Are you considering getting an exotic cat breed but can't decide between a Savannah Cat and a Bengal Cat? Look no further! In this article, we'll provide a comprehensive comparison of these two stunning cat breeds.
This article is part of
By the end of this article, you'll have a better understanding of the main differences between Savannah cats and Bengal cats. Their origins, physical appearance, personality, health, care requirements, and legal considerations. If you are short in time, here are the top 5 differences between these two breeds:
Origin and Ancestry: Savannah Cats are a hybrid breed created by crossing a domestic cat with a serval, a wild African cat. On the other hand, Bengal Cats result from the cross between a domestic cat and the Asian leopard cat.
Physical Appearance: Savannah Cats are taller and more slender, with long legs and lean bodies. They have large, erect ears and distinctively long necks. In contrast, Bengal Cats are medium-sized with a muscular build, strong legs, and a broad head with rounded ears.
Coat Pattern and Color: Savannah Cats have a spotted coat pattern with colors ranging from golden to silver and even black. Bengal Cats can have either a marbled or spotted pattern, with colors like brown, silver, and snow.
Size: Savannah Cats are generally larger than Bengal Cats due to their serval ancestry. Male Savannah Cats can weigh between 15 to 20 pounds, while females typically weigh 8 to 12 pounds. Bengal Cats are usually smaller, with males weighing between 10 to 15 pounds and females weighing 8 to 12 pounds.
Legal Considerations: While both breeds may face legal restrictions depending on local laws, Savannah Cats tend to have more stringent regulations due to their closer proximity to their wild serval ancestors. Some jurisdictions may have specific generation limits or ban Savannah Cats altogether, while Bengal Cats may be subject to fewer restrictions.
Let's dive in!
History and Origin
The Savannah Cat is a hybrid breed created by crossing a domestic cat with a serval, a wild African cat.
The first Savannah Cat was created by Judee Frank, a Bengal breeder, who crossbred a male serval with a Siamese domestic cat in 1986. The resulting kitten, named "Savannah," inspired the breed's name and marked the beginning of this exotic hybrid breed. The breed has since gained popularity for its striking appearance and unique personality.
The Bengal Cat is another hybrid breed, resulting from the cross between a domestic cat and the Asian leopard cat.
The Bengal Cat was created by Jean Sugden (later Jean Mill) in the 1960s. Jean crossed a female Asian leopard cat named Malaysia with a black domestic shorthair cat with the primary goal of creating a domestic cat with a wild appearance and personality.
This breeding was the starting point for the development of the Bengal Cat breed we know today.
Savannah Cats are known for their tall, slender build, with long legs and lean bodies. They have large, erect ears and distinctively long necks. Their coat features a spotted pattern, with colors ranging from golden to silver and even black.
- Generally less vocal than Bengal Cats
- May chirp or produce other unusual vocalizations inherited from their serval ancestors
Jumping and Climbing Ability:
- Exceptional jumpers, capable of reaching heights up to 8 feet in a single leap
- Highly skilled climbers, thanks to their long legs and agility
- May be more reserved around strangers or new environments
- Require early socialization to ensure they are comfortable around people and other pets
- Extremely high energy levels, requiring ample physical and mental stimulation
- May become destructive or develop behavioral issues if not provided with enough outlets for their energy
Size and Weight:
- Generally larger and heavier than Bengal Cats
- Males can weigh between 15 to 20 pounds, while females typically weigh 8 to 12 pounds
Bengal Cats are medium-sized, with a muscular build and strong, sturdy legs. Their heads are broad, with prominent whisker pads and rounded ears. The coat of a Bengal Cat can have a marbled or spotted pattern, with colors like brown, silver, and snow.
- More vocal than Savannah Cats
- Known for their distinctively loud meows and chattering, often used to communicate with their human companions
Jumping and Climbing Ability:
- Good jumpers, but not as extraordinary as Savannah Cats
- Enjoy climbing but may not be as agile or as eager to climb as Savannah Cats
- Generally more outgoing and sociable than Savannah Cats
- Adapt more easily to new environments and people, though early socialization is still essential
- High energy levels, though not as intense as Savannah Cats
- Still require regular playtime and mental stimulation to stay happy and healthy
Size and Weight:
- Smaller and lighter compared to Savannah Cats
- Males usually weigh between 10 to 15 pounds, and females weigh 8 to 12 pounds
Personality and Temperament
Savannah Cats are known for their high energy levels, curiosity, and intelligence. They enjoy interacting with their human companions and are often described as dog-like in their loyalty and playfulness. Savannahs are also excellent jumpers and climbers, so they need plenty of space and vertical territory.
Bengal Cats are also energetic, intelligent, and curious. They love to play and are particularly fond of water. Bengals are known to form strong bonds with their human families and can be quite vocal when seeking attention. Like Savannahs, they need plenty of space and mental stimulation to stay happy.
Health and Lifespan
Savannah Cats are generally healthy, with a lifespan of 12 to 20 years. However, they can be prone to certain health issues, such as hypertrophic cardiomyopathy and certain genetic conditions. Regular veterinary checkups and a balanced diet are essential for maintaining their health.
Bengal Cats also have a relatively healthy constitution, with a lifespan ranging from 12 to 16 years.
They can be prone to health issues like progressive retinal atrophy, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, and kidney problems. As with Savannah Cats, regular vet visits and a proper diet are crucial for their well-being.
Care and Maintenance
Caring for a Savannah Cat requires meeting its specific needs. They have a high energy level and require daily exercise and playtime. Provide them with a large, secure outdoor enclosure or a cat-proofed indoor space with climbing structures. Their coat needs regular brushing, and they should be fed a high-quality, high-protein diet.
Bengal Cats also need daily exercise and mental stimulation. Interactive toys, puzzle feeders, and climbing structures can help keep them entertained. Their short, dense coat is relatively low-maintenance, requiring only weekly brushing. Like Savannahs, Bengals thrive on a high-protein diet to maintain their muscular build.
Before deciding on either a Savannah Cat or a Bengal Cat, it's essential to research local laws and regulations. Some jurisdictions have restrictions on owning hybrid cats or require specific permits. Always check with your local authorities before bringing home one of these exotic breeds.
Several regions and countries have restrictions on owning Savannah Cats or have outright banned them due to their hybrid nature and potential impact on local wildlife. Some of these regions include:
United States: Restrictions and bans on Savannah Cats vary by state and even by city. Some states, like Hawaii and Alaska, have banned them entirely. Others, such as California, Georgia, and New York City, have specific restrictions on certain generations of Savannah Cats.
Australia: Savannah Cats are banned in Australia due to concerns about their potential impact on native wildlife and the environment if they were to escape or be released into the wild.
New Zealand: Similar to Australia, New Zealand also bans Savannah Cats to protect its native wildlife and ecosystems.
United Kingdom: While not outright banned, the United Kingdom has strict regulations on owning Savannah Cats. Owners may need to obtain a Dangerous Wild Animals (DWA) license for certain generations of Savannah Cats.
In general, restrictions on Bengal Cats tend to be less strict than those on Savannah Cats. This is mainly because Bengal Cats are further removed from their wild ancestors than Savannah Cats, making them more widely accepted as domestic pets. However, some regions still impose restrictions or require permits for owning Bengal Cats.
Here are a few examples of regions with restrictions on Bengal Cats:
United States: Restrictions on Bengal Cats in the United States vary by state and city. Some areas, such as New York City, require permits for certain generations of Bengal Cats (typically early generations like F1 and F2), while others may have no restrictions at all.
United Kingdom: While Bengal Cats are generally allowed in the United Kingdom, specific regulations may apply for early generations (F1-F4). It's essential to research local laws and consult with breeders or local authorities to understand the requirements in your area.
Norway: Bengal Cats are allowed in Norway, but the country requires that only F5 and later generations can be imported or bred.
It's crucial to research local laws and regulations in your area before considering getting a Savannah Cat or a Bengal, as legal requirements and restrictions can vary greatly between jurisdictions and affect your ability to do things with your cat, like traveling or walking them on a leash.
Both the Savannah Cat and the Bengal Cat are unique, exotic cat breeds with distinct appearances, personalities, and care requirements. While they share some similarities, such as high energy levels and intelligence, there are also differences in size, coat pattern, and temperament. Make sure to consider your lifestyle, living situation, and local regulations before choosing one of these captivating breeds as your new feline companion.
1. Are Savannah Cats and Bengal Cats good with children?
Both breeds can be good with children if properly socialized from a young age. However, due to their high energy levels and playfulness, they may be better suited to families with older children who can handle their exuberance.
2. Can Savannah Cats and Bengal Cats be left alone for long periods?
Both breeds thrive on interaction and mental stimulation, so they may not be the best choice for people who are away from home for extended periods. Consider hiring a pet sitter or arranging for a family member to visit and play with your cat if you're frequently away.
3. Are Savannah Cats and Bengal Cats hypoallergenic?
No cat breed is truly hypoallergenic. However, both Savannah and Bengal Cats produce fewer allergens than some other breeds, which may make them a better choice for allergy sufferers.
4. How much do Savannah Cats and Bengal Cats cost?
The price of these exotic breeds can vary widely, depending on factors like lineage, generation, and coat pattern. Savannah Cats generally cost between $1,000 and $20,000, while Bengal Cats range from $500 to $5,000.
5. Can Savannah Cats and Bengal Cats go outside?
Allowing your exotic cat to roam freely outdoors can be risky, as they may be more prone to theft or harm due to their unique appearance. If you wish to give them outdoor access, consider creating a secure outdoor enclosure or using a leash and harness for supervised outdoor time.
Stay Wild, Stay Safe and We'll see you Outdoors!
Albert & Mia