Savannah Cat Health

No known well established health problems existing within the Savannah Cat breed, they are susceptible to the same health issues of any other cat. Breeding cats should be tested to prevent common feline health issues. All breeds of cat can get both Congenital Issues and Non-congenital Issues. The main health issue faced by a Savannah Cat owners is obstruction due to ingestion of a small toy such as feather, piece of rubber or piece of plastic. Savannah Cat owners sometimes buy inappropriate cat toys that are easily destroyed and swallowed because they are cute, inexpensive and the cats enjoy them. Unfortunately such cat toys can be too small, lightweight and easily swallowed. Small domestic cats should not even have these seriously hazardous toys. Consult with your breeder if you have issues finding safe cat toys.

Congenital Health Issues

Congenital health issues are genetically inherited by linage. Many cats with congenital defects can still maintain a high quality of life. Treatment options for abnormalities vary as for any health issue. Defects can occur anytime in the developmental stages of the embryo or fetus. The cause of many congenital defects is unknown. Environmental circumstances during pregnancy may lead to a predisposition to certain defects. 

  • Cleft palates
  • Polydactylism (extra toes)
  • Dwarfism
  • Extra vertebrae
  • Hydrocephalus
  • Liver Shunt

Non-congenital Health Issue

Non-congenital health issues are caused by none genetic related issues. Non-congenital health issues include fungal, bacterial and viral infections.

  1. Bacterial infections
    1. Urinary tract infection
    2. Giardia
    3. Cocidia
    4. Campylobacteriosis
    5. G-strep
  2. Viral infections
    1. Upper respiratory infection (URI)
  3. Fungal Infections
    1. Ringworm

*Should you think your Savannah Cat might be sick you should immediately inform the breeder and your veterinarian. If you feel the veterinarian is not taking your concerns seriously it is never a bad idea to get a second option from another veterinarian.*


Diarrhea Loose, frequent stools are the most common symptoms of diarrhea. Other signs include flatulence, the passage of blood in mucus or stool and straining to defecate. Lethargy, dehydration, fever, vomiting, decreased appetite, weight loss and an increased urgency to defecate may also accompany diarrhea. Diarrhea should never be ignored. It may shock you to know millions of people in the USA have parasitic infections which symptoms often go unnoticed or are misdiagnosed. These microscopic creatures are typically picked up through food and water. The same can be said for our pets. Your veterinarian will want to rule out other possibilities for the intestinal infection, such as improper digestion (maldigestion), unabsorbed nutrients (malabsorption), or inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) prior to recommending a treatment option for your cat.

What Causes Diarrhea?

  • Change in diet
  • Dairy or other food intolerance
  • Ingestion of spoiled food
  • Allergic reaction
  • Bacterial or viral infection
  • Internal parasites, such as roundworms, coccidia and Giardia
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Kidney or liver disease
  • Cancer or other tumors of the digestive tract
  • Certain medications
  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Colitis


  • Tritrichomonas
    • Tritrichomonas foetus (T. foetus) is a single-celled protozoan that lives in the colon of cats and is shed in the feces. Adult cats may or may not show signs, but can still be carriers of the parasite, passing it into the environment through their feces, and putting uninfected cats at risk of acquiring it. Symptoms may not appear in an infected animal for years after being exposed. The main symptom is a longstanding bout of loose smelly stools, sometimes mixed with blood or mucus. Cats may have difficulty passing the loose stools and strain to empty the bowels. Stool may leak out of the anus and cause redness and pain around the area.
  • Giardia
    • A cat becomes infected with Giardia after swallowing the cyst stage of the parasite. Once inside the cat's intestine, the cyst goes through transformation to the trophozoite or feeding form of the organism and attaches to the intestinal wall to feed. Eventually the cat passes infectious cysts in its stool.  These cysts are immediately able to infect another animal. Giardiasis can be transmitted by eating or sniffing the cysts from contaminated ground, or by drinking contaminated water. Very resistant to freezing and municipal water chlorination. Younger animals are most likely to have diarrhea as the result of infection. Adult cats may or may not show signs, but can still be carriers of the parasite, passing it into the environment through their feces, and putting uninfected cats at risk of acquiring it. Symptoms may not appear in an infected animal for years after being exposed.
  • Roundworms
    • Roundworms are the most common intestinal parasite of cats, affecting 25% to 75% of cats, with higher rates in kittens. Adult roundworms are three to five inches long, cream-colored, and live in the cat’s intestine, where they don’t attach to the intestinal walls and survive by eating food ingested by the host. Adult female worms produce fertile eggs that are passed in the infected cat’s feces. The eggs require several days to several weeks to develop into the infective larval stage. Cats become infected with Toxocara cati by ingesting eggs or rodents (transport hosts) that have larvae in their tissues.
  • Hookworms
    • Hookworms are slender, thread-like worms, less than a half-inch long, that live attached to the lining of the wall of the intestine, where they feed on the blood of the host. Because of their small size, they usually are not visible in the feces of infected cats. Hookworms are long-lived, capable of living as long as a cat. Less common than roundworm infections, the prevalence of feline hookworm infections varies considerably by geographic location in North America.
  • Coccidia
    • Coccidia is a microscopic one-celled organism. Virtually all cats become infected with Isospora felis during their life, usually by eating a cyst, a thick-walled, egg-like stage that is passed in the feces and matures in the soil. Cysts can be infective within six hours of being excreted in feces. Cats may also become infected by eating flies or cockroaches that carry Isospora cysts.

Should you cat present with diarrhea:

  1. Keep the cat completely separate from other animals
  2. Disinfect all litter boxes with bleach
  3. Figure out the cause

Should your cat be diagnosed with an internal parasites:

  1. Make sure the diagnose is correct
  2. Research all treatment options
  3. Keep the cat completely separate from other animals
  4. Try to contain the cat in an easy to disinfect area
  5. Disinfect the litter box daily
  6. Switch temporarily to a cheap non-clumping litter so you can throw away the litter daily.
  7. Disinfect your self when handling said animal or litter-box
  8. Note this is for optimal results to limit the stress to owner and spread of parasite

Anesthesia Risk Of Ketamine


Ketamine doesn't have a good reversal agent. Serval Cats have two features that puts them at risk. A cat with a higher stress level results in more catecholamines ahead of surgery, meaning to get them asleep it takes a higher dose of anesthesia than what may be safe for such a lean body mass. When the catecholamines dissipate before the ketamine wear off it can then be too strong.

Side Effects Of Ketamine

  • Impaired judgment
  • Flashbacks
  • Confusion
  • Overdose
  • Respiratory Depression
  • Tachycardia or a “dramatic increase in heart rate”
  • Aggressive Behavior


  • Tritrichomonas


  • Gastrointestinal Parasites of Cats

Savannah Cat Articles