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Legitimate Savannah Cat Breeders - How to Tell

Kristin

Animal Communicator
#41
It is important to do your research and find good, ethical breeders who will support you, especially if your cat gets sick...but what is most important is that you love your cat. Yes, you will find a great cat at more reputable breeders, but sometimes you just have that connection. Nala sounds like a really lovely cat, and that is important too.
 

Bookfaerie

Savannah Super Cat
#42
I have a bunch of stupid questions and I apologize if I offend anyone. As someone who is not a breeder, and is rather an owner, I find it hard to keep track of some things that don't make sense to me.

Aren't all Savannah's hybrids? Why is mixing the genes with other wild cats "undesirable"? Wasn't the whole point of the creation of Savannahs to create a larger more exotic domestic cat? If someone is taking that to another level why is that a bad thing? (I'm trying to get educated here. Please don't get angry. I just really don't understand.)

Also, I've been reading here in the forums and all these threads say if they're not TICA registered then they aren't a legitimate breeder. But then when I asked in this thread, I was told TICA is just a registry. So it's kind of meaningless? What's the point?

I'm really confused and not understanding some of the logic. And really want to understand.

So thank you for taking the time. ~Laura
 

Patti

Admin
Staff member
#43
Foundation Savannahs (typically the first three generations bred from the serval, but in reality anything that is not SBT) are considered hybrids by TICA, SBT Savannahs (those Savannahs with three generations or more with only Savannahs in the pedigree, so no outcrosses or serval blood) are considered purebreds and a domestic breed. USDA considers any cross between an exotic and a domestic animal to be domestic. Every state has their own interpretation of what our Savannahs are - so as you can see, there is no good answer to that question as it depends on who you ask.

Savannahs are a domestic breed that descends from the serval - not the jungle cat, or the Asian leopard, or the caracal, or the Geoffroy, etc. Mixing other wild genes only muddies the water and detracts from what the breed is trying to achieve - a unique looking cat that is different from every other breed of cat. If we mix in wild genes from Chausie ancestors, Bengal ancestors, Caracat ancestors, or Safari ancestors, etc. we can never accomplish that because each of these breed have their own unique look.

The point of creating a Savannah was - and is - definitely NOT to create a larger breed. There is nothing in the Savannah standard that says it should be a large breed, and in fact, the vast majority of later generation Savannahs (e.g., f3 and later) are the size of any other average to large domestic cat. We DO want to create an exotic looking cat, but again we want it to resemble the serval, not the jungle cat, Asian leopard, caracal, or Geoffroy cat.

If someone wants to mix wild genes to create larger cats that is their prerogative. I don't think it's a good or bad thing, it's simply someone's goal for their breeding program. However, I frown on them taking advantage of registering these cats as Savannahs (or whichever breed) because they are too lazy to actually develop their own unique breed, and then riding on the marketing strategies of Savannah breeders (or of whichever breed) to advertise and sell their cats for big bucks.

I'm not sure who said that if the cats are not TICA registered they are not a legitimate breeder. You don't need to have a TICA registered cattery to register litters and kittens as long as one of the parents is also TICA registered. I think more to the point, if the breeder and cats are not registered then how do you know what you are paying for is really what is advertised, be it a Savannah or other breed? The cats could be moggies off the street that the owner decided to breed and because they have spots call them Savannahs and sell them for thousands of dollars...

I also don't know who said that TICA is 'only' a registry. TICA is definitely a registry, a genetic registry, so it allows us to register and track our breed. In addition, it hosts hundreds of shows every year, which encourages breeders to work even harder at developing the best possible Savannahs through the competition of showing. In addition TICA promotes camaraderie and community amongst breeders, and encourages conscientious and ethical breeding habits.
 

Bookfaerie

Savannah Super Cat
#45
Okay I think I understand better. When reading about Savannahs and the original hybrid crossings I remember reading articles about size and exotic look and temperament. But perhaps that was simply old articles not keeping up with where the Savannah is going.

Taran's domesticwildcat IS TICA registered. So when I asked I'm pretty sure someone in the thread said that that didn't have anything to do with "if the breeder and cats are not registered then how do you know what you are paying for is really what is advertised, be it a Savannah or other breed?"

So I'm still confuzzled about the TICA thing. But I think I understand the breeding issue now.
Having a hybrid Savannah is different than owning an SBT Savannah because over time the plan is to create a dominant set of genes that will always produce a certain look and temperament.

Adding other wild cat genes is not in and of itself unethical, but perhaps what is, is claiming they are "savannahs" when in fact they are Savannah Hybrids.

Am I understanding that correctly?

And there is a certain argument that as Savannahs gain in popularity and people like me are looking for breeders, that those breeders of wild hybrids which include Savannahs are doing the community a disservice implying that a hybrid Savannah is the same as a "Savannah". Anymore than a Liger and a Tiger are the same?
 

Pam Flachs

Savannah Super Cat
#46
It is true some breeders do still tout and claim large size for their kittens and cats over health and temperament, which should actually be the first two goals of any ethical breeder.

I think the issue many have with Taran is claiming her Savannahs are F2.5's...this is not a logical designation and I know she has been approached by others that the term is misleading and illogical and still she persists in advertising and selling her kittens as such...otherwise her kitten customers would not come onto this forum asking just what generation or breed their new kitten really is!

A cat registry, whether it is TICA or any other cat registry...can only do so much and must rely on honesty and ethics by each breeder to correctly portray their kittens as the breed they are reported to be. Generally speaking, if a kitten arrives with registration papers or they are sent later after spay/neuter (a common practice), then you can assume the kitten you purchased is what it is registered as, especially if that kitten resembles whatever breed it is purported to be.

Yes, I think you are correct in asserting that breeders who mix cats of different wild-cat ancestry and call them Savannahs or another breed when they look very little like ANY of the ancestral cats is doing everyone a great disservice....unless they take the time, effort and money to actually create a new and different breed of cat that is distinct and unique from any other breeds.
 

Bookfaerie

Savannah Super Cat
#47
I did get a message from Taran: "I apologize if I iddn't make it clear that I will not be selling papers with Nala as I do not want anyone duplicating our own unique line. I only register kittens out of my Don Juan (F6 Savannah)"

I clearly don't understand any of this.
Makes me wonder how I ever graduated college.
 

Patti

Admin
Staff member
#48
I'm not sure I understand your confusion about TICA - having a TICA registered cattery does not automatically make a breeder ethical or responsible. I know many breeders who register their cats and litters with TICA simply to lend credibility to their cattery, but it is meaningless if they continue to do their own thing and are not working to develop, improve, and promote the breed(s) they are using.

Any cat that has a serval heritage can be called a Savannah, but if the cat also has Jungle Cat genes in it then it should ethically be called a Savannah-Jungle Cat hybrid, otherwise (at least IMHO) the breeder is being misleading. If it is a cross between a Savannah and another domestic breed it should be called a Foundation Savannah.
 

Patti

Admin
Staff member
#49
Okay, I just searched and found the previous reference to TICA that seems to be confusing you. It reads: Tica is a registry. That's it. It's not their job nor do they have the money or manpower to enforce ethical guidelines. I'm not sure why this is confusing however. The fact that they are not the Cat Fancy Police doesn't make their existence meaningless as you stated above. They have many roles, some of which have already been discussed, but definitely Cat Fancy Police isn't one of them.
 

Bookfaerie

Savannah Super Cat
#50
I understand what you're saying. But as a consumer the TICA designation winds up being meaningless.
"Having a TICA registered breeder does not automatically assume the breeder is ethical and responsible" seems counter to the concept that one should look for TICA registration to know if your buying from a legitimate breeder.

For a consumer it makes the TICA designation rather meaningless.