So You Want to Breed Savannahs
So you want to breed Savannahs. I have written about this before, but I feel it is a very important issue and deserves many writings.
You saw cats 101 and fell in love with the Savannah. You started calling breeders asking about kittens. Your first request is, I want a “big” cat! The breeder states the largest are the F1 and F2 generations. You say Yep! That’s what I want. After spending much time explaining the breed to you, you finally ask how much are your kittens. We tell you the cost and hear total silence, or we hear WHAT? Are you joking?
After the shock of it all, you then decide you want to get in on the money boat. So you decide hey I can buy a male and a female and I can make big money from these cats. Here is where many issues come into play. I have had so many people contact me about their cats. (None I sold) but cats they purchased elsewhere and are now having problems. They can’t get them to breed or they breed and kill the kittens or the cat has turned mean or or or… the list goes on and on.
Let me explain my feelings on the entire situation. I recently added 2 cats to my cattery. I was excited to get the bloodlines, but the cats have come with some severe issues. It is a story I am very familiar with. They ran out and bought themselves 2 cats planning to get in on the money. They didn’t research the breed well enough. They didn’t make sure their breeder was going to be there for them through the whole process. ( their story was, no help after the sale by the breeder) Bottom line they probably didn’t do it for any of the right reasons. They saw the $$ signs and jumped on the money boat.
My own experience:
Savannahs can be difficult to breed. You don’t just toss a male and female in together and say have at it, see you in a couple months when you have kittens. Savannahs are high stressed. Things bother them quickly. They take constant handling and constant care. There is far more work involved then people realize.
The 2 cats I have acquired seem to have been through allot. When they came we could tell immediately they had not been around a cat tree much if at all. The photo showed they were kept in very small cages that were made from nylon netting with no support to their legs. Both cats will viciously attack you. In fact I have been doing this for years and have now had my first major cat bite from one of them. Both cats hide behind their trees. Both cats will in fact bite if you approach them at all. We have offered them toys, but at this point the toys seem to frighten them more than they play with. When picking them up it was noted they were being kept in a basement with low lighting next to a furnace that was noisy. Now keep in mind these cats were not free, we paid quite a bit of money for them to have the lines. The owners stated the female had 2 litters and refused to take care of either.
So with this all being said, let me tell you my opinion of what has possibly happened.
They purchased the cats to get on the money boat. All went well at first until the female didn’t take care of her kitten. That’s the first problem. (for them) She then had her second litter of 5 and didn’t take care of them either. They said she delivered them all over the room. The room? huh? Where was her quiet den? It is not uncommon for a female not to take care of her babies in this breed. Especially if she feels threatened or insecure or something has been changed just before the birth. I think at that point they were angry, frustrated, upset and just down right pissed-off.
So what happened to the cats from that point? Judging from the pictures and judging from the conditions on pick up day, they tossed the cats to the basement. I don’t feel they had the greatest of home after that happened. So what is left now? We have cats who no longer trust humans. We have cats who possibly have not had the best of treatment. While the owners say they treated them well, they have also made statements that tell us maybe that’ isn’t correct. Once they realized getting to the boat load of money is not as easy as they thought it was going to be, the cats become victims.
What will happen to the cats now? That remains to be seen. I will devote every ounce of time into bringing the cats back out of this. I won’t give up on them because I love the breed. I do not do this for money. I do this because I love the breed. I love the kittens. I love all my guys and girls. They are my pets first and my kings and queens second. Yes it is frustrating to have a female not take care of kittens. All breeders have been through it. Is it a reason to give up and kick the cats to the side? Well, that depends… why did you get into this? Was it for the money or the breed?
I have talked about this before. Someone buying 1 male and 1 female and jumping into breeding. Please think about what your doing. Please consider the animal first. It breaks my heart to see how these cats are. They didn’t ask for this. It wasn’t their choice to be put into that condition. If your going to try and get into this, think about it long and hard first. Talk to your breeder. Make sure they will be there to help you. I have seen that become and issue too, breeders selling cats to be used for breeding then offer no help after they have cashed the check. Make sure you have a mentor before starting this. Research the breed. Understand the cats and why they do the things they do.
I am by far no expert. I have been doing this for quite a while but to be honest I am still learning. I still ask my mentors for help and suggestions. I still ask them silly questions and why cats do what they do. When I first started, I dealt with many problems and heart breaks too. But one of my mentors said “don’t give up now, you have come so far” That helped me and changed everything for me. Just to know I wasn’t alone, helped. So make sure you find someone willing to help you. Make sure you are doing this for the right reason. Most of all, make sure the cats are your pets first!!!! That way when tragedy does happen (if it does) it’s ok. They are still your pet first. If you have success then it’s a privilege that this awesome pet has given you something extra. Realize you owe them big time.
I have written this about the Savannahs because I have Savannahs. But this should hold true no matter what animal you decide to breed. To all the breeders out there, if your going to sell breeding stock, then be there for the new breeder even after you cash the check. I want to personally thank my mentors for helping me. I know I can be annoying sometimes, but they put up with me. 🙂