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key differences between F types

James Singleton

Savannah Child
I understand that F types closer to the serval are more wild, but what exactly does this mean in regards to personality? I guess it means the cat is less friendly and doesn't like to be held and more cautious of people it doesn't know. But since I don't have any experience, I'm not sure. Is any intelligence lost the more domesticated the cat is?

Jason E

Savannah Super Cat
If you want to speak on generalities, I would read Savannah Myth's Part 1, specifically Myth 2 as it does a very good job at GENERALLY addressing what you are asking. Typically In most situations I address questions like these as I do about any cat, bred or rescued. It really depends on the cat, and how it was raised or treated since birth...but, I will say a bit more that is savannah specific.

I would still say that these traits really depend on the Savannah. Most people say that overall F1 or F2 savannahs prefer having things their way more than later generations, and if that way is to stay on the ground, then they wont like being held but there are plenty of early generation savannahs that love being held. On other side there are plenty of late generation savannahs that hate being held. There is one thing about Savannahs that I cannot of course guarantee, but mostly likely if it is gotten from a reputable breeder, no matter the Generation, it should not be mean. They are very loving and social animals.

Earlier generation savannahs, specifically F1s, could be more cautious of people it doesn't know, but that again is really dependent on the cat more than generation. Theres a theory that F1s specifically don't make more than one or two bonds with people, so I suppose if someone who is not bonded to them tries to approach them or hold them they could be mean, disinterested, cautious, etc. but then again that is most definitely cat dependent and dependent on the cat's personality. Look for a Savannah with a personality you like/love, and the rest will follow. BUt then again, I don't actually own a Savannah..and I know someone else will respond after me. :p

In regards to Intelligence...all Savannahs are smart..and I really don't know enough to give you a firm answer on if they lose any intelligence, but my gut tells me no. It is more a matter of the cat...not the generation but some people suggest that all F1s are typically smarter then all F5s. This would be hard to prove.


Staff member
Oy, I hope you take time to read through the humongous amount of information here about SVs. Firstly, regardless of whether we're talking about SVs, moggies, or another purebred, any of them can be friendly & cuddly or aloof. All will be cautious -- that's the nature of a predator. In that same vein, all will be intelligent because they're predators. A predator who is dumb and not cautious is soon dead.

The early generation SVs F1-F3 are not more wild (as in wild animal) than any other domesticated cat. Their intelligence and energy level may make them more demanding of their owners time and attention. It's true that F1s tend to bond very strongly to one or two people. However, we have F1 owners here with very social cats because 1) their personality is amenable and 2) their owners have diligently worked with them to develop their adaptability and social manners to the max. When you choose to live with a high energy breed, you have to commit to adapting your lifestyle to their needs. Some of the best ambassadors of the SV breed have been early generation SVs (google Trouble and Kilimanjaro SVs just to name a few).

We often hear that SVs are "dog like" and in my personal experience, I can attest to that. I have 2 F2s (one is a higher percent F2) and one F6. I work with the F2s a though they are dogs -- leash training, obedience training to the extent possible, and lots and lots of socialization with lots of people and other animals we meet on walks and in other places. One of my F2s loves anyone and anything he meets. He's a total lap cat and purring machine. The other is cautious about new people, places, & things. He is not a lap cat and I can cuddle and pet him only on his terms.

My F6 is a monster -- think totally spoiled 2yr old bratty child and you sort of have the picture. He is the instigator of all the trouble in the house and is #1 in the hierarchy. He weights 10 lbs and completely dominates my 22 lb. & 16 lb F2s. And stubborn...I can't even begin to describe how stubborn he is. And yet, he's a complete love bug when it comes to me and my husband. He warms up to guests only after he's seen them about a dozen times. He is the least social of the 3.

I've seen no intelligence difference between my F2s and my F6. They teach each other things -- things I wish they wouldn't -- like how to turn on the lights and the faucets in the kitchen and laundry room. They study what I do and then try to imitate things that they find interesting.

The personality type of the cat depends on genes and the quality of socialization done by the breeder before the cat leaves for its forever home. Then once it's home, further personality development depends on the partnership between the cat and the owner.


Savannah Super Cat
None are "wild" unless by wild you mean stampeding through the house at Mach 80. I have 2 f2s, and just like any other kitty cat, they have their own personality. They are both high high energy, but that is who and what Savannahs are. My female does not want to be picked up and held. She will let me, but it is clear that is not her idea of a good time. She is incredibly loving though and will curl up in my lap and purr like a machine. She is always in the same room as us, and tends to lay on my computer when I am working as she is very helpful. She sleeps on my husbands legs and will literally howl at him until he lays on his back so she can lay down in her comfy spot. These kitties are very good at training you. Very good.

My male, on the other hand, loves to be held and will jump from the ground into your arms if you don't pick him up quickly enough. Now he is still very much a baby at ~13 weeks, so we will see if that lasts as he grows up. He purrs all the time. I think his purr is broken, in fact, because he doesn't stop. Ever. They both stay in the room when non family members are here, but Nyah won't let strangers pet her. Kovu will, but not right away, and again, he is a baby.

They are both smart. Scary smart. Nyah opens doors, she throws things off counters if you tell her no. Kovu looks like you took his favorite teddy bear away when you tell him no, and he sulks if you put him down after the third "no bite" conversation. He knows he isn't allowed to bite, because he looks right at you after he does it, which makes it hard to really hold your ground on not allowing the behavior.

As I type this, Nyah walked over, bopped her baby brother on the head and just crawled in my lap daring Kovu to even look at her. These guys are incredibly entertaining, but you need a very good sense of humor to live through it!


Savannah Super Cat
My F5 Whiskey is incredibly smart. She gets into trouble but because she does it when my back is turned, one of the other cats always gets yelled at for it. Oh and when I call "Oh favored one" to her, she knows I'm talking to her. But she's sweet and loving too. She whispers to me sometimes when I pet her and when she wants to be petted, she'll let me know.

Pam Flachs

Savannah Super Cat
Is any intelligence lost the more domesticated the cat is?[/quote]

Au contraire! I honestly believe a few of my lower generation cats...specifically my F7SBT girl and her F8B daughter, exhibit higher intelligence than my other SVs, based on their problem solving abilities. Door handles, closet locks, drawers; they can open them with ease. I swear you can see them thinking out loud. I sometimes shudder wondering what they are plotting next; it usually involves ambushing the quieter, no-problems ever cats, like the F2-F3 girls. Perched from above, these two will push an object to the floor just to see the other cat jump and pee in fright. Then they grin and look smug...naughty, evil girls. They also happen to be the two biggest trouble-makers here in many other ways. In fact, one of them is in time-out right now...a trick that does seem to work for those two because they are smart enough to know they are in trouble...but heaven forbid what revenge they are planning. Oh, and they sulk mightily, too, when I show attention to another cat in their presence. Ironically, these two devil-spawn girls are incredibly sweet and loving to us and maybe one another cat, whoever happens to be their flavor of the day. I have to admit I enjoy most their pranks because they make me laugh, except when it involves being mean to another of my girls. Teen girls have nothing on these two.....


Chirps & Massive Headbutts
I understand that F types closer to the serval are more wild, but what exactly does this mean in regards to personality?

It may vary dramatically even within F types. I own both an F1 male (56%) and F2 male (35%). My F1 is about 9 months, my F2 is about 12 months now. They may or may not be representative of other SV's out's anyone's guess really. Here's some personality traits I've observed of my two critters:

Who likes to sleep next to me? My F1
Who likes to be petted more? My F1
Who perches on top of my highest counter tops beyond 10 ft high? My F2
Who likes to door dart? My F2
Who likes water more? My F1
Who is the pickiest eater? My F2
Who likes to be held more? My F2, but my F1 is starting to change and likes it now.
Who is more skittish around strangers? tie
Who is the king of head butts? My F1
Who is more obedient? My F1
Who runs faster? My F2
Who jumps higher? My F2
Who follows me around the most? tie...well if one follows you, the other is surely not far behind.
Who is more 'honest' when getting in trouble? My F1, haha...My F2 acts like mr innocent but he's not:)

Both of my critters are insanely intelligent...I mean I can talk to them and they damn near understand me intelligent:)

Brigitte Cowell

Staff member
I guess for me, I think domestic shorthairs can be amazingly smart and very first cat was a black kitty I chose when I was 4 years old and he was so very smart. He ruled our house and the dogs and even bullied my younger sister (I'm ashamed to have been supportive of this as a child) many stories on how smart that cat was. And then just before we got Savannahs the domestic shorthair we had (a brown spotted tabby named Wasabi) was also super-smart, interactive and amusing. If we got her now from the shelter I think I'd be imagining she was a Savannah too...

Savannahs are a LOT of cat, but there are plain domestic cats that are similar. Just we select a breed because more of that breed will conform to that personality or look.