlikely to me that these kittens would be found feral. I find it hard to believe that anyone would let a breeding queen anywhere near a door to the outside while in heat, and any cats sold as pets are fixed.

Horrified that these are being given away with no warning to the new owners (you all know what I mean, lol), at that age, and in that condition and I'm not sure what to do. I tried texting for more info - no response, then my phone crashed and I lost her contact info. Have been watching CL for similar ads in that area - nothing so far.

Opinions? Ideas? Please?

Thanks in advance!


Staff member
You are correct that is it unlikely to find a feral Savannah wandering around. There are several cat breeds that have spotted coats, and the markings on the ears can be found on domestic cats as well. Having said that, I don't know how far away this person is from you, but my recommendation would be TNR - trap, neuter, and release. Of course if mom could be socialized and brought in off the street that would be even better...

Please post pics of your babies, we would love to see them!


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Thanks for responding!

Yes, there are many breeds with spots, but as far as I could tell, none with hooded eyes, tear marks, long necks/legs/bodies, and big ole ears on top the their heads. They also way more intense than any kittens we have ever had - seems like they barely sleep some days, haha!

Got an avatar photo to load, seems all the good shots are too big - will post more later.



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Question for the breeders: If you sell an unaltered kitten with a contract that specifies that the new owner must neuter the kitten and that it has been sold without breeding rights, what can a breeder do if they find out that someone has violated the contract and is breeding the cat?
I also have an older kitten of questionable breeding, and a unknown father... After being curious and reading about this I realized there is quite a few spotted tabby cats that look similar to some late generation Savannah's. And the other traits could all come from other sources. But I know what you mean when you say you feel 100 percent sure there is some Savannah in the mix. I also feel that way about my kitten. But then, lots of people feel 100 percent sure about things when they are completely wrong, and I do not imagine I am special. As he gets older he gets less intense in some ways, and it seems less of a possible issue.

I am not sure what the back story of your kittens may be, and while it is not likely for a Savannah female to be having feral kittens, it may be possible for a fertile late generation male Savannah who is being kept for breeding, to be finding ways to contribute to the genetic make up of a near by feral cat colony.


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Question for the breeders: If you sell an unaltered kitten with a contract that specifies that the new owner must neuter the kitten and that it has been sold without breeding rights, what can a breeder do if they find out that someone has violated the contract and is breeding the cat?
2012 we got our first Savannah from SE and she was a F3 unaltered with no breeding rights and we don't breed we spoil them, we got her fixed and I offered to send the paper work from the Vet that we had her fixed as the contract stated to Holly at SE and when I talked to she told me she did not need it because without breeding rights the kittens can not be registered with the TICA


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@Rafiki - Yes, that my concern - that she is breeding, and clearly not competently!

@Moggiesnewmom - The only backstory I got was the one I posted, but I'm pretty astute about knowing when I'm being fed a load, she was way too nervous. Ours seem to be getting more intense the older they get, especially Bear, but no issues - they are super smart angels most of the time. As long as I make sure Bear hasn't lost his favorite ball, lol.

Here's some pics - I included baby shots (7wks) and recent ones (14wks). Bear is the darker fuzzy one.


You kittens are super cute and look quite a bit like my kitten.

So if I am understanding you, you think maybe the person you got your kittens from had a female Savannah cat they neglected to get spayed and she had an accidental litter which they did not take care of and were giving away without disclosing their Mom is a Savannah?

And you are thinking this because the woman seemed unusually nervous, she has not responded to your questions, and because kittens have traits that may be consistent with them being late generation Savannah’s mixed with something else?

There is many possible reasons the woman may have been nervous, or had something going on she did not want someone to see.

Last night out of curiosity I used google to see if there was any SV breeders close to Eagle Point Oregon and I did see one about 12 miles from there. Reading here it sounds like even the most careful SV owners occasionally have something unforeseen happen, and a Savannah escapes. An intact male smelling a female would be highly motivated to do so. So my suggestion that the feral cat population may have picked up some exotic genes paternally is at least possible. In AU concerns that this genetic drift of serval genes into the population of feral cats would be inevitable and dominate, with an impact on wild life that had never had to deal with a major predator, is one of the reasons the breed is not allowed there.

And this breeder might also know if someone close by was negligently producing Savannah mix kittens.

Like you I also only began learning about SV cats after I adopted a kitten which I was casually told had an F7 SV Mom. And like you I only began reading about the breed and connecting the dots (so to speak) after I adopted my kitten, and like you I have not been able to get any further information. From what I have been told here, there is no way to be sure a purported or accidental late generation Savannah is actually that, without a registered and recorded ancestry. After several months of reading and asking questions, my only conclusion is that people can be nervous and avoid answering questions for lots of reasons, some we never imagined, and pretty much all the physical and temperamental characteristics common in SVs can also be found in other breeds.

The only possible physical feature I have been able to pin point, that may come from the Serval genes exclusively, is the Serval/Savannah tendency for the spots to flow in diagonal lines from the front and top of the shoulder area downwards towards the rear end. I drew a picture and uploaded this to show what I mean, and you will also see this in many of the Savannah pictures posted in this forum.

Maybe someone here will know if this diagonal alignment of spots is also found in other breeds.
(The yellow lines are showing the perceived connections between the spots which form diagonally flowing lines)

I hope me sharing my own experience in this area is helpful...:)



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I looked up that breeder as well (though I could only find the website once, did you happen to save it?) - they have lovely cats. :)

True, people can be nervous for
many reasons. I think she was either giving away accidents or off-types from her cat or, like you said, a fertile male got out and had himself some fun with her cat or a feral one near her.

Our boys have several traits that make me the think they are at the least mixed - they both have the spotting pattern you drew, and also the four lines coming down the back of the head ending in spots across the shoulders. It's hard to see unless they are standing, though. Ninja also has light eye spots on the back of his ears. They stand up straight on their back legs A LOT, and I've seen videos of hunting Servals - both exhibit the same movements when playing. They have long, lean bodies, and really long necks. They make noises like none I've heard from a domestic cat, and love comes in the form of head butts and grooming. They thunder through the house like a herd of horses. They exhibit nurturing and dominance behaviors, etc etc etc.

Basically, everything I've read about breed standards. Bear looks like he has quite a bit of Maine Coon in there - both have some Mau, as well. Most definitely some Serval back there somewhere!

I remember reading your thread a couple weeks ago from when you first asked - your cat is a lovely one, and I see something more than a mackerel tabby.

In the end, it doesn't matter if I ever have proof because I know what they are: beautiful. ;)
Over on thecatesite there is a thread where people can ask what breed their cat looks like, and there is many threads with pictures of spotted tabbies that look a lot like Moggie. There is also many cats with big ears and long lanky builds. Before I got Moggie I had never given much thought to any specific breed and assumed all pointed cats were Siamese, all long hair cats were some sort of Persian, and that my last stocky grey and white cat was part Russian Blue because he was grey, shy and had a plush coat. I now know none of these assumptions were correct! I guess I have learned a lot in the past few months. If I had not been told Moggie’s Mom was Savannah it probably would have never occurred to me to wonder about this, but after I was told this I was curious and then surprised at the resemblance and a bit alarmed and shocked to find myself living with a kitten that was so full on, and then confused to be told it is impossible to know if I don’t know if the parents are registered.

But at about 5-6 months my kitten mellowed and honestly, I think it would have been better to have just enjoyed him without getting sucked into wondering about this. He is an awesome cat and wondering what kind of awesome just clouds what really matters!

But it may not be that uncommon for people to accidentally end up with kittens that have a bit of undocumented exotic or purebred something in them.

A couple months ago I noticed a gorgeous Bengal cat at a neighbors 1/2 a mile up the road, and having just learned these cats existed, I stopped and chatted with them and asked about their cat. They told me they were his adopted people, but he was not technically their cat, though he chose to lived with them, they feed him and he comes and goes as he pleases. They had also taken him in and gotten him neutered with the support of the SPCA and the law. Apparently he belonged to someone who lives a mile from me who maybe intended to breed him, but they found it impossible to keep him in, even though they had a cat enclosure. Instead he kept getting out and spending time with the people he chose, and before he was neutered he was also allegedly badly beating up peaceful neutered cats in the neighbourhood. But before this got sorted out and he was neutered there was several months when he was wandering for miles, and if there is any unspayed cats in the area, people are probably looking at the kittens wondering if they might be part Bengal... with no idea how that could have happened!
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