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Norwich Bulletin - 9/9/2007

Come Meet the Savannahs in Norwich

In the late 1980ís, a cat owner named Judee Frank in Pennsylvania, discovered that her domestic female cat was pregnant, and the father was her male pet African Serval.

A Serval is a mid-size wildcat, which lives in the African Savannahs, and Judee was completely stunned that a wild cat could or would, breed to a housecat. She named the singleton kitten Savannah.

Although she did not start a breeding program, there were other fanciers that did, and they began working towards the goal of bringing these hybrids to a domestic breed that had the look of the wild, but the heart of a domestic.

They named the breed after the grassy plains in Africa where the Serval makes it home, and also to honor the very first cat who sported that name, probably for the same reasons.

There have been a lot of domestic cats used in the beginning stages of the Savannah breeding program. Oriental Shorthairs, Egyptian Maus, Bengals, etc. were used in cross breedings with Servals.

Kittens from these breedings are called F-1. This means that they are one generation away from wild blood. The males produced from this cross are sterile, so the female F-1ís are crossed to another type of cat. These kittens become F-2ís. And it goes on , until they reach an F-5, which is when the males that are born are not sterile.

Todayís Savannah is a tall, lean cat, with long legs and a long, graceful neck. They have triangular faces and large ears that sit on top of the head. With their dramatic spots and long legs, they resemble elegant, little cheetahs. Savannahs are striking cats with large dark spots and tear drop markings around their eyes and ears. They tend to be longer and taller than most other domestic breeds, weighing in around twenty pounds or more.

This is a high energy breed that loves interaction and companionship. All the cats that have been used in the outcrossing stages, are intelligent, active cats that crave human interaction. This breed will see you out to get your attention and bestow theirs upon you. Savannahs are not meant to be only pets. They need the companionship of each other or a friendly, active dog playmate. They also love high places and, like the serval, most love to play in water.

They are accepted in The International Cat Association as a preliminary new breed and are allowed to be shown as such. The Savannahs will be featured at the Mysticats show coming up on September 22 and 23, 2007, at the Norwich Holiday Inn, right next to Motor Vehicles. In fact, the show will also feature the Kurillian Bobtails from Russia, and the Toygers are back and this time they are competing in the championship class as the newest accepted breed in TICA!

Who hasnít dreamed about owning a wildcat of their very own? And with this breed, you could have it all, but be careful if you live in Connecticut. You cannot own a Savannah (or a Bengal, for that matter) that has any wild blood in it. Our state still has some old laws on the books that prevents us from owning any animals with any amount of wild blood. So if you are interested in a Savannah, you will have to make sure that the cat is an F4 or better Ė which makes it a domestic cat.

If you would like to learn more about the Savannah, please come and visit our show. It's a Helping Paws fundraiser and the cost is $6.00 for an adult entry, $4.00 for seniors and children twelve and under, and if you bring two cans of food for the shelter, you will get $1.00 off any entry.

The times open to the public are from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. both days. For more information about the show, please call 860-267-0496 or 860-434-4328. For more information about the Savannah breed, please log onto www.SavannahCatClub.com.

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