Which Cat Is Right For You?
Like a kid in a candy story, the world of exotic felines is thrilling. Each breed looks so inviting, but navigating through the different breeds
and generations or levels within each breed can be totally confusing. What to choose? This page is intended to help you decide which breed/generation is best for your individual situation. We have delineated the differences between each generation and each breed as we at Select Exotics see them. The following descriptions are in respect to the cats we have worked with over the last 15 or more years. Mature cat size will differ from breeder to breeder depending on the focus of their program.
The Savannah, a cross between an African Serval and a domestic cat, is a tall, lanky cat with solid spots over a basecoat that can range from warm golden orange to cool silver hues. Occasionally there will be black (melanistic) or white (snow) colorations. Due to their attenuated height and length, Savannahs will appear to be much heavier than they actually are. Most of Select Exotics F1 females, for instance, which range from 14 to 19 pounds, are estimated to weigh 25+ pounds when seen in person.
While the Savannah has existed since the mid-1990’s, most still carry a high percentage of wild blood. Even so, you will find great variety in quality and appearance from breeder to breeder. As each year passes, it seems that more variation in quality is found, especially in the later generations.
Based on the amount of wild blood, Savannahs are priced from $1,000 to $16,000. Size and personality/temperament varies from generation to generation. Following is a breakdown for each.
F1 males are 17 to 25 pounds, standing approximately 16 to 18 inches at the shoulder and 22 to 24 inches from chest to rump. F1 females are 13 to 19 pounds. When compared to the pure Serval or the high percentage Bengals, the F1 Savannahs are quite manageable. They are good with their litter box and won't destroy your house. They will bond with one or two people, being pretty standoffish with everyone else. Not aggressive, but for the most part they won't socialize with children or strangers. When people they don't know visit, they retreat to a back room or launch themselves onto a high place to watch the goings on, but be out reach.
Even those with whom they are bonded, rarely can an F1 be held or contained for very long. They'll want to play with you and expend an amazing amount of energy, but F1 Savannahs are definitely not lap cats. Trips to the vet can be challenging. This can be combated by making at least one trip to the vet to get accustomed to the smells and be “oohed and aawed” over without any negative experience. A positive first experience vet visit will make future trips much less stressful for both the cat and owner. if an F1 is upset them or they are trying to tell you something, occasionally they will opt not to use the litter box. They are also attracted to plastic grocery sacks if left within reach. They can be taught to walk on a harness and most are highly attracted to water, whether it be an outside pond, the garden hose or sprinkler, or your bathtub.
F1 Savannahs will fall in a $12,000 to $20,000 price range.
The Bengal breed, a cross between the Asian Leopard Cat and a domestic cat, was developed in the early 1980’s. Most available Bengals are “SBT,” which means they are the result of Bengal to Bengal breedings for several generations. The percentage of wild blood in the average Bengal is now approximately six to nine percent. Generally speaking, early generation Bengals are less social. Due to temperament problems, few breeders continue to produce the higher generations.
Bengal quality can vary dramatically. Most range in price from $500 to $1,000. These will have very rich, clear coats with vibrant color and contrast. Some Bengals will have solid spots, but the trend seems to be leaning toward the open spot, or rosette. Outside this price range, you can probably find Bengals in your local paper for as little as $200, but these cats will usually have very faint spotting patterns and ticked coats. On the other end of the price scale, you can find Bengals for $1,500 or more that will be exquisitely marked.
Bengal females are 7 to 10 pounds, most males falling between 9 and 12 pounds. Average shoulder height for a male is 9 to 11 inches, length is 12 to 14 inches. Although beautiful and wild-looking, Bengals will about the same size as a domestic cat. Occasionally we will hear of a male that reaches 15 to 18 pounds, but this is extremely rare.
The personality of the SBT Bengal is playful, intelligent and affectionate. Some will play fetch and most will play energetically with kitty toys. They are semi-vocal, telling you when they want something, “talking” to you on occasion. They will sit on your lap now-and-then, tolerating being held to some extent. Generally speaking, the higher percentage Bengals are not nearly as social as an SBT. There are always exceptions to the rule, but most F1 to F4 Bengals are much more standoffish than the SBTs. They will want to be around you, but not touched.
The Safari breed, a cross between the Geoffroy's Cat and a domestic cat, was created in the 1970’s. However, enthusiasm dwindled for a time due to increased restrictions on obtaining the Geoffroy's cat and the difficulties involved in producing Safari kittens. Luckily, the Safari has seen a resurgence in the last five years. Those adopting them agree the Safari is a positive addition to the world of exotic hybrids.
Coat color can be golden, silver or black with black paw prints or rosettes, usually markings consist of both. Their muscular, compact body type is similar to their wild Geoffroy parent and they have the most exquisite, wild looking broad, blocky head with small, rounded ears, and a wide, blunt nose.
The F1 females range from approximately 13 to 18 pounds. There are, and have been very few, males in existence. According to reports, two males in the 70’s reached 35 pounds. But in general, most males will weigh between 20 and 25 pounds.
Select Exotics has opted to produce only F1 Safaris at this time since we are delighted with their look and disposition. A few F2 and F3 Safaris do exist, but mostly available for adoption are the F1’s. The F1 Safari personality is exceptional. Safaris are the most affectionate, hands-on, F1 hybrid with which we have ever worked. Not only are they hands-on, but they want to be in your face or on top of your head! They also have a tendency to suckle into adulthood, whether it be on an earlobe or a fingertip. They do, however, have a tendency to use water as a litter box. Most owners have taught them to use the toilet or given them a child’s potty training toilet. Some who have tried to keep their Safaris out of the water find their pet using other places to go to the bathroom. So, if you are thinking about a Safari, keep this in mind.
Prices for the F1’s will generally vary from $6,000 to $15,000.