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Expert advise needed please

MissNicole

Savannah Child
#1
Hi all! I am extremely interested in a Savannah cutie to add to my family. I absolutely fell in love with them. I am curious on which type would be a good fit for a first time owner. I am interested in F2's and F3's. I want to raise a male preferably with dogs, my thoughts are to purchase both at the same time and raise them together. Not sure if this is a good idea, but would love to hear advise or if anyone has done the same thing, how did they go about doing so? Also, what are your experiences with F2's and F3's? How are they with family and friends? Looking forward to your responses.

Cheers!
-Nicole
 

Rafiki

Site Supporter
#2
Hi Nicole. Welcome to the forum! I think that raising your savannah with a puppy is an awesome idea! I would get them about 2 or 3 months apart so that you have time to quarantine them separately, get the human-critter bonding process established and ensure the health of each.

I too was trying to decide between F2 and F3. I settled on an F3 for a couple of reasons. I had decided that I wanted a male and my husband was afraid that the male could get large and play too rough with the Pixie Bob that we were getting. Yes, I was one of those rare individuals that was hoping that my Savannah would NOT get huge! I had established a good relationship with a breeder and went out to see the kittens. He had a silver F2 male, a BST F3 female and a Mel F3 boy. In my dreams, my cat had a female face. Well, I saw the little girl and that was all she wrote! I was in love.

There is a crazy difference between an F1 and everything else. They are in a category all their own. I personally think that a F3 female is the equivalent of the F2 male in terms of craziness. The boys are simply much more chill and laid back. Between F2 and F3 males, I don't know that the difference is that great but the F2 male "may" be bigger. Many of the really large savannahs I have seen are F2 males.

Just my humble opinions....!
 

MissNicole

Savannah Child
#3
Hi Nicole. Welcome to the forum! I think that raising your savannah with a puppy is an awesome idea! I would get them about 2 or 3 months apart so that you have time to quarantine them separately, get the human-critter bonding process established and ensure the health of each.

I too was trying to decide between F2 and F3. I settled on an F3 for a couple of reasons. I had decided that I wanted a male and my husband was afraid that the male could get large and play too rough with the Pixie Bob that we were getting. Yes, I was one of those rare individuals that was hoping that my Savannah would NOT get huge! I had established a good relationship with a breeder and went out to see the kittens. He had a silver F2 male, a BST F3 female and a Mel F3 boy. In my dreams, my cat had a female face. Well, I saw the little girl and that was all she wrote! I was in love.

There is a crazy difference between an F1 and everything else. They are in a category all their own. I personally think that a F3 female is the equivalent of the F2 male in terms of craziness. The boys are simply much more chill and laid back. Between F2 and F3 males, I don't know that the difference is that great but the F2 male "may" be bigger. Many of the really large savannahs I have seen are F2 males.

Just my humble opinions....!
Thanks for the quick reply and helpful information! That makes sense to me. What are your opinions on getting the Savannah or the dog first? It will be an interesting introduction but I think they could be buddies. I am in love with the serval ears and have noticed them on certain F2's and F3's.. I'm thinking of getting a male because like you said, they are more laid back.. But all I have done is research.. I agree the female faces are so cute! I wouldn't mind getting a female but I'm not sure how crazy they really can be personality wise. I plan on having children in at least 5 years. Not sure how these guys adapt to change with an expanding family as well.
 

Val

Site Supporter
#4
Cheers Nicole:) I have an 11 month old F3 Savannah. I just love her and her personality, but she is a Diva and a picky pot. She loves attention from visitors that will play with her. We had some behavior challenges, but nipped them in the butt early. Sierra greets me with excitement, come running when I call her and loves to play fetch. She does exhaust my domestic guys. Everyone on this site was very supportive and gave great advice.
I was going to get an F1 first and decided to start with the F3. Happy to say that we are having so much fun that we will be expanding our family with an F1 male in a few weeks. Good luck!
 

Brigitte Cowell

Moderator
Staff member
#6
Hi Nicole, and welcome!

When I got my first Savannah we got a beagle puppy at around the same time... it ended up that we got the beagle about a month before my F2 boy arrived. I do think not getting at exactly the same time is best, even though there aren't the disease issues to worry about it really is best to concentrate on settling in one at a time and forming your bond with them directly.

In terms of how an F2 or F3 will be with your family and friends, it will of course depend on that individual's personality. Just like us humans, some of us are more social and outgoing than others. How they are raised by the breeder will affect this and then how YOU socialize the kitten when you get it. Some people get caught up with their kitten and so don't have anyone over to their place for months and then when they do the older kitten/young cat is freaked out by that change. Just like socializing a puppy, you want to kinda start as you mean to go on... if you want them to be comfortable with family and friends you need to make an effort to have them over to your place a lot when the kitten is new-ish (after an initial quarantine and bonding period). Make those interactions positive ones...so not allowing them to all grab the kitten for cuddles the kitten does not want, but treats and toys and FUN.

Rafiki gave you good information. yes, the largest SVs seem to be F2 generation but some of those F2 males are relatively normal sized. My first F2 was never more than 13lbs in his life. His younger half-brother (same mom) was over 30lbs but the littermate sister to that giant was only 9lbs. I was just messaging the other night with a new SV owner that was so disappointed that her Savannah was not as large as she had expected... she loves the cat's personality so it made me sad that size was an expectation ruining her experience a little. Better to expect a cat proportionally taller than the average cat but not necessarily LARGE...then you might be surprised by more but you won't find yourself disappointed in that relatively unimportant trait...

As to male vs female... males I find are more laidback but also almost more needy of your attention/affection. While the females quietly demand your fealty.... and get it. Despite having some great male Savannahs, it has been some of the females that burrowed deeper into my heart.

As to introducing children, I believe that if you do this thoughtfully it works out. I struggled with infertility for 14 years and so my kitty population was well-established here before I brought home my baby two years ago. I had six cats, of which two were F1s. I somewhat approached it like I would introducing most other animals.... I thought about changes and how it affected them. We accumulated baby stuff slowly and put it around the house. The cats thought the bouncer, cot and swing etc were all great new kitty furniture. When I was in the hospital my husband came home twice a day to feed and play with the cats but also to take a baby blanket that had swaddled our child and he laid them out on our bed (where the cats always sleep). They happily slept on those blankets and we felt that helped them get to know baby's scent. When we brought Lola home we treated it as calmly as possible, let them sniff and reassured them with lots of love. It's hard as a newborn human baby is exhausting, but we consciously made time for the cats for cuddles and playtime. There were issues, one of my cats tried to pick her up like she would a kitten once, and one of them to this day dislikes my child. That can happen when you introduce another cat, so we just manage the situation. On the whole, it went really smoothly but I believe it was because we recognized how huge a change it was to our cats and made effort to help them with that change.So many pet owners don't, they bring home baby and suddenly have not time for their pets who were used to being their owner's whole world and "just like one of their children".
 

Brigitte Cowell

Moderator
Staff member
#7
I forgot to ask what are the most effective teaching methods?
Positive methods... patience and persistence!

Don't expect a cat to be as blindly obedient as a dog. And don't tolerate behavior in the kitten you would not like in a 20lb adult cat. So no playing with your hands, no allowing them to pounce and wrestle with your legs as you walk by. Think how any of that might affect a small baby or toddler visiting your house.

Clicker training works well in cats just like dogs!
 

MissNicole

Savannah Child
#8
Thanks all for being so helpful. This already has helped tons! Now I am unsure if I want a male or female, they both sound like awesome companions. I just love their cute ears! Originally I looked into a serval, I was so in love with some of their traits and looks..but they aren't legal in California and that may be a bit more of a challenge! I am intrigued with size but am more interested in the cute personalities and those ears.. hehe.
 

Patti

Admin
Staff member
#10
Kudos to you for doing your research before taking the plunge! You have received a lot of great advice so far. I think your next step is to start looking, ask questions about the personalities of the kittens you are interested in, and wait to see which one tugs on your heart strings.

As for which to get first - I think that somewhat depends on what kind of dog you are thinking of getting - if a small breed I would get the pooch first, if a larger breed I would get the Savannah established in your home first then introduce the pup. I brought home a Rhodesian Ridgeback a year ago - known as the lion dog because they were bred to protect herds against lions and other predators. With that sort of breeding his instinct of course would be to chase the cats (or worse), but having been 'raised' by my Savannahs he simply sees them as companions and playmates - and his breeder often comments on how he rubs up against her and gives her headbutts like a cat whenever he gets to see her :LOL: