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Legitimate Savannah Cat Breeders - How to Tell


Savannah Super Cat
Sorry, I didn't mean to be redundant. I'm having some health stuff and pain is making my brain fuzzy.

Anyway, I can understand that TICA helps give credibility among breeders. But I've read a bit here and elsewhere advising consumers to make sure their cattery is TICA registered, and for me at least it wasn't "enough".

I get NOW that that isn't their job. It's more like registering your car, it doesn't ensure how it's kept nor if someone put a different engine in it.

But I didn't understand that then.


Staff member
Okay, now I understand your point, and basically is the same thing as I said about certain breeders registering with TICA simply to gain credibility. It does make it difficult, but I any consumer should do their due research before committing to spending so much money on anything. The saying 'you get what you pay for' goes for Savannahs as well - if the deal sounds too good to be true, it usually is.

As far as TICA is concerned, I think what is more important is that the breeder is registering the kittens with TICA and offering registration papers with their kittens (and NOT for an additional fee!), and that they are able to give you the generation/TICA registration code of the kitten - then you at least know that there is some Savannah/serval blood in the kitten you are purchasing, and can glean an idea of how much.

John Popp

Site Supporter
There are breeders that simply don't subscribe to the breed standards. Many of the founding savannah catteries also had Bengal programs, and they produced beautiful green eyed, rosetted, long tailed stunning cats. Some of these breeders participated in setting the breed standards, and others chose not to.

If there is to be a breed standard for a savannah, it assuredly should be mimicking the look of a serval. That's not to say that some absolutely stunning cats can't be produced outside the breed standard, just that the breed standard is all we have to keep us from a fluffy tailed spotted gator being labeled a Savannah.

My boy Chongo was as handsome as they come and filled my heart with laughter each day. The breeder he came from unabashedly proclaimed they didn't subscribe to the breed standard, opting to produce more golden cats often with rosettes, and on the larger side of the breed. They were amongst the first breeders of Savannah's and remain one of the largest breeders.

What we have today is our boy Dino, who is about as servally as they come (and soon his brother from another litter). He comes from a breeder who takes the breed standard more to heart, although I never questioned the love and care either breeder provided their cats and kittens.

In all I am very much a proponent of pushing the boundaries in breeding these majestic cats. I'm also a strong proponent of keeping things grounded with a rigid breed standard so the focus is on a serval and the door open for a new breed when someone produces a clearly unique cat.


Staff member
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.
Laura, the fact that your kitten will not have any papers proving what breed she is or isn't just does not make really makes Taran sound like she is hiding something...her reasoning is ridiculous...

One thing a prospective kitten buyer should always ask is whether they will get papers with their kitten. So really, if you have no papers, then the kitten is NOT registered with TICA and you have no idea what the kitten is and what generation she actually is.

John Popp

Site Supporter
Can't they register some cats as experimental? It would seem that anyone who really cared about these animals should have their litters registered to head off future generation health issues. Also, if you have any wishes to establish a new breed, it's not going to be recognized under the roof of a single cattery.

With the beginnings of the Savannah as a breed, as I understand things there was a lot of cooperation and a host of people that had some accreditation behind their breeding programs. Not just frankencat laboratories, but people with true genetic knowledge and animal science studies under their belt. Not that you need to be a phd to breed cats, but you better be well versed if you plan on establishing a new breed.

I did just take a look at the site and outside of it looking like an advertisement to why there should be breed standards, there also didn't seem to be many cats or kittens that looked happy. They played the hypoallergenic card and then quickly swept it under the rug. In all, it didn't say much about who they are and didn't paint a real clear picture of their breeding program.

For Laura, you really need to have some hard lines between the love of your kitten and whatever contempt you have for the breeder. That's easy to say, harder to practice and something that breeders who lack credibility keep in their bag of tricks. No matter what comes to be, you have a beautiful kitten and one that will make you happy long after any memory of your transaction fades. That's not to say that I wouldn't seek some remedy, just that it's totally independent of the ownership of your kitten.


Staff member
John, Taran can register them... She is just not doing it because she wants to "hide" the lines, so no one steals her them... What a bunch of nonsense

John Popp

Site Supporter
I totally understand Paige, just also know that if you have truly experimental cats of a yet to be determined breed you can register them as such. If that's what they actually are, she shouldn't be branding them as Savannahs, but perhaps Alshera's or Alerca's with a Simon Brodie Seal of Approval.

Also, just backing up for a second, to me one of things that most legitimize a cattery is their cooperation with other catteries. Exchanging/borrowing studs, introducing new queens from other catteries and being a good stewart for the breed by helping other breeding programs. That's how we all get ahead before someday facing the issues surrounding bengals.
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.
Yeah, that was me! Raises hand :) At least in regard to policing breeders, TICA does not have that power.
Here-- this is a reason why I'd look for a TICA registered cattery to purchase from-- most outright SCAMMERS are not going to pay TICA a fee to register a fake cattery. Now, breeders can produce TICA registered kittens without being a registered cattery, but it's a small security in this world of super scammers. I personally think if you are actually going to be breeding, why wouldn't you want your cattery name appended to your cats? I'm proud of my crew-- I like seeing my cattery name on their papers and tracing them through that name.