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Advice on F3C vs later generation SBT

Hello everyone!

My partner and I want to get a savannah and I’ve been reading a bunch on this forum over the past few days. My partner and I originally wanted and F1 or an F2 - we just love how wild they look and the “dog-like” personality is something that is really attractive to us.

A little more about us, my partner works from home while I have the option to work from home for 1 or 2 days a week. We already have a 5 year old male cat who we adopted from the SPCA (he’s a big boy - 15 lbs and skinny too!). We recently found out that he’s very friendly to other cats so we thought it’s time to get a friend for him.

Since F1s and F2s are more than what we probably want to pay, we started looking at later generation Savannahs. At first we were only really looking at F3 generation Savannahs, however, I started talking to a local breeder who was recommended by a few other breeders in the area and has great reviews. She’s been super accommodating and she has a litter of F7SBT kittens who are all so adorable.

For those who have both F3 generation Savannahs and a later generation SBT, do you notice a lot of difference in personality? Are the later generation SBTs less “serval-ly” than an F3C for example? In terms of looks, my partner and I really like the look of early generation Savannahs but it seems that F3s and later kinda look the same to me. A bigger cat would also be preferable but I totally understand that size cannot be guaranteed so temperament is definitely the bigger consideration. In terms of going on vacation and leaving the cat in the care of a cat sitter, will it be pretty easy to leave an F3C or an F7SBT? We normally take week long vacations a couple of times a year and generally get a cat sitter to feed and play with our cat once a day.

The price for an F3C is around 2500-5000 and the F7SBT is around 1500-2000. Is the price difference worth it to get an F3C over an F7SBT? We are mainly considering male cats at the moment as I’ve read that they are generally more laid back.

Thanks in advanced for all your help and I apologize in advanced if some of the questions I asked have been covered in other threads.

Brigitte Cowell

Staff member
For my mind, the biggest issue when looking at generations later than F1 or F2 is the breeding program involved. It's "easy" to produce cool looking Savannahs at those early generations, and way more of a challenge to produce stunning F7s (for example). So saying that, a good program can produce an F7 SBT that is every bit as exotic looking as an F3...there are some very ordinary F3s out there and some amazing F7s so the boundaries do cross.

So my advice is to really be selective with the breeder you choose. Look at the cats in their program, as kittens almost ALL look looking at the adult cats gives you an idea of what they will turn out like. If there are previous litters looking at pics of them will help too.


Site Supporter
I definitely agree with Brigitte regarding the breeding programs. There are some spectacular F5's and later cats that look just as serval-y as the F3's.

F1's are in a category all their own. They look and act quite different than the later generations. A whole different animal that, for better or worse, retains more serval personality characteristics as well as looks. F2's can be similar in looks/temperament to either F1's or F3's. But, no matter the generation, a savannah is a savannah. You will get the weirdness regardless. Yes, the F1's look super cool but it is the personality of the Savannahs that we all get hooked into. They are all high energy cats that need a lot of attention - a lot of play time and a lot of time hanging with their humans.

As you yourself stated, size is basically a crap shoot. No one can promise a big cat, regardless of the generation. The variance is greater in the early gens. The only thing you can go by is the size of the cats from a previous pairing of the same parents. Male cats do tend to be larger as well as more laid back.

Definitely do your research on the breeders. A good breeder is unbelievably important, especially if issues develop. My girl developed health issues at 2 years old and I don't know what I would have done without their advice and support. There have been numerous stories on this forum of the nightmare of dealing with unethical breeders that sent out sick kittens. Don't get hung up on a kitten until you have checked out the reputation of the breeder!


Staff member
I think you are on the right track by putting temperament on the top of your 'wish list'. And while you can't really tell how a kitten is going to turn as an adult (either in size or looks) you can start to see their personalities emerge by 8-12 weeks of age, sometimes even sooner. You didn't mention how old the F7SBT kittens were, but if they are several weeks old their personalities are probably starting to emerge. If possible, ask the breeder if you can see the kittens, either in person or via videos or Skype (many breeders don't allow visitors, especially if they already own a cat as the risk of bringing in infection to young kittens can be high) and you may find one that steals your heart.
Thank you guys for your reply! I feel good about the breeders I've been talking to. Brigette, I just realized that I emailed you over the weekend and I'm actually talking to one of the breeders you suggested over email! She has the F7SBT kittens and they are are just about 3 weeks old now. The other two breeders athat I've been talking to about F3Cs are pretty far from me and would involve flying but they were also breeders that I saw suggested here in the forum. We are currently in no rush to get our kitten and would rather wait for the right one instead of getting one just because it's available.

I guess one advantage of an F7SBT is if we end up having to relocate in the future, there is less restrictions in other states / countries than for an F3C.

How about when we leave for vacation, would it be more difficult to leave an F3C vs an F7SBT for about a week? He'd have a companion kitty and a pet sitter coming in.

In terms of looks, maybe I'm just not as discerning yet, but most F3s and below kinda just look like large domestic cat to me. Still amazingly beautiful and their spots are beautiful, but definitely more domestic cat than serval.

Brigitte Cowell

Staff member
It's pretty normal to mostly see spot pattern as a sign of exotic looks when you first start looking at the breed. But even if you colored an F1 all black (and as we don't have any black Servals in programs this isn't something we can have) they would still look other-worldly. But then, I detected an F1 in a shelter labeled as domestic shorthair as she was brown spotted and white and the high amount of white meant that the shelter people just didn't even see how different she looked..

I don't think that the care of an F3 is really any different from an F7... so no, going on vacation should be similar. It comes down more to individual differences, some cats are needier or more insecure than others... some are more open to changes and do fine. It will also have a lot to do with how you raise your kitten once you have it from the breeder. I've seen some extreme cases, years ago I had a guy email me because I was a local breeder. He was so excited about his new Savannah kitten so wanted me to know all about her. Which was a little odd as he'd not talked to me when he wanted a kitten... but I remember the pictures and description of how great she was. Fast forward two years and the guy contacts me again but in my role as Savannah Rescue person, wanting to surrender his cat. He was moving and couldn't take her (a typical weak excuse)but the REAL reason was that she was so difficult. She hated everyone, was aggressively antisocial and he was at the end of his tolerance. He asked me to come and meet her so I went over there. From the moment he opened the door I heard growling, as I came into the apartment the growling intensified and then she appeared down the hallway posturing and hissing and growling. So I ignored her. The apartment was bare as he'd pretty much already moved out (people often only think about what to do with their pets at the last moment we've found), there was just her dishes and a litterbox. So I sat down on the floor in the kitchen and asked him to tell me more. As we were talking she came in and kept up her warnings. I didn't even look at her, which proved hard as ten minutes later she was on my legs in my face giving me those warnings. She sniffed me over and calmed down a lot.

It turns out that this guy's friends and family all wanted to be his kitten's friend but went about this the wrong way... they thought that forcing the kitten would "tame" her, so would grab and hold any opportunity they had. The kitten learned that if she hissed and spat at them their hands would hesitate and she could escape... and over time the monster kitty was created. She learned that she could be left in peace if she behaved that way. She's in a good home now, with a person that has let her have her space and they more coexist than anything. With time, Willow has become calm and doesn't need to hiss and growl and posture...but she hadn't come to full trust of humans again.

I know that is more than you asked, but I see people come on this forum asking about kittens and wanting a social loving pet...and I wanted to point out that the genetics of the cat and the socialization from the breeder are only PART of the equation. How the kitten is treated and what exposures it has once in its forever home also have a huge impact. If you want to travel a lot, start having some of those trips when the kitten is still younger so that it is more adaptable and learns the routine of a pet sitter coming in. Start with an overnight trip, then a weekend trip or two first... and work up to a week away. If you want your kitten to be social with your friends, invite lots over while the kitten is younger but really monitor and make sure they are fun positive encounters, involving more play with wand toys than handing around being held.

And good luck with your kitten search. Also remember, you might not just want one cat... so if you get the F7 that doesn't mean you can't consider an earlier generation kitten later on. Often if a cat is to be home alone a lot then a companion kitty is a reasonable don't rule that out.


Site Supporter
Staff member
He'd have a companion kitty and a pet sitter coming in.
Also keep in mind that most cats take a couple weeks of proper slow introduction to get along. So having your pet sitter bring their own cat is not really a good idea for a conducive visit.
Thank you for your Brigitte and DumaLove! Appreciate the comments.

Brigitte - thank you for sharing the story. I definitely would try to learn as much as I can from the breeder and people here to avoid a situation like that. I want to be a good dad to my future Savannah and would not want to end up like that guy's cat. I hope that cat found a good home!

We actually already have a cat - Mr. Kitty. He's 5 yrs old now, we adopted from the SPCA when he was about a year old and we love him to death (I also kinda feel guilty about potentially paying 5k for a kitten when there are so many other cats there). He's still very active and playful - he brings us his toys when he wants to play! Reading about the personalities of Savannahs kinda remind me of some of his personality too. He's been a solo kitty since we got him but we recently found out that he's pretty friendly with other cats and even dogs.

One of our main considerations is getting a kitten who we think have the personality to get along with another cat. We definitely want the SV to bond not just with us but also with Mr. Kitty. We're hoping that they'd be like brothers, but I guess it's hard to predict how well they will get along.

My partner works from home and I also work from home once or twice a week so Mr. Kitty (and our future SV) is never really home alone, except when we go on vacation. Mr. Kitty does get lonely and getting the daily sitter for him to come over and play with him helps alleviate that a little bit. Hopefully, once we get a Savannah, they'd be able to keep each other company!

Here's a couple pics of Mr. Kitty!


Brigitte Cowell

Staff member
My advice is to find a breeder that will be very open about the personalities of individual kittens, there's difference within a litter, some are more rambunctious and super-playful, some are very social/loving and some can be more independent and aloof... and everything in between. Mr Kitty looks like a lovely boy, describing his personality to a breeder allows them to think about what would mesh well.

Is Mr Kitty going to deal well with a kitten that is incessantly asking for wrestling? Savannahs are pretty much perpetual toddlers so they don't grow out of this at about a year old like many domestic cats you need to consider that. Often that means that initially the resident cat cuts them a break for being a kitten but after a year they expect the kitten to be grown and leave them alone... so think how Mr Kitty might deal with a more rambunctious playmate. My british shorthair dealt just fine with my lot...when he wanted play he knew he didn't need to go far to find someone to wrestle with or chase about, but when not in the mood he simply ignored the overtures... he was stoic enough to not be bothered by them...rather than the kind of personality that gets annoyed and reactive. A Savannah can find that kind of reaction worthwhile, and can develop a liking for "poke the kitty to make it scream" kinda fun... I have two F5s here and one of them is a complete troublemaker that way while the other is not at all that way. Full sisters, just different personalities.
Brigitte - those are good points, I have no idea how Mr. Kitty would deal with an extremely playful cat. I guess there's no way for us to really test that, eh? I've been thinking of possibly putting up a lot of cat shelves in our house in addition to cat trees and beds just so they can escape from each other if they need to. Would be fun to get a troublemaker but maybe it's safer to get a mellower kitty, just so we're sure Mr. Kitty doesn't go crazy :)