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Bengals and Savannahs, other pure-breds: What are they like?

post #1 of 28
Thread Starter 
Those of you with experience with Bengals and Savannahs-- what are they like to live with? What special needs do they have compared to "regular" cats? How do they generally get along with other cats and dogs?
I have read that they can be predatory towards other cats.
I have owned DSH moggies, and have long been interested in knowing about pure-bred cats-- including Siamese, Abysinnian, etc.
Thanks for any responses-
Robyn, cat-slave to Thomas, Hobbes, Felix, Smeagol, Chumley, Smitty, Cricket and last but not least, Maggins (renamed from Norah, our newest feline family member)
post #2 of 28
I d/k about those two breeds except what I've read about them. I think(?) Bengals have very little 'wild' blood whereas, the Savannahs have more requiring 'special' care.

As to other "purebred" cats, I can't recommend the Ocicat too highly. We have our second one now and they both look 'wild' but have no wild blood in them, period. Henry went missing 2 1/2 years ago and I gave no thought to any other breed than an Ocicat. Ginger entered our lives two weeks ago yesterday and she is all anyone could want in a kitty--soon to be a cat. She makes noise only when it's 'dinner time', has only one BM a day, plays with both my wife and I equally, races thru the house burning off energy, and is "modest" Neither one of us has seen her use the litter box yet but she does .

My second choice would be either an Abyssinian or a Bengal as I like short-haired, athletic cats

Dan
post #3 of 28
I have had siamese and snowshoe ... they are moderately active as trainable as cats can be and can be very very loud when they want something..

My bengal cross( she is a mix) is the most active cat I have ever owned , she is also sweet as pie and her coat is sososso soft... my next kitty is a pure breed bengal to keep up with her

I also have a dlh who is a ornarry but loving kitty...
post #4 of 28
Well, I have a Bengal and 2 Siamese, one Modern and one Old style. Simba, the Bengal is not preditory at all, although he is extremely playful and active. When he gets bored, he has a tendancy to want to get into things. He doesn't like doors closed, in other wards he doesn't like me to shut off rooms. He often likes dresser drawers open, and will continually open them up, if I close them, so I finally gave up and have left them open. I think Simba is a lot more active and playful than the average cat, but he's good natured and sweet. He just has to be in the middle of everything. To me, he's kind of like having a typical mischevious little boy: Naughty, but in a cute way.

The Siamese are not anything like each other. SunLee the modern Siamese, is very sweet and affectionate. She's a climber, but on the whole, she is very mellow. Shane, the old style Siamese, is pretty mellow these days, although when he was younger he was extremely hyper and high strung. Shane is probably my most "needy" cat, and needs to be at my side almost all of the time. He wants to be a lap cat, but he's so big, it is almost uncomfortable to me to hold him, as much as he wants to be held.
post #5 of 28
The Savannah cat is one of the newer breeds so the standard is still being developed. They are related to the Serval which is one of the larger "small" cats. They are still using a lot of outcrosses during this development. My girls father is actually a bengal and many other breeds are used to cross. I'm of the opinion that she does not come close to a Savannah standard even if its not well written. She purrs to high heaven though!! Its a ritual every night for her to see me off to sleep by kneeding me and circling on my belly until I go to sleep. They are very intrigued with the shower but won't get in. I've just gotten a new toy and she has really claimed it! When she grabs hold of it she pulls back like a dog and a rope and growls like crazy. She really thinks its alive! Its her favorite game. Shes also super active.

Bengals are related to the Asian Leopard Cat (the size of a domestic cat). My girl is an F3. She walks on a leash with no training and is intrigued with water but won't do more than paw at a faucet. She is the most active of my cats. I'm glad she and Hope have each other to keep company. I think its important to have these types of cats in pairs otherwise they will wear you out! They have a lot of energy. Right now my bengal is trying to help me type an dhas her butt up in the screen saying "pet me." She's very loving when shes not racing through the house and loves her shoulders scratched and chin rubbed. I can also cradle her in my arms on her back. She is also bold and not afraid of anything. She would rather hiss at something than run away from it.

Our tabby cat doesn't mind Hope but does nto like Meeka. I think this is because Meeka dosen't back down from her. Meeka has neverending curiousity and will try to sneak up to Autumn and lick her. Autumn hisses if Meeka gets anywhere near her. Hope she has come around too and will even play with her. I think that it will just take more time for Autumn and Meeka to get the pecking order worked out, neither are submissive. Hope dosen't really care, she doesn't need to be top cat.
post #6 of 28
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the responses. I actually knew someone with full-blooded Servals; they got outside through an unfortunate series of accidents, and were never caught.
The Servals hissed alot, but were suprisingly friendly.
We've fostered and had many cats, I think one day I may HAVE to have a pair of Bengals or Savannahs! We- as in my husband and 4 kids- are all cat-lovers; we have 8 cats, but everyone has been chosen by a particular cat (or 2) so it doesn't really seem like we have that many! We also understand cats, and have seen everything. I kind of like the active ones; some of ours are into everything, as in drawers, etc. One takes a nap regularly inside an entertainment center-- not sure how he gets in there!
I have an adopted Ethiopian son who had never even seen a domesticated cat until he came to America in 2003; he is 10 now, and has 2 tom cats that have chosen him and vie for his attention. (He loves it.) He is a natural born cat person.
Again, thanks for the responses.
Robyn
post #7 of 28
Just for general info too:

Prices for pets:
Bengals: $500-1000
Savannahs: $2000-4000

Savannah's should come down in price eventually but while they are in development they only pet out males since they are infertile. This means there aren't many of them. The only reason I have my girl is because she was born with a deformity but has luckily grown out of.
post #8 of 28
Thread Starter 
Do Bengals and Savannah's require a special diet? What do you feed yours?

I have 6 tom cats-- they all peacefully co-exist (my youngest son's 2 favorites have an on-going debate over whose boy he is) but I could not introduce another male. I'm almost positive they would resent it.

Your cats are gorgeous! I think I'll start saving up for a female Bengal kitten........

Robyn, with 10-year old Thomas sitting on her lap-- my oldest and grumpiest moggie (and the Mayor of Geezer City)
post #9 of 28
I can't tell you about Savannah's but Bengal's eat regular cat food. Bengal's, as long as they're SBT, F-4 or later, are domestic cats, and they can be treated just like any other domestic cat. I know some breeders and owners feed their cats raw food, but Bengal's can eat regular cat food. My boy eats regular cat food, and does not require a special diet. Bengal's are more active and playful than a lot of the other domestic cats, but they still are domestic cats non the less.
post #10 of 28


I kept switching foods for my girl Autumn was gaining a lot of weight. I wasn't happy with any dry foods and many wet foods didn't seem a whole lot better. So I finally decided to make the plunge and turned all 3 of my cats to a raw diet. This is by no means required for either breed. The only cats that require raw would be F1's. If you get an F4 or later in either breed then you will be fine to treat them the same as any other cat. Just stick with a good premium food and you'll be all set .

Quote:
Originally Posted by badenzoo
Your cats are gorgeous! I think I'll start saving up for a female Bengal kitten........
Thanks! I think you'll be happy with your choice. Though neutered males usually get along very well too. The only difference really is that females will be smaller. I don't expect my girl to get much more than 8 pounds unless she puts on some kind of unexpected growth spurt. She's currently 8 months old.
post #11 of 28
Oh and I don't know how much you've looked into it but there are a variety of colors/patterns too. You can get spotted or marble pattern (I like spotted, my fiance likes marbles). Marbles usually sell for a bit less than spotted. Then you have different colors, brown, silver (like Hope), various snow colors like sepia, mink, and um brain cramp, another. I think the snows are beautiful! Its a recessive gene so less common. My girl has snows, marbles, and silvers in her heritage but I don't know what she really carries for . I know I won't see any silvers, marbles are probable, and snow is a possiblity but I'm doubting I'll see any.

Other genes can surface but are not accepted for the bengal standard. ANY bengal breeder can experience one of these under the right circumstances because domestic cats with unkown backgrounds were used orignally for breeding the bengals. So such things can occur as: longhair, blue, red, melanistic (black), among others. These cats will be sold for a lot less but are no less stunning!
post #12 of 28
Thread Starter 
Would it be possible to be on a waiting list to take a kitty sometime in the (not necessarily near) future that somehow doesn't meet the Bengal standard, or has some kind of a defect that makes it harder to place?
I mainly want the temperment, and don't care that much about the looks (although I do love the spotted).
When you say a raw diet, can you explain what you put into it? My 10-year old Thomas is getting awfully picky about his food.
Thanks again-
Robyn
post #13 of 28
I have a Bengal, Ocicat, Egyptian Mau and Chausie (F2).

The Chausie is the sweetest of the bunch but he has the most "wild blood".


Sometimes if you develop a good realtionship with a breeder and are willing to take a "hard to place" kitten the breeder will reduce the cost sometimes. I got my Egyptain Mau that way.

He had this scar on his nose that he was born with. Because of it no one wanted him. He was the last left of his litter. The breeder didn't even mention him when I called inquiring about kittens. After she said she had litters on the way but none at the moment, I said I would be willing to take an "older kitten" if she had one. She then mentioned this little guy with a scar. That scar fell off two weeks after we got him And I saved a couple hundred dollars.

I have even had a breeder offer to place a kitten for the cost of shipping alone. Most breeders want their kittens in good homes, money usually isn't the first thing they think about from what I have seen.They want their kittens to be happy and loved in safe homes. So, call around and ask to be called if they ever have a kitten who is hard to place. It can't hurt and you will learn A LOT about the breed by talking to the breeders themselves. Beware though, most are VERY passionate about the cats they are breeding and will talk for hours. I have always enjoyed those conversations.

Bobbie
post #14 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by badenzoo
Would it be possible to be on a waiting list to take a kitty sometime in the (not necessarily near) future that somehow doesn't meet the Bengal standard, or has some kind of a defect that makes it harder to place?
I mainly want the temperment, and don't care that much about the looks (although I do love the spotted).
When you say a raw diet, can you explain what you put into it? My 10-year old Thomas is getting awfully picky about his food.
Thanks again-
Robyn
I would just call around to different breeders. Like the person above said it never hurts to talk to them and sometimes breeders don't advertise these kittens except by word of mouth. That is also how I got my Savannah because of her deformity, the breeder just wanted her to go to a good home and there was no price involved. Also many breeders retire queens and studs for a small fee, again it would take some looking around.

BARF diets (biologically appropraite raw foods) are very interesting. Once I started I've never turned back. People remark on the beautiful coats all 3 of my cats have (glistening, shiny, very healthy) which I attribute to a natural diet. I'm fortunate to have a company that distributes pre-ground meats near me. That was an easy way to get me started (it can be intimidating). They have 4 choices for cats: ground turkey, chicken, duck, and rabbit. All of these have the bone ground. My cats now only will eat the turkey and chicken and that is fine with me because they are the cheapest . Cats really go for the bird because the fat content is just right. Rabbit is very good for them but is a little leaner so the discriminating feline might not go for it.

I've now decided to purchase my own grinder and do it myself. Wysong's Call Of The Wild is a supplement specifically for raw diets. It pretty much makes up for organ meats which I will probably add in. I also add a little extra taurine into the pre-ground meat (found in its hightest concentration in hearts). So my plan for the grinder is to buy the chicken in pieces, get some of the gizzard/heart and liver packages at the store and grind those in with the meat. If I put heart in then taurine supplement is not necessary. I might not even need Call Of The Wild if I do some of the organs myself. It takes a lot of research but there are some great users group for this diet! Feline Future Yahoo Users Group is wonderful!

Its great for overweight cats, or cats that suffer from different disorders (particularly urinary related). It also works the teeth so dental work is not necessary. A little extra cost for the diet makes up in the cats overall health.

Tonight I threw a drumstick down for the kitties to see if they would go for eating it by itself and my bengal spent a half an hour working on that thing! She was so happy. The best ones to start with are chicken or turkey necks because this is where the bones are the softest. Unfortunately I can't find them anywhere!

Also if you are really interested in trying it out...many cats don't take to it right off (other than kittens). They have been fed a certain way all their lives and they might look at the raw meat like your nuts or something. It usually takes a slow transition but its worth it.

I tried to put together some of the basic information on the diet on my web site. Its by no means complete but it answers some basic questions one might have initially facing the idea.
Raw Diet

Haha my fiance says I should start putting chapters in my posts.
post #15 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolarityBengals

I've now decided to purchase my own grinder and do it myself. Wysong's Call Of The Wild is a supplement specifically for raw diets. It pretty much makes up for organ meats which I will probably add in. I also add a little extra taurine into the pre-ground meat (found in its hightest concentration in hearts). So my plan for the grinder is to buy the chicken in pieces, get some of the gizzard/heart and liver packages at the store and grind those in with the meat. If I put heart in then taurine supplement is not necessary. I might not even need Call Of The Wild if I do some of the organs myself. It takes a lot of research but there are some great users group for this diet! Feline Future Yahoo Users Group is wonderful!

Its great for overweight cats, or cats that suffer from different disorders (particularly urinary related). It also works the teeth so dental work is not necessary. A little extra cost for the diet makes up in the cats overall health.

Tonight I threw a drumstick down for the kitties to see if they would go for eating it by itself and my bengal spent a half an hour working on that thing! She was so happy. The best ones to start with are chicken or turkey necks because this is where the bones are the softest. Unfortunately I can't find them anywhere!

Also if you are really interested in trying it out...many cats don't take to it right off (other than kittens). They have been fed a certain way all their lives and they might look at the raw meat like your nuts or something. It usually takes a slow transition but its worth it.

I tried to put together some of the basic information on the diet on my web site. Its by no means complete but it answers some basic questions one might have initially facing the idea.
Raw Diet

Haha my fiance says I should start putting chapters in my posts.
WOw your site is lovely and that page very informative... turns out I had a supplement in the house and didnt know it
post #16 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by sharky
WOw your site is lovely and that page very informative... turns out I had a supplement in the house and didnt know it
Thanks! I haven't worked on the site in so long. I have a lot more content I want to get up. Particularly related to pattern, coloration, and ancestry of the bengal. I am also going to start putting product reviews up. I'm sure when my girl is ready for breeding I'll start getting more excited about the web site.
post #17 of 28
Thread Starter 
Thanks so much for the link- I love your web site! I printed out the raw diet.
Robyn
post #18 of 28
Thread Starter 
Can you explain about the raw diet-- do you grind it up? How much to feed?
Robyn
post #19 of 28
Savannah cats are great pets. I have had the opportunity to have lived with both the bengal breed and the savannah breed. Speaking from my personal experience only, I have found the savannah cat to be much better in means of a pet. Although both are high energy cats, they make great compainions for one another.

To answer your question, no savannahs do not require "more work" or special diet. (just a high quaility cat food) as any cat should have.

I think the confusion here that they require more work stems from, the fact that a Savannah cat is not for everyone, because they are very smart and have can get into things around the house, cupboars, dryers, they love to jusmp on counter tops etc. should their pet owner not "cat proof" the home and desire more of a lazy lap cat, then no this is not the breed for you.

With regards to temperment the savannah cat's ancester the African serval IS a much more laid back and friendly when compared with the Asian Leopard cat (the bengals ancestor).

Thus making the Savannah cat such a sought out breed today.

Hopes this helps you all understand the breed a little better.
post #20 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by badenzoo
Would it be possible to be on a waiting list to take a kitty sometime in the (not necessarily near) future that somehow doesn't meet the Bengal standard, or has some kind of a defect that makes it harder to place?
I mainly want the temperment, and don't care that much about the looks (although I do love the spotted).
When you say a raw diet, can you explain what you put into it? My 10-year old Thomas is getting awfully picky about his food.
Thanks again-
Robyn
Absolutely! Most bengal breeders will try to work with you and your price range. I sold my melenistic bengal for $300.00 so you can get non-standard bengals for less then the average rate.
post #21 of 28
I emailed a breeder about a Savannah Cat here in the UK and they sell for £2000 . Thats pet quality. Breeding or show quality is more. I would love to have one, but I guess I have to win the lottery for that.

I didn't look into Bengals, I was so shocked by that price...

On top of that all the breeders web-sites stated that I would have to keep the cat strictly indoor only, which is not something I fancy trying. Mind you, if you pay 2k for a cat (in either money), you probably wouldn't want to let it out....
post #22 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by madpiano
I didn't look into Bengals, I was so shocked by that price...

On top of that all the breeders web-sites stated that I would have to keep the cat strictly indoor only, which is not something I fancy trying. Mind you, if you pay 2k for a cat (in either money), you probably wouldn't want to let it out....
Bengals are not as expensive as Savannahs as they have been around much longer.

You will find many purebreed breeders will ask that the cat be kept indoors. Bengals and Savannahs in particular as they are so striking that they are a target for someone to steal.

However I know in the UK the attitude towards outdoor cats is different than the US, so it might be breeder specific.
post #23 of 28
Madpiano - I dont think bengals are that kind of money over here. There are also Bengal rescues, if you wanted an adult. I know there is one in Wiltshire, but no idea whereabouts in the country that is , although they rehome nationally and this one, don't know what area, but the number is 01690 710465
post #24 of 28
Aren't the Ocicats great?! I just purchased my first (have had her for 1 week - she's 3 months old). I've lived with Siamese cats all my life, but from here on in, it's all about Ocicats.



Quote:
Originally Posted by lightninrod
I d/k about those two breeds except what I've read about them. I think(?) Bengals have very little 'wild' blood whereas, the Savannahs have more requiring 'special' care.

As to other "purebred" cats, I can't recommend the Ocicat too highly. We have our second one now and they both look 'wild' but have no wild blood in them, period. Henry went missing 2 1/2 years ago and I gave no thought to any other breed than an Ocicat. Ginger entered our lives two weeks ago yesterday and she is all anyone could want in a kitty--soon to be a cat. She makes noise only when it's 'dinner time', has only one BM a day, plays with both my wife and I equally, races thru the house burning off energy, and is "modest" Neither one of us has seen her use the litter box yet but she does .

My second choice would be either an Abyssinian or a Bengal as I like short-haired, athletic cats

Dan
post #25 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolarityBengals
Bengals are not as expensive as Savannahs as they have been around much longer.

You will find many purebreed breeders will ask that the cat be kept indoors. Bengals and Savannahs in particular as they are so striking that they are a target for someone to steal.

However I know in the UK the attitude towards outdoor cats is different than the US, so it might be breeder specific.

I know they are beautiful, but stealing would be the last of my worries, diese, cars, and eatten by animals are pretty likely. (i'm sure they are stolen by people though) I had just read some where that the average life span for an out side cat is 5 years. I think that is a pretty drastic drop from a house cats average life span where it can be up to 20 years. I am not willing to allow my cat out and have some thing happen to it (especially if I just paid 2k for it)
post #26 of 28
I know right now that Bengal rescues are really hurting for foster homes. Perhaps you could "test drive" a Bengal by fostering one...or two...to see if they would be right for you. I posted a thread in the SOS section with a contact regarding the need for foster homes.

If you want to take your cat outside, the walking jacket is perfect to use for any cat. Cats take to them rather quickly and I think they are more comfortable than a regular harness. Below is my 20 pounder wearing his...






To get an idea of how big Salem is, here he is sleeping in a medium sized dog crate...

post #27 of 28
I live with 6 bengals and never had any problems with them. I have had a total of 7 bengals but lost my little girl when she was a year and half. They are very active and love to play. They are very smart, our youngest boy can open doors and is a great little hunter. I have had vets tell me that they require more health care than other cats but have found that not to be true in our case. They love water and love to get in high places and generally run around and have fun.

We have what we call Bengal Wrestling Federation around our home when they get in the mood to rumble. But they are a great breed of cat and I haven't gotten any other type of cat in 7 years since getting our first one.

Chet
post #28 of 28
I don't know if my reply will mean anything to you, since my kitty isn't a full "Savannah" but I though I would tell my story anyway.

We got Ziggy from a "free kittens" sign on the side of the road (actually, hubby came home with him after decided it would be a good anniversary gift).

We get a call from the people that had the kittens, and they said they finally thought to get the father cat scanned for a microchip. It turns out he is/was a stud for a Savannah program. They wanted to find the owner because they knew he looked different.

So, my kitty is part Savannah, which means he likely has Bengal and Serval blood... but we don't know how many generations back the Serval is.
And he's still half moggie, so he doesn't quite look at neat as the Savannahs and Bengals...

He shares some of the same traits as others have mentioned. He is fascinated with water (but won't get in), purrs a lot, is very active, and plays tug of war with his toys. He's very possesive of his toys. He also will eat veggies and such.

Here's a couple pics:









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