Savannah cats are seriously adorable. Part domestic feline, part African serval, this beautiful feline is quickly becoming a popular choice for cat lovers. But, even though it's giving us heart eyes, this cat isn't everything it seems. In fact, a lot of cat enthusiasts think the cat is troublesome, for a variety of reasons.
While we like to think of cats as just fun best friends (and as fun fodder for hilarious Internet pictures), they are living, breathing creatures who are native to nature. And even though we've domesticated these beautiful animals, it doesn't mean we can't abuse them by messing with their genetic code. Is it right to crossbreed animals for our own personal enjoyment? That's a question we have to ask ourselves.
This Breed Is Relatively New And Still Contentious
The Savannah cat came to be in 1986, after a breeder crossed a serval – a small African wild cat – with a female domestic cat. The serval became a popular pet at the turn of the 20th century, but, because of their wildness, they were hard to take care of. However, after the cross, breeder Patrick Kelly saw his chance to make a new breed entirely. This new type of cat – a Savannah cat – had the energy and beauty of a serval, but was calmer like a regular house cat. Kelly began regularly breeding them and selling them for lots of money.
It Was Super Popular With Most, But Not With Everyone
While these cats are beautiful, they're also part wild animal. Some of these cats are larger than your average cat, and they don't always have the calmest demeanor. Because of this, several states require people to have special permits to keep one, and some countries have banned them completely. The International Cat Association didn't recognize the breed until 2012 – and even then, begrudgingly. The American Cat Fanciers Association does not recognize the breed.
Why? While these cats look like house kitties, they can be very dangerous. Scientists in Australia – where the cats are banned – worried these hybrid "supercats" would destroy native animal species. What's even more concerning to some animal activists, though, is the fact breeders are taking a wild animal, altering its DNA just slightly, and not letting it live a wild life.
Still Want One? You Better Pay Up
If you can look past the other problematic things about these cats, and you still want one, get ready to pay. There are different variations of the cat – a pure Savannah cat is an F1, and as the breed is crossed more and more (and not with a purebred serval), it becomes more common. Just one F1 Savannah cat can cost upward of $20,000. And because they're crossbreeds, they don't always live as long as regular domesticated cats.