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How to Determine a Good Savannah Breeder


Staff member
Hi All - if you are a new breeder (and even if you are not), please take a look at what I am going to say. I am trying to save you all heartache and losing cats and yes, the money it will cost you if you have to buy all new cats. This is my advice:

1. When you are looking at breeders to buy from, if you decide on a cat, first thing you should ask - are they PRA, PRA-B and PK Def negative and get proof.
2. Ask to see a video of the kitten...this may help you determine whether the kitten is socialized or not. Also, be sure to get updated photos.
3. Have they been fecal tested? Again, you may have to pay, but it is cheaper in the long run
4. Can you see the pedigree?
5. If you want to breed for BST's or a certain coat color like the non-agouti - ask the breeder to test - you will have to pay for that...

I have seen so many new breeders (and experienced) buy sick kittens or kittens that are PK Def n/k and PRA n/k - I am very concerned about the welfare of our breed if this continues. we should all care about this for obvious reasons.

If you think the breeder is well known or well respected - it does not matter - the kittens should be happily tested and if the breeder does not want to test, then walk away.
I wish I would have seen this last week. We went to a home breeder in Illinois last Sunday and bought an f4 kitten so our healthy f2 can have a friend. We took the new kitten to vet the next day and they said he had a stage 4/6 heart murmur. We took to another vet just for a 2nd opinion and he gave him a 5/5 heart murmur. You can actually feel it when you hold him. The breeder insists they never knew but we have doubts.

We are devastated. Our other cat loves him, i love him. We have been crying for days. The breeder said they just want him back even though we said we would take care of him if they refunded our money so we can use it to pay for the cardiologist, ultrasounds, blood work and medicine. We even understand it will end up costing a ton more if he needs surgery. We are scared they wont take care of him or will try to sell him sick. To never be able to know what happens to this little guy is killing me inside.

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Site Supporter
Welcome, I wish you were posting under happier circumstances, how devastating!

This is just my opinion - if you have doubts that they knew before selling you the kitten, and feel that he will not be taken care of properly if returned, and are willing to provide the care he needs (kudos to you) regardless of cost, then I would keep him. He's clearly already a valued member of your family.

Please do let us know how things work out!

Brigitte Cowell

Staff member
Although the sensible thing would be to return him for a refund, I completely understand your reluctance to do so. I know that I would never be able to return a cat. Instead we spend ridiculous amounts of money on vet bills, but we love our cats so that is what we do.

Is the breeder not willing to accept this is a problem? Do you need to have the diagnosis by the cardiologist vet before they would be willing to refund his purchase price maybe? For their part, if there is a serious issue and you are willing to keep the kitten that is a "win" for them... knowing he is in a home prepared to do all that is great!
Thank you for the replies. Its helps.

Unfortunately, as of yesterday at 3pm, our furbaby went back to the breeder. They came to pick him up and refunded our money via paypal. I’m still a wreck though and wish we didn’t give him back. I’ve not stopped crying and feeling like it was a bad decision, like we handed him back to his captors. I wish we had the money to keep him but my boyfriend refused to let them get away with selling sick cats. I just want him back. I also wish there was some way to hold breeders more accountable. These are living creatures and i don’t feel they knew what they were doing. We will be so much more careful next time. Wish i could save all the kitties

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Brigitte Cowell

Staff member
I understand it was emotionally hard to do, but it was far more sensible to do.

The best way to hold breeders accountable is to tell your story. If you named the breeder but only spoke the truth, it is not slander. But this breeder has in fact been responsible, they refunded your money and took the kitten back.

To be honest, this murmur may have been missed. It's possibly unlikely but murmurs can vary in volume and can be missed even if this kitten had been to a vet. I think it most often missed if the breeder does not take their kittens to a vet, the ones that prefer to do the vaccinations themselves. I personally prefer my vet to do it so that my kittens have at least two visits to the vet where their heart is listened to. As my first Savannah had a heart valve defect (that was missed on five separate occasions by three different vets until he was in congestive heart failure at 18 months), my vet is super careful. They take the kittens to a quiet back room to listen as clinic rooms can be noisy...and when the kitten purrs too loudly they do things like run a tap to distract them so they can listen properly.


Staff member
To be honest, this murmur may have been missed.
I have to agree with Brigitte. Different circumstances can exacerbate a murmur (such as the stress and excitement of moving to a new home) and there are many different things that can cause a murmur. The breeder did the responsible thing by taking the kitten back and refunding your money, and will hopefully get an echocardiogram (heart ultrasound) to determine the underlying cause.
I think it most often missed if the breeder does not take their kittens to a vet, the ones that prefer to do the vaccinations themselves.
Thinking back we were told by the breeders husband she was the one de-worming the cats. Also even though the contract said he’d been vaccinated we didn’t receive any paperwork which our vet thought was odd, especially the rabies.

Also, I completely understand that heart murmurs can be hard to hear, we’ve unfortunately had experience with a cat in the past. About 6 years ago we had a 4 year old f2 savannah that started breathing funny, he was diagnosed with a stage 2 murmur and congenital heart disease a few days after taking him in to our vet. We have however been told, by both of the vets we went to last week, that this particular murmur in the new kitten would have been almost impossible to miss by a licensed vet and felt it had been with the kitten for awhile. You can actually feel the murmur when you hold him. There is no way to prove this, it is just the two vets professional opinion.

At this point i just hope he is getting the care he needs and will survive to live a good life. He is the sweetest most loving, snuggly kitten. Such a small little guy left a big impact.

While I do want to get the story out, I’ve not called out the breeder by name and wasn’t intending to do so publicly at this point since we did get out money back and we were promised he’d be taken care of. I will say however i would not buy from them ever again and would not recommend.

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Staff member
we didn’t receive any paperwork which our vet thought was odd, especially the rabies
Rabies can only be given by a veterinarian, so if the kitten received a rabies vaccination then he was examined by a veterinarian. On the other hand, some states don't require rabies, and some have a minimum age requirement - were you told that he had received a rabies vaccination?