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Purchasing an older savannah

Hi everyone.

So I've been in love with the savannah breed for awhile and I'm starting to begin my search towards finding one. While I love all savannahs, I really am more in the market for an F1 or an F2 which I know the finding of can be an involved task in of itself.

Now to further complicate the matter, I actually think I would prefer to adopt an older cat if possible rather than a kitten. Now don't get me wrong, I love kittens and how adorable they are as much as the next person.....but I've had many a kitten in the past and while adorable they certainly are a handful. The biggest motivator for me is that I want to know what I'm getting into personality wise when I get my cat. I know a lot of people love the idea of their cat growing up with them and being able to train/bond with them from "day 1", but personally I think I'd rather be able to assess the cats developed personality and be able to judge whether we'd make for compatible companions....and also their fit to be a companion to my cat (a super energetic spitfire, who absolutely loves to play with other cats.........or more honestly loves to cause mischief with other cats)

Now I know there is the possibility of purchasing retired breeders, but my question specifically is does this occur with f1s or f2s often and how to search for it. Also due to what I've heard of the temperament of F1s (and possibly f2s) I know they aren't the best at adapting to change, probably especially at an older age so I'm wondering if it's even really a viable option to have one rehomed after kittenhood. I feel as though I'm up to the task of working towards bonding with an older cat (the one rescued cat I currently own has had a host of behavioral/attachment problems that I've had to work through and through patience, luck, and respect her behavioral issues are almost no more) but I would want to know how the savannah's temperament affects them in this regard.

I understand there's not a lot of people who buy F1s and then just give them up so I get it's not a huge market pool.....but if there's any advice people would have about how to look and just see what options are out there or advice I would be greatful.


Staff member
You can get on the list for SV rescue list (join the yahoo group). You can also choose a few reputable breeders in your area or close to you and tell them what you are looking for, develop a relationship with them, and wait for a retired breeder. Your chances of getting an F2 are a bit greater, I think, than an F1. I do see retired F1s for sale occasionally on some breeder sites that I randomly peruse. You already know that you'll be getting a female if you want a retired F1/F2 breeder.

The breeder members here will probably give you more specific advice than I can. If you don't get a cat through SV rescue where the personality has been vetted then:

** Be choosy. Don't jump at the first opportunity for a cat because the price is right. Be sure to buy the cat from someone who has a solid reputation. Meet the breeder and the cat if at all possible. The behavior of the cat at the breeder's is not necessarily an accurate indication of what it will be like in your home. Friendly at the breeder's could turn into hostile in a new environment and vice versa. You will not be able to accurately assess the personality of the cat until you have lived with it for awhile. It could take years for a relationship to develop regardless of the cat's personality.

** Make sure the sales contract carries a contingency for return of the cat if it doesn't adapt to your home. Most contracts carry this clause; if it's missing, run the other way and don't look back.

** Be completely sure that you will be satisfied owning a cat for life that may not bond completely with you. Will you be happy with a cat that coexists in your home but may never cuddle or at best, allow a few pets but not establish a close relationship with you. This could be the outcome of adopting an adult regardless of generation. We have members here who have taken on some serious challenges with adults and established excellent relationships with them. You just have to be sure you can live with the outcome either way it goes.

This thread is a good example of a great outcome

** Don't discount an older kitten. Breeders sometimes have older kittens (around 1 yr old or slightly younger) and may sell them for less than usual asking price because they are older or perhaps because they are a nonstandard color or were being held back as a possible breeder that didn't work out.

Lastly, if you are truly interested in an F1/F2 then make absolutely sure you are ready for the intensity of the relationship. Basically, they are cats and carry all the quirks and traits of any other cat, but they do it as if they are on steroids. It's difficult to describe and I think one has to actually experience it in order to completely understand. And you will find, regardless of the generation, that you will have to adapt your lifestyle to theirs. It won't happen the other way around.


Staff member
It can be a bit dicier purchasing a retired breeder - first they've probably not lived in the home underfoot because intact adult cats spray - both male and female, so even if they've been brought in after being spayed they may not have the same interest in human companionship that a kitten raised underfoot would. Also, they have lived in the same place with the same people for most all of their lives, adjusting to a new home can be difficult. I'm not saying that this is always the case, but I have several retired breeders that I wouldn't even consider trying to rehome because I believe it would be too stressful on them - and the new home.

Having said that, I do have an F2 female and an F5 male, both of whom I believe would do well if rehomed so there are some out there if you keep looking, however they both have their own special quirks so I am still waiting for the just the right home for them.

You might want to join savannahcatsavailable - that is a Yahoo group used specifically for listing older Savannahs that are available:

Brigitte Cowell

Staff member
As Patti says, the important information if looking at a retired breeder is if that cat EVER lived as a pet in a home before. If not, then there is a lot of work to be done and no guarantee the cat will ever really be the pet you want. But I think most do start out as housepets until they might start spraying etc.

By adopting an older cat though, you will take on a longer introduction but also if a retired breeding female you may find that they are competitive and dominant towards another female cat, and it sounds as if your current cat is a female? And it sounds like your current cat is a fairly assertive type possibly too so that has to be factored into the equation.

When thinking about a rescue, you probably need to know that Savannah Rescue has over 11,000 on our notification list and obviously the early generation cats get the most applications. We tend to match the cat via their specific needs but also with location as we prefer not to ship them from where they are surrendered (and often it isn't even possible).

I'd also point out that Savannahs don't really ever "grow up" like most cats might. While certainly as kittens they are crazier, they don't ever really settle down like an older domestic does. My eldest F2 passed at 12.5 years of age and was still at attention the moment I picked up a wand toy. My 8 year old F1 girl is still completely frenetic and insane. F1s have a level of intensity and determination that really doesn't diminish too much...


Eddies a ham!
We adopted 3 yo Mojo, after having visited this forum for awhile, seeing the respect shown to each other here via the breeders & purchasers; knowing he would come with "issues", expecting a "not very friendly" companion...having said that he came into "our world" hissing & spitting (Tigger hid for 3 days!), now...Mojo climbs up on my lap, pats my face for attention, yells at me for snacks, opens the fridge...we were VERY VERY LUCKY! GOOD LUCK & take nothing less than your dream cat, knowing it will take time & patience...and maybe a few delicious treats to win over the most loyal, intelligent cat you will ever have the pleasure of serving! Buying a kitten still leaves you guessing at the end product...our biggest cat is Mojo (thanks to Trish), our biggest personality is Eddie (thanks to Kelli), & our "Baby" is a 15 pound Bengal called Tigger (rescued from Petsmart).
I hope bronwyn and myself never gave you the impression that Mojo wouldn't be a sweet guy! But yes, I do warn that rehoming adults can be traumatic and Mojo was a quieter type in Bronwyn's home. So I did expect it to take a while for him to settle :) but I never expected a mean or nasty boy! He was always a doll, just not as outgoing as some of his siblings.

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk


Eddies a ham!
She told me he preferred to be left alone, might growl & hiss but never bit anyone, he didn't get along with the other animals but avoided them & I had to be prepared for a cat that was not "a lover"...he slept on my husbands shoulder in the recliner part of last night; my husband saying "but I can't wake him up look how adorable he is"....Thank you, Trish for introducing me to Bronwyn! I've sent her more updates on Mojo than Kelli about Eddie.
She told me he preferred to be left alone, might growl & hiss but never bit anyone, he didn't get along with the other animals but avoided them & I had to be prepared for a cat that was not "a lover"...he slept on my husbands shoulder in the recliner part of last night; my husband saying "but I can't wake him up look how adorable he is"....Thank you, Trish for introducing me to Bronwyn! I've sent her more updates on Mojo than Kelli about Eddie.
Awww! I have to imagine Mojo just wasn't in the right home. It really shifted over the past few years into a busier and busier household. Sometimes, kitties need a calmer home :)