The Price of Elegance: Savannah Cat Cost (2024)

Savannah Cat Cost - studio image of a young Savannah at with a grey and purple background

Last updated on February 1st, 2024 at 10:37 pm

by Dr. WL Wilkins, DVM, PhD.

From their unique appearance, characterized by wild-like coat patterns and regal stature, to their engaging personalities that often blend domestic charm with a touch of the wild, Savannah cats have become a sought-after addition to many households.

If you’ve ever been captivated by the sleek elegance of a Savannah cat, you’re likely wondering, “What does a Savannah cat cost?” 

The cost of a Savannah cat can vary widely, starting at around $1,500 and going all the way up to $25,000. Early generations (F1-F3) with wild-like traits can be pricier due to rarity and appearance. Later generations (F4 and beyond) are more affordable, making them accessible options for those seeking Savannah charm without the premium price.

However, the question of their cost is far from simple, as a variety of factors come into play, influencing the price tag attached to these captivating creatures. 

In this article, we delve into the factors that determine the cost of Savannah cats. Join us as we shed light on important considerations for potential owners venturing into the world of exotic feline companionship.

What Is A Savannah Cat?

A Savannah cat is a unique feline that results from crossing a domestic cat with a wild cat, the African serval. These hybrid cats are characterized by their distinct coat patterns of spots, stripes, or marbling, their lean, graceful bodies, large ears, and long legs. 

Due to their wild lineage, Savannah cats often exhibit a more active and inquisitive personality compared to regular domestic cats. They may take pleasure in activities such as playing in water, fetching toys, and even walking on a leash. 

Their behavior is often likened to that of dogs, as they form strong bonds with their owners and may even trail behind them around the house.

This breed is a relatively new  one, as the first known Savannah cat was born in 1986. Since then, their popularity has grown and they are now recognized by several reputable cat registries such as The International Cat Association (TICA). 

Those looking to add one of these beautiful felines to their family should be aware of the price of a Savannah cat. Despite their popularity, they are still not widely available for adoption or purchase. If you do find one, you may be shocked at what they cost!

What is it that makes these cats so expensive?

Generation: The Main Factor Influencing Savannah Cat Price

When talking about Savannah cats, the term “generation” refers to how far removed the cat is from its wild serval ancestor. This generational classification plays a significant role in determining the cat’s appearance, behavior, and consequently, its price.

F1, F2, F3, and Beyond: Understanding the Generational Hierarchy

Savannah cats are classified into different generations, usually labeled as F1, F2, F3, and so on. 

  • F1: An F1 is the first generation, resulting from the direct crossbreeding of a serval with a domestic cat. 
  • F2: An F2 is the second generation, resulting from the breeding of an F1 Savannah cat with a domestic housecat.
  • F3: An F3 is the third generation, resulting from the breeding of an F2 Savannah cat with a domestic housecat.
  • F4: The F4 cross continues this pattern of breeding a Savannah cat from the F3 generation with a domestic housecat. It is a notable milestone, as this is the point where most jurisdictions now consider the cat far enough removed from its serval ancestor that it is no longer considered a hybrid and is treated like any other domestic cat.

The above breeding scheme is a generalization only. F1 to F4 males are almost always sterile, thus all Savannah breeding programs after the initial serval-housecat cross require the breeding of a Savannah female to a male domestic housecat. 

However, males from the F5 generation and beyond are likely to be fertile. These F5 males can be crossed with servals or F1 – F4 to produce successive generations that have a higher percentage of serval  characteristics.

savannah cat cost - a domesticated Serval cat with a red collar an leash white blanket on grass
Domesticated Serval Cat

How Generational Classification Affects the Cat’s Appearance and Behavior

The generational classification significantly impacts the appearance and behavior of Savannah cats. Early-generation cats (F1, F2) tend to have a more wild appearance, resembling servals with their distinctive coat patterns, large ears, and long legs. 

They might also exhibit behaviors that are closer to those of their wild ancestors, including a higher activity level and a strong prey drive.

As the generations progress, cats become more domesticated in appearance and behavior. Subsequent generation lose some of the wild traits while retaining the charming characteristics that make Savannah cats unique.

Higher-Generation Cats and Their Comparatively Lower Prices

As you move down the generations (from F1 to F2, F3, and so on), Savannah cats cost becomes comparatively lower. This is because the earlier generations are rarer and more sought after due to their closer resemblance to wild servals. 

As a result, F1 Savannah cats, being the closest to the serval, tend to be the most expensive. As you move down the generational ladder, the appearance becomes more domesticated, and prices decrease.

Higher-generation Savannah cats are more readily available and have a look and behavior that aligns with what many people expect from a pet cat. This availability and familiarity contribute to the lower prices of these cats compared to their early-generation counterparts.

Savannah Cat Cost By Generation

The price of purebred Savannah cats varies widely based on their generation. Here  is a rough estimate of what you can expect to pay for each different generation:

  • F1: An F1 Savannah cat typically costs between $13,000 – $25,000 USD. 
  • F2: An F2 Savannah cat typically costs between $6,000 – $12,000 USD. 
  • F3: An F3 Savannah cat typically costs between $3,500 – $9,000 USD. 
  • F4 and beyond: Savannah cats F4 and higher cost between $1,500 – $6,000 USD. 

As you can see, there is a very wide range of prices depending on the cat’s generation. But even within a given generation, there is a very broad price range. 

Other Factors Contributing to Price

Apart from generational classification, several other important considerations contribute to the overall price of Savannah cats. These factors play a role in determining the final cost that potential owners may have to bear. 

Gender

The gender of a Savannah cat can greatly affect its selling price, especially when it comes to F1-F4 generations. Male Savannah cats from F1-F4 crossings are almost always infertile and therefore have no value for breeding. 

These infertile male Savannahs, while still highly sought after as pets, do not  command as high of a price as their female counterparts which can produce valuable kittens. 

As the generations reach F5 and beyond, the price gap narrows since both males and females can be used in breeding programs. 

Coat Color And Pattern

The coat pattern and color of a Savannah cat can also affect its price. TICA recognizes four colors (black, brown (black) spotted tabby, black silver spotted tabby, black smoke) and one coat pattern (spotted).  

Cats that meet the breed standard and have an optimal coat pattern and color can fetch higher prices. However, non-standard  colors and patterns can also  attract buyers looking for something unique, which allows for a broad range of pricing possibilities. 

Typically, cats with more contrasting spots, stripes, or rosettes will cost more than those with less distinct patterns. 

savannah cat price headshot of an alert young Savannah cat with big ears aqua background
Savannah Cat

Size

Savannah cats come in a wide range of sizes, and the larger ones often cost more than their smaller counterparts. This is directly related to their generational  classification. 

F1 Savannahs are usually the largest with males reaching 17 lbs or more. As you move down the generations, size is reduced but still sizable compared to regular domestic cats. F5 and beyond cats generally weigh between 8 – 16 lbs. 

Health and Vaccination Records 

Breeders who provide comprehensive medical histories for their cats are often able to charge higher prices due to the added peace of mind they offer.  Due to their value, Savannah cats usually come with full veterinary health checks, vaccinations, and microchipping. 

Reputable breeders will also have genetic testing done on their kittens to  be sure that  they are free of any hereditary diseases such as Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA) and Pyruvate Kinase Deficiency (PK Deficiency).

These additional costs are often passed on to the buyer, so cats with a good medical history can cost more than those without one. 

Show Quality or Pet Quality Status

Show quality and breeding quality Savannahs will typically have different price tags as compared to pet-quality kittens. Cats who meet TICA breed standards for show purposes are the most expensive. 

Age

The age of a Savannah cat can influence its pricing. 

For example, Savannah kittens, especially those in the early generations (F1, F2), are in high demand due to their adorable appearance, unique markings, and the excitement of welcoming a new, young companion. High demand equals a premium price. 

In contrast, the demand for adult Savannah cats is generally lower compared to kittens. This can lead to lower pricing, especially if the cat is past its breeding age.

Once a Savannah cat has reached the end of its breeding career, it might be offered for adoption at a lower price. These cats are typically spayed or neutered and make wonderful companions for those not interested in breeding.

Reputable Breeder vs. Backyard Breeders

Finally, the price of Savannah cats is also affected by the breeder they come from. It should go without saying that more expensive cats are generally available from reputable breeders who have invested time, money and effort in producing quality cats. 

Backyard breeders tend to charge less but they usually offer a lower-grade product that is not necessarily registered with any of the cat associations. These Savannahs may have health problems or other issues due to inbreeding, which can end up costing more in veterinary bills down the line. 

savannah cat costs - savannah cat female laying on a cat tree platform

Beyond The Purchase Price: Additional Costs

Besides the initial cost of purchasing one of these magnificent cats, there are all the usual costs of cat ownership to consider. Keep in mind, however, that the bigger your cat, the bigger the costs! F1 Savannah cats are much larger and have different needs than F5 Savannah cats. 

The costs below are largely related to owning a “normal” cat. You can expect to pay substantially more as the size of your cat increases. 

  • ID Tag & Collar ($5 to $20): Typically worn around your cat’s neck, ID tags serve as a means for people to distinguish them as owned pets rather than strays. This simple yet important accessory aids in identifying and ensuring the rightful ownership of our feline companions.
  • Harness & Leash ($25 and up): While most housecats do not require a harness and leash, it’s a good idea to train large cats to use them. This adds an extra layer of control and protection when you need to take your cat out of your home. 
  • Microchipping ($5 to $30): If your cat gets lost, this enables hospitals or shelters to easily identify your cat and recognize you as the owner. Most Savannah cats are microchipped at a young age.
  • Toys ($10 – $30): Kittens love to play, and toys can keep them occupied and happy. Large cats need bigger – and more expensive! – toys. They are also more likely to destroy their toys, meaning replacements need to be purchased more often. 
  • Scratching Posts:  ($50+): Scratching posts and cat trees are essential for cats of all sizes and can be tailored depending on your cat’s size. Savannah cats need to scratch to stretch, exercise their muscles and shed their claw sheath just like any other cat. Big cats will need big scratching posts and will destroy them more quickly than small cats.
  • Food & Water Bowls ($10 – $50): In truth, your cat does not need special pet dishes, but having dedicated food and water dishes that are the appropriate size for your cat is always useful. 
  • Carrier ($10 to $200): In some places, carrying your cat in a car without restraint is illegal. Large Savannah cats will need a dog-sized carrier. 
  • Litter Box & Scoop ($25 – $75): A high-quality litter box and scoop make it easy for your kitten to ‘do its thing’ and for you to manage it. The usual litter boxes may not be large enough for an F1 Savannah, and you might need to improvise.
  • Cat Litter: ($20 – $30): Litter is a must-have for any cat owner. The amount you pay will depend on the type of litter you choose and how much your cat needs.  Larger cats need larger litter boxes and go through more cat litter.
  • Food ($100+): Most Savannah breeders and owners swear by a raw food diet that mimics the wild serval’s diet as much as possible. Quality raw food cat diets cost more than standard dry food, and you can expect a large Savannah cat to significantly increase your grocery bill. 
  • Health care: Caring for your cat’s health is a lifelong commitment. On average, for most cat breeds, we anticipate an annual cost of veterinary care ranging from $100 to $300, spread out over the cat’s lifespan. Initial costs include spay/neuter and vaccinations. Healthcare costs will increase if cats develop serious health issues down the road, such as Progressive Retinal Atrophy or Pyruvate Kinase Deficiency.
  • Pet insurance: Insurance protects investments. Pet insurance is a way to reduce your cat’s healthcare costs. Before signing up for any pet insurance policy, be sure to assess the coverage and compare plans from different providers. 

There are a myriad of other items that you will likely end up purchasing for your Savannah cat. Cat beds, nail clippers, pet shampoo, hairball treatment, and more will all add up over time. 

If you keep track of all your expenses, you may end up very surprised by how much money you actually spend on your pet!

Legal Costs

The ownership of Savannah cats is subject to legal considerations that can vary significantly depending on the region or country you live in. 

These legal restrictions are often put in place to ensure the safety of both the cats and the people who own or interact with them, as well as to protect the local ecosystem from potential harm. 

Here’s how legal considerations and ownership restrictions can impact new Savannah cat ownership:

  • Regional Variations: Different countries, states, provinces, and even municipalities have their own set of rules regarding exotic pet ownership, including Savannah cats. Some places may completely prohibit their ownership, while others might require permits and specific conditions to be met.
  • Breed-Specific Legislation: Some regions have specific legislation targeting certain breeds or exotic animals, which can include Savannah cats. These laws might restrict ownership, mandate permits, or impose certain safety measures.
  • Permitted Generations: In some areas, only specific generations of Savannah cats are allowed. Higher-generation cats (those further removed from the serval ancestor) are often more likely to be permitted because they exhibit fewer wild traits.
  • Hybrid Regulations: Savannah cats are hybrids, which can complicate the legal landscape. Some jurisdictions have stricter regulations for hybrids due to potential concerns about behavior, disease transmission, or escape risk.

These legal considerations and restrictions add to the overall cost of Savannah cat ownership:

  • Permit Fees: In regions where Savannah cat ownership is allowed, obtaining the necessary permits can come with associated fees. These fees contribute to the overall cost of owning a Savannah cat and can vary based on the type of permit required and the jurisdiction.
  • Vet Examinations and Microchipping: Many regions with legal requirements for exotic pet ownership necessitate health examinations by a veterinarian and the microchipping of the cat for identification purposes. These requirements aim to ensure the cat is healthy and traceable.
  • Housing Upgrades: Depending on local regulations, owners may need to make specific modifications to their homes or enclosures to meet safety and containment standards. This might include building secure outdoor enclosures or providing specific indoor environments.
  • Ongoing Compliance: Legal ownership often requires ongoing adherence to regulations, such as regular health check-ups, reporting changes of ownership or location, and complying with inspection requests. These requirements can lead to additional costs over time.
  • Awareness and Education: Part of the cost associated with legal ownership involves educating oneself about local laws, staying updated on any changes, and ensuring full compliance.

The cost and feasibility of owning exotic Savannah cats are greatly influenced by legal restrictions and regulations. Prospective owners must conduct thorough research on local laws, obtain the necessary permits, and ensure compliance with all legal requirements before purchasing one of these animals. 

Savannah cat laying on floor stretching back view showing spotted coat pattern grey background

Final Thoughts

Owning a Savannah cat is not just a commitment to a pet, but a profound investment of time, effort, and financial resources. The costs extend beyond the initial purchase price, with ongoing expenses for food, healthcare, and possible legal requirements. 

Furthermore, the investment in education to understand the unique traits of this exotic breed and the laws surrounding their ownership cannot be underestimated. 

Savannah cats are special, and their owners must embrace the privilege of providing them with a loving home. They can truly bring joy to your life, as long as you’re prepared for the responsibility of owning such an exotic pet. 

Be sure to do your research and always prioritize the safety and welfare of your cat before making any decisions! 

Looking for an exotic cat but can’t afford a Savannah? Check out our Bengal cat information here, this might be the alternative you are looking for!

Sources:

Author

  • Dr. Wendy Wilkins DVM PhD.

    Dr. Wendy Wilkins is an experienced veterinarian and epidemiologist with over 20 years of expertise. She holds a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) degree and a Doctorate in Epidemiology from the University of Saskatchewan. Throughout her career, Dr. Wilkins has excelled in clinical practice, academia, research, and regulatory veterinary medicine. She is a respected voice in knowledge dissemination, delivering factual information in a readable and understandable manner through articles, books, and public engagements.

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