Savannah cats are one of the most beloved new cat breeds out there, prized for their beautiful coats, large sizes, long lifespan, and, most importantly, their amiable personalities. Savannah cats are often touted as a fantastic cat breed for dog lovers. Why? Well, the people who tend to make that recommendation say that Savannah cats have personality and behaviors very like the personality found in many dog breeds. So, do Savannah cats act like dogs?
Savannah cats resemble dog behavior, however, this depends on each individual cat. Savannah cats can be trained, and usually have stronger hunting instincts that most dogs. While they may show their loyalty differently than other cats, Savannah cats often have more of an independent streak that most dogs. Their personalities are unique, not entirely dog-like, but novel among cat breeds as well.
Of course, individual variations may make a Savannah cat seem more or less dog-like. A lot of your cat’s personality depends on how you and your cat interact, and what kind of environment you provide for your Savannah cat.
Do Savannah Cats Get Along With Dogs?
Savannah cats typically do reasonably well with dogs. They are inquisitive and relatively confident as a rule, and it does help that many Savannah cats grow to large sizes. Since Savannah cats and dogs have some similar play styles, you might be able to get these two pets together.
However, there are no universals when it comes to introducing cats and dogs together. Some dogs are cat-averse, and likely will have a hard time getting along with any cat, including a Savannah cat. Some breeds are more cat-aggressive than others, and it’s best to take things very slow if you’re trying to introduce dogs from those breeds to a Savannah cat.
At the same time, some Savannah cats are more dog-averse than others. Fortunately, Savannah cats can usually overcome those problems, especially if you catch the problem young and move slowly as you introduce your cat and dog.
Cats and dogs also usually do better when they are raised together. That doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to get your puppy and Savannah kitten at the same time. Instead, if you want to have cats and dogs together, it’s a good idea to make sure at least one of the animals was raised with the other.
It’s also essential to match the temperament of the animal when introducing them. If your dog is very placid and calm, it may work to introduce them to a kitten better than it would work to introduce an adult cat to a puppy.
Whatever the combination of pets, it’s important to start slow. Expose your pets to each other’s scents and let them interact under a door or additional barrier before you start full introductions. Always watch your animals to make sure they aren’t getting stressed or becoming aggressive and try to end introductory meetings on a high note.
Having treats for both animals can help early introductions. Later on, you may want to start introducing toys, so that they can see each other playing while you’re still supervising their interactions closely.
Savannah Cat Personality
While it’s not entirely accurate to say that Savannah cats have a dog-like personality, it’s not entirely untrue either. The more precise description of Savannah cats is that they are their own animal and have some of the best traits of both their ancestor breeds, Servals, and domesticated cats.
Savannah cats are highly loyal. They like spending time with their owners, and many Savannah cats will develop clear favorites in their adoptive family.
It’s not uncommon to find that your Savannah cat likes to follow you around the house. Even when they are doing their own thing, Savannah cats want to be near their human companions.
However, that loyalty can be a double-edged trait. Savannah cats are usually wary of strangers, people, and other animals alike. You can help your Savannah by socializing them early and often, inviting new people over, and preferably socializing them with other pets starting in kittenhood.
The earlier you start introducing your Savannah cat to other people and animals, the more likely they will be able to handle strangers and new pets later in life. This isn’t one and done, though, consistent socialization is key to keeping your Savannah cat sociable and accepting of others.
Savannah cats are also naturally curious, which helps with leash training and can also make them slightly mischievous. A bored Savannah cat is likely to get into trouble, so it’s essential to make sure you’re providing plenty of toys and cat-furniture for them to interact with.
Treat puzzles and other mentally engaging toys that are particularly popular with this breed. You may have good luck with toys designed for small to medium dogs alongside more typical cat toys.
Savannah cats also naturally enjoy the water, so giving them occasional baths or small pools to play in can help keep them entertained. It is a great way to enrich their environment and stave off boredom.
Walks on a leash are also a great idea. Savannah cats like to explore new spaces and eagerly ask for a walk, especially if you start them with a leash early.
You should also know that many Savannah cat owners are shocked by how energetic these cats tend to be. Unlike most domesticated cats, Savannah cats often prefer being up and moving over napping. They also stay energetic longer, remaining an active breed most of their life instead of settling into more sedate habits as they approach adulthood.
Are Savannah Cats High Maintenance?
This question depends a lot on your perspective. You might find Savannah cats to be a little challenging if you’re used to a low-maintenance and relatively sedate breed of cat. But if you’ve taken care of other high-energy breeds of cat, or have owned a large dog, you’re probably well prepared for a Savannah cat.
Many people are intimidated by complex breeder diets that include raw meats and bone, or the idea of owning a cat that wants daily walks like a dog. Fortunately, Savannah cats don’t require a complex diet; they need high-quality nutritionally complete food and can eat store-bought and homemade meals.
Savannah cats’ high energy can also be managed without walks or a ton of effort. Invest in a range of good toys, occasionally bring them new ones, and let them play in a dish or tub of water now and again, and many Savannah cats will be perfectly content.
Adding fetch or walking to your cat’s routine may be a great way to burn excess energy, but it isn’t a requirement of owning one.
The one area that we will say can make Savannah cats rather high maintenance is their cost and legal status. Savannah cat breeding is relatively challenging and expensive compared to other cat breeds, making them one of the more costly cats to purchase.
There are also some legal complications to owning a Savannah cat, depending on where you live. Since they are descended from a wild cat, they are restricted in some states, and outright illegal to own in a couple.
If you’re interested in owning a Savannah cat, you should first check their legal status and any restrictions in your county and state. Most breeders are also well informed, but they may not be familiar with the latest state requirements and legality changes.
Fortunately, Savannah cats are currently legal through most of the United States.
Can You Train A Savannah Cat?
Yes, sort of. Savannah cats can be trained to show certain behaviors and avoid others, just like other cats. They do tend to be slightly more receptive than most breeds and take to new experiences like walking on a leash, relatively well.
You can also expect your Savannah cat to learn a few simple commands and might be able to train them to sit and come on command.
But training Savannah cats usually takes more effort than training a dog and isn’t always as successful. While your cat will learn a few commands with ease, they won’t learn complex commands. Your cat will usually learn slightly fewer commands than your dog can so prioritize which commands are most important to you.
Clicker and treat training is both reasonably effective, but your cat probably won’t respond very well to discipline-based command training.