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Am I Crazy to get an F1? I'd like an honest answer from those who have been there?

KKLRx7

Site Supporter
#1
Background
I have a 1.5 year old F2, Echo, who some of you may be familiar with from my posts on Savannah Cat Enthusiast. I also have a labradoodle and an 8-year-old Maine Coone. We travel a lot and I have peace and harmony in the house. I recently hosted a 13-month-old kitten for about a month. We had not intended to adopt him - just kept him for a friend. He went through quarantine and introductions and did end up playing with Echo for the last week of his stay. Since he has left, Echo has been a lot more needy - crying for me to get out his wand toy much more than normal, and more vocal in general. Because of this I have considered another cat; and because this will likely be my last for a long while, my preference would be an F1.

Need...
I'm looking for a good looking F1 I could handle (in and out of the car and carriers), a good car rider, and a personality that will easily meld with others. I know people have F1s like this, but there are plenty who don't and it's the many "bad" stories that make me anxious.

So, here are my questions:
1. Am I crazy? (Am I just anthropomorphizing, interpreting Echo's behavior of needing a buddy now to get something I want?)
2. Am I taking a bigger risk getting an F1 than another F2 or Maine Coone? I have seen and handled an F1 we are interested in that by all appearances, could fit the bill.
3. What can I really expect and what type of obstacles might there be? I can think of health issues (same with any cat but a bigger financial risk, if you will, with an F1; interaction / dominance / bully issues; stress / litter issues (but didn't have it with visitor); any others?

Assuming I'm not crazy...
4. What is the market price for a good F1? I know it's $10-15K but are there more specifics - e.g., this is what you should expect in a $11K cat vs a $15K cat?
5. What health guarantees should I expect and what tests / proofs should I be concerned with?
6. Any other consideration

I am an avid reader of this site (and a number of Savannah FB sites) and I generally know the answers to some of these but would like more recent confirmation from those who have been there. Echo is such a great cat I have not had any of the negative issues I have read about on the sites. I don't know if I'm just lucky or if it's the significant amount of time I spend with him, and the other animals - maybe a little of both. I work from home and am with the animals 70% of the time through the week. We generally take them on most of our trips.

Honest feedback is greatly appreciated!

I realize there are no "right" or "wrong" answers here.
 

John Popp

Site Supporter
#2
My two F1s are so different that for one of them I would say "sure, that would be great", and the other I would say "are you out of your mind?"

As you have a pretty long laundry list of additional behavioral items wanted, I might forego the "looks" part and I also might just go with another f2. The biggest thing is doing your research on who produces very well socialized cats as you definitely have some big asks. No matter what you are going to have a beautiful cat, and you're also going to have a long time to sort out the rest of your list.
 

Brigitte Cowell

Moderator
Staff member
#3
1. Am I crazy?
No you are not! Of course an F1 is an attractive option
(Am I just anthropomorphizing, interpreting Echo's behavior of needing a buddy now to get something I want?)
No, I think if you saw Echo being more active with the kitten, and now being more needy..it's reasonable to interpret that as he may not be getting enough fun and play from his Maine Coon pal.
2. Am I taking a bigger risk getting an F1 than another F2 or Maine Coone? I have seen and handled an F1 we are interested in that by all appearances, could fit the bill.
yes, I think so. I think an F2 would be a safer bet in reality.
3. What can I really expect and what type of obstacles might there be? I can think of health issues (same with any cat but a bigger financial risk, if you will, with an F1; interaction / dominance / bully issues; stress / litter issues (but didn't have it with visitor); any others?
F1s are simply MORE, even more than an F2. So they look more Servally of course, but they also have more intensity, persistence and determination to do/get what they want. This makes them more of a challenge in almost any way.
What you may see is that people post a LOT of their F1 when a kitten and for the first two or three years. Much less when 4-5 years old... they do mature late and so their difficult behavior often isn't evident until then. I've had four F1s over the years, as kittens and young cats they are very social, I could take them to cat shows and have people pet them and judges handle them in the ring...but not as a fully adult cat. Sure there's the odd one that remains easy out and about but most do start really detesting change. Change of environment, humans, cats... they want their routine and anything outside of it upsets them. You've mentioned wanting to travel a lot with your cat so this would be a consideration. Of course, if they grow up with this constantly then maybe the travel then is routine... I don't know. And if you would then be fine with leaving them at home with a pet sitter, it could still work. Once they are used to the pet sitter of course... we have friends that our cats are used to seeing here for meals etc so deal okay with them when they petsit for us.


Assuming I'm not crazy...
4. What is the market price for a good F1? I know it's $10-15K but are there more specifics - e.g., this is what you should expect in a $11K cat vs a $15K cat?
Sorry, I don't know. I think there is both "you get what you pay for" but some "fools and their money are easily parted"... in any generation.
5. What health guarantees should I expect and what tests / proofs should I be concerned with?
I think one year for genetic health issues is standard, 72 hours for infectious diseases. A breeder should have at least done PK Def and PRA testing (both are swabs in the mouth DNA testing so not a huge deal) and it's great if a breeder has done HCM screening but I don't know that any of the F1 breeders do that. I imagine it's harder with a Serval... but I have known of F1s with HCM so it is a risk.
6. Any other consideration
You also mention that you have harmony in your household, every cat you add to the mix has the potential to disrupt the balance and that's a risk no matter what cat you add.
I would also ask about children...is there a possibility in the future that there might be a baby? I will say that it is a challenge having babies and toddlers and F1s. Probably better if the F1 is a kitten and grows up with the children but if the F1 might be 5 years old and you add a baby, they may not react well. I've had Savannahs for 17 years and my F1 girls were 5 and 10 years old when we brought a baby home... we made the transition as easy as possible but it wasn't easy. It was a lot of work to keep that harmony!
 

KKLRx7

Site Supporter
#4
1. Am I crazy?
No you are not! Of course an F1 is an attractive option
(Am I just anthropomorphizing, interpreting Echo's behavior of needing a buddy now to get something I want?)
No, I think if you saw Echo being more active with the kitten, and now being more needy..it's reasonable to interpret that as he may not be getting enough fun and play from his Maine Coon pal.
2. Am I taking a bigger risk getting an F1 than another F2 or Maine Coone? I have seen and handled an F1 we are interested in that by all appearances, could fit the bill.
yes, I think so. I think an F2 would be a safer bet in reality.
3. What can I really expect and what type of obstacles might there be? I can think of health issues (same with any cat but a bigger financial risk, if you will, with an F1; interaction / dominance / bully issues; stress / litter issues (but didn't have it with visitor); any others?
F1s are simply MORE, even more than an F2. So they look more Servally of course, but they also have more intensity, persistence and determination to do/get what they want. This makes them more of a challenge in almost any way.
What you may see is that people post a LOT of their F1 when a kitten and for the first two or three years. Much less when 4-5 years old... they do mature late and so their difficult behavior often isn't evident until then. I've had four F1s over the years, as kittens and young cats they are very social, I could take them to cat shows and have people pet them and judges handle them in the ring...but not as a fully adult cat. Sure there's the odd one that remains easy out and about but most do start really detesting change. Change of environment, humans, cats... they want their routine and anything outside of it upsets them. You've mentioned wanting to travel a lot with your cat so this would be a consideration. Of course, if they grow up with this constantly then maybe the travel then is routine... I don't know. And if you would then be fine with leaving them at home with a pet sitter, it could still work. Once they are used to the pet sitter of course... we have friends that our cats are used to seeing here for meals etc so deal okay with them when they petsit for us.


Assuming I'm not crazy...
4. What is the market price for a good F1? I know it's $10-15K but are there more specifics - e.g., this is what you should expect in a $11K cat vs a $15K cat?
Sorry, I don't know. I think there is both "you get what you pay for" but some "fools and their money are easily parted"... in any generation.
5. What health guarantees should I expect and what tests / proofs should I be concerned with?
I think one year for genetic health issues is standard, 72 hours for infectious diseases. A breeder should have at least done PK Def and PRA testing (both are swabs in the mouth DNA testing so not a huge deal) and it's great if a breeder has done HCM screening but I don't know that any of the F1 breeders do that. I imagine it's harder with a Serval... but I have known of F1s with HCM so it is a risk.
6. Any other consideration
You also mention that you have harmony in your household, every cat you add to the mix has the potential to disrupt the balance and that's a risk no matter what cat you add.
I would also ask about children...is there a possibility in the future that there might be a baby? I will say that it is a challenge having babies and toddlers and F1s. Probably better if the F1 is a kitten and grows up with the children but if the F1 might be 5 years old and you add a baby, they may not react well. I've had Savannahs for 17 years and my F1 girls were 5 and 10 years old when we brought a baby home... we made the transition as easy as possible but it wasn't easy. It was a lot of work to keep that harmony!
This is exactly the type of honest feedback I was looking for. Thank you. I have noticed not a lot of older F1 photos. I do not plan to have more children. My husband and I rock climb and have a cabin we go to frequently that is a 6 hour car ride. Right now, everyone does it fine. Also, we go to FL for a few months in the winter with the crew, so it's another change of scenery. My other option is do nothing and play with Echo more until he settles down. I realize that is the safest.

I appreciate you, and this group. Thanks again. I have a lot to think about.
 

Ninja-n-Bear

Site Supporter
#5
Your avatar photo is gorgeous - does Echo have grey eyes, or is it a trick of the light? If you have any other pics you'd like to share, I'm sure we'd all love to see them!
 

KKLRx7

Site Supporter
#9
I am so glad you asked this. I could have written it myself! I too THINK I want an F1, but I am worried about almost the same things you are concerned about. I had my first Savannah, an F2, for a year and have never been so in love with an animal! He loved riding in the car and in his stroller. I carried him to Home Depot and Walmart where he would ride in the shopping cart. My Mom would pick him up if I was working late and take him to her house for a couple of days. He was just as happy there as he was at home. I haven’t mentioned it on this site, but I lost him about 1 month ago, and I have been crying ever since. I was already looking for a playmate for him before he got killed and wanting it to be an F1. He never met a stranger, but maybe it was because he was so young. I just want to be sure I can handle an F1 in my home, not a fenced in area in my yard, before I get one. Thank you for asking many of the same questions I had. Keep me posted!
I'm so sorry for your loss. Hugs to you! It's so hard to loss a pet. You have your memories and the knowledge you gave him the best life possible.

I've been all over the place on this. I may try it anyway, but I know the safest decision is to leave things as is or get another F2 or Maine Coone.
 
#10
What
I am so glad you asked this. I could have written it myself! I too THINK I want an F1, but I am worried about almost the same things you are concerned about. I had my first Savannah, an F2, for a year and have never been so in love with an animal! He loved riding in the car and in his stroller. I carried him to Home Depot and Walmart where he would ride in the shopping cart. My Mom would pick him up if I was working late and take him to her house for a couple of days. He was just as happy there as he was at home. I haven’t mentioned it on this site, but I lost him about 1 month ago, and I have been crying ever since.
What?! That's awful! I hope you've been getting hugged regularly, wish I could give you one... :( Condolences.