Savannah Cat - breed information and advice

The exotic Savannah is elegant and lean, with long legs, a graceful neck and tall ears. Together, these features make the cat look large, but in reality, most Savannahs are the size of any other big domestic cat. Its spots are distinct and round, much like the Serval (a type of tiger forest cat), from which it is bred. These are very intelligent cats that can work out how to open doors and drawers - and invent their own games such as 'go fetch'! They have boundless energy and are very devoted to their owners.
To ensure your Savannah cat is protected in the case of an emergency, take a look at our cat insurance policies.

Breed information


Colour: Can range from orange to brown, black or silver, but always with the distinctive spots.

Coat: The Savannah is short-haired and doesn't require much grooming.

Life span: Well looked-after Savannah cats can live for 15 years.

Eye conditions

Like all cats, the Savannah can suffer from eye problems such as glaucoma (caused by increased pressure inside the eyeball); cataracts (opacity of the lens); entropion (inward rolling of the eyelids); retinal problems; or conjunctivitis (inflammation of the insides of a cat’s eyelids). Of these, Savannahs are most prone to conjunctivitis, which has various causes including infections, scratches to or something within the eye’s surface, a lack of tear production, allergies, or entropion. Treatment of each eye condition depends on the type and severity of the problem, although many are treated using eyedrops.


Glaucoma is the most common eye condition we see in Savannahs

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Infectious diseases

Savannahs, like other cats, can suffer from a number of infectious diseases. These include viruses (like feline leukaemia virus, FIV or cat flu), bacteria (which cause abscesses) or other less-common infections like toxoplasmosis and chlamydia (which cause brain and eye diseases). FIP (feline infectious peritonitis) is a condition which starts with the common signs of infection but can become more serious. Depending on the infection, antibiotics may be used as a treatment. Whilst feline leukaemia and cat flu can be vaccinated against, unfortunately there is no vaccine against FIP and FIV both of which are aggressive viral infections that eventually prove fatal.


Infectious diseases are the second most common illnesses we see in Savannahs

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Gastrointestinal tract disorders

The Savannah, like all cats, can suffer from problems affecting the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. The GI tract is a long, winding tube that starts at the mouth and ends at the anus, with various twists and turns along the way. Conditions such as gastroenteritis caused by infections (like feline enteritis), poisoning or an obstruction within the bowel (due to the cat eating string for example) commonly cause vomiting and/or diarrhoea. Savannahs can be prone to giardia, a parasite which is found in the small intestine. They become infected with giardia from other cats or by drinking water containing the parasite. Treatment for giardia is given via a combination of medicines. For other gastrointestinal disorders, treatment depends on the exact cause, but prompt intervention usually results in full recovery.


In our experience, Savannahs are most likely to need treatment for gastrointestional

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Conditions that affect a cat’s bladder and urethra are collectively known as feline lower urinary tract disease (FLUTD), which is more commonly referred to as cystitis. Savannahs can suffer from these conditions, which can be caused by stress, not urinating enough, infections and bladder stones or crystals. Cats suffering from cystitis make frequent, painful attempts to urinate, and blood is often found in the urine. Treatment depends on the cause, but cats diagnosed with cystitis will usually require pain relief, access to plenty of water, special diets and perhaps some help to reduce stress.


We paid £3,138 to treat Sky the cat for cystitis in 2016

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Kidney disease

Cats’ kidneys are responsible for filtering the waste products from their blood into their urine. Savannahs may be affected by kidney disease caused by infections, blockages, tumours or toxins (especially licking anti-freeze) as well as age related changes. Chronic kidney disease occurs when the kidney function deteriorates gradually over a period of time. Treatment depends on the cause and the extent of damage, but usually begins by flushing the kidneys using intravenous fluids, followed by special diets and medications. Unfortunately kidney disease is irreversible, but with the right support many cats can enjoy a reasonably normal life.


Kidney disease is the most common urinary problem we see in Savannahs

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