Savannah cats are a rare, elegant breed. These miniature kitties are remarkable in appearance and physical ability, but are they hypoallergenic? Though they are rare, a Savannah cat may be the ultimate feline companion for some people. There is a lot to consider when adopting one of these formidable felines, and among those concerns are allergies.
Feline allergies can be a considerable obstacle to having a feline companion. It is often asked if Savannah cats are hypoallergenic. As with many other breeds, the answer may not be as simple as a yes or no. Because these cats are rare and quite a handful to take care of, it is helpful to learn some of these answers before committing to bringing home a new kitten.
Are these miniature wild kitties hypoallergenic or likely to trigger intense allergic reactions? We get to know a little bit more about the Savannah cat, talk about allergies and look into whether or not this mighty breed is hypoallergenic.
This kitty is a crossbreed from a domestic house cat and a serval. They are one of two hybrid cat breeds. The other is the Bengal, a cross between domestic kitties and Wild Asian Leopard cats. A serval is a medium-sized wild cat weighing between 20 and 40 pounds. The first of these hybrid kittens was created by crossing a wild serval and a Siamese. A kitty named “Savannah” was the first of the breed, born in 1986. They are not a common breed to find, though their popularity has increased.
The breed was recognized in 2012 by The International Cat Association. They are a pricey breed and can cost anywhere between $1,000 and $10,000 to adopt. First-generation animals can cost over $20,000. F4 generations are the most likely to be kept as pets, and they range from about $1,000 to over $2,500. They are banned in some places due to their hybrid animal status.
Savannahs are quite large and can reach between 12 and 25 pounds or more. They stand at least 17 inches tall when fully grown. In fact, a Savannah cat named Fenrir has been recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records as being the world’s tallest living cat. The earlier generations, F1 and F2, are more similar to their wild brethren than later generations. This breed is a long-term kitty commitment as they can live 12 to 20 years on average.
Are Savannah Cats Hypoallergenic?
There is a lot of debate about whether Savannahs are hypoallergenic. The most widely prevailing opinion is that they are not hypoallergenic, though some sites and sources claim they are. Those claims tend not to be widely supported, and almost all breeders we looked into do not consider their cats to be hypoallergenic. So, if we need to give a definitive answer, it is safe to say that Savannahs are not hypoallergenic. Several places state that the idea of these cats being hypoallergenic is one of the most popular myths about the breed.
It is hard to say where the claims that this breed is hypoallergenic originated from, but in the modern world and with the reach of the Internet, it is quite common for information that is false or not entirely accurate to spread quickly.
Because Savannahs are hybrid and servals do not have exactly the same dander as domestic cats, this may be one of the reasons some people may want to classify them as hypoallergenic. Many folks report in forums and on other platforms that they have Savannahs and allergies and find themselves having less of a reaction. While this may be true, it all depends on the specific genetic makeup of a particular animal. So, there may be some cats that are less allergy-provoking than others, but overall, the breed is not labeled as such, nor do they make any lists of the most hypoallergenic feline breeds.
One of the parent breeds of the Savannah is the Siamese, considered a hypoallergenic breed. However, despite this genetic connection, this breed is not known to produce fewer allergens than any other domestic feline breed. This genetic connection to a hypoallergenic breed is also likely part of the reason that Savannahs are sometimes thought to be hypoallergenic.
Another factor that has likely influenced Savannahs sometimes being called hypoallergenic is that they are a lower-shedding feline breed. They do shed, but not as much as many other breeds. Their shedding is far less noticeable because they have shorter, denser coats than some bulkier, furrier breeds.
Nothing worse than wanting to have a cute, cuddly, fuzzy little kitten in your life and being smacked in the face with horrible allergy symptoms. Being allergic to cats is relatively widespread. Feline allergies are thought to be twice as common as dog allergies.
A common misconception about people who have feline allergies is that they are allergic to cat hair. This is not the case. What humans are allergic to are different proteins that felines produce naturally. The most prevalent of these proteins is Fel d 1. This protein is present in feline saliva, dander, and urine. Felines produce it naturally, groom themselves, leave the protein on their hair, and then shed the hair. In this method, allergens like Fel d 1 are spread. This is not the only protein that causes allergies but is thought to be the most troublesome.
Human allergic reactions to felines are generally triggered as a person comes in contact with an animal themselves or dander and hair with these proteins on it. Feline allergy symptoms and reactions range from mild to severe. A person who suffers from allergies may experience sneezing, runny nose, itchy eyes, watery eyes, shortness of breath, wheezing, tightening of the chest, coughing, facial pain, swelling, skin rash, hives, or even severe reactions such as asthma attacks. The severity level will depend on the person, their sensitivity, and the amount of allergen they have come in contact with.
People who suffer from feline allergies can also have long-term effects like eczema, itchy skin, swollen eyes, redness of the eyes, and trouble sleeping. Reactions can be triggered by being in the same room as an animal, their dander and hair, or by coming in direct contact with the animal. Because every person is different and every kitty is different, a wide range of things can happen.
Some feline breeds do produce less allergy-provoking proteins than others. These breeds are often referred to as hypoallergenic. While they may be less likely to trigger or provoke allergies, this does not mean that these cats are allergen-free. There is no such thing as a 100% zero allergen-producing feline. Fully hypoallergenic felines do not exist. Different things trigger allergy sufferers. Two people with cat allergies could sit in a room with the same kitty and have vastly different experiences.
Hypoallergenic Cat Breeds
Numerous feline breeds are known to generate less allergy-producing proteins, like Fel d 1. Even a hypoallergenic breed will produce some levels of these proteins, and almost all breeds except true hairless will shed to some degree. A few of the breeds considered to be hypoallergenic include:
- Cornish Rex
- Devon Rex
- Le Perm
- Oriental Shorthair
- Russian Blue
*This is not a complete list.
Allergies To The Savannah Cat
All felines produce allergens, and Savannahs are no different. There is no scientific proof that shows these kitties produce fewer allergens than other breeds, even though one of their parent breeds is the Siamese, which is considered hypoallergenic. Bringing home a kitty when one suffers from allergies is a personal choice. Owners must be sure that they are ready for the responsibility of owning a cat and managing their allergy symptoms.
It is important to remember that cats have no control over how much allergy-provoking protein they produce or how much hair they shed. It is the owner’s responsibility to make sure their pets are well taken care of, regardless of any allergies the owner may have. Before bringing home a cat, it is best to spend time with both the breed one hopes to have and other breeds. This can help determine how severe an allergic reaction one has to different cats.
Feline allergies are often caused by the Fel d 1 protein, which is found in skin, fur, saliva, and feline sebaceous and anal glands. While it is the most well-known allergen, it is not the only substance that causes symptoms. Cats produce other proteins, and all kitties pick up dirt, dust, pollen, and debris. Even indoor-only animals will carry around microscopic particles with them. Exposure to these substances can also be responsible for allergy reactions in humans.
Savannah Cat Shedding & Grooming
This is a lower-shedding breed than many others, but they do shed a substantial amount of hair. They will have regular shedding as well as periods of increased shedding. These periods will correspond with the significant temperature changes between fall and winter and spring and summer.
Despite being shorter-haired, these exotic kitties still need regular grooming. Grooming is the owner’s first offense against shedding and spreading allergens. While these kitties do not need daily grooming, they should be brushed once to three times a week. This breed does exceptionally well with grooming gloves, as their hair is relatively short. Regularly brushing their coat will help remove allergens like dander and prevent hair, dead skin, and those pesky allergens from spreading around the home.
Cat Allergy Symptoms
Feline allergy symptoms will range in severity and longevity and affect everyone differently. Some folks will have severe symptoms and not even be able to be in a home with a cat, and others will only be mildly bothered. Owners should remember that they should never put their health at risk or a cat’s well-being in jeopardy by bringing them home when they know they have severe allergies.
Symptoms Of Feline Allergies
- Itchy, watery, red eyes
- Swollen eyes
- Nasal congestion
- Sinus pain
- Stuffy or runny nose
- Skin itching,
- Raised itchy rash, and hives
- Facial swelling and pain
- Trouble sleeping
Female kitties produce fewer allergens than males. Intact males spread the most. Kittens do not provoke as many allergies because they produce less Fel D1. As they age, they will produce more. Though there is no known explanation, darker-colored felines seem to produce more allergens than their lighter-colored relatives. Owners should also remember that more allergens will be produced if they have multiple pets. Having just one pet is okay for some people, but having more than one might be too much. Owners will have to learn what the right situation is for them.
Tips To Manage Allergies
- HEPA air filtration system.
- Charcoal filters for odor, germs, and bacteria.
- UV-C light technology kills bacteria and germs.
- Energy efficient certified.
- CADR of 100+.
Managing those allergy symptoms is key for purr baby owners that suffer from allergies. There is no way to control how many allergens a kitty produces, but owners can try a few things to lessen the impact they will have. The first thing is to identify that it is, in fact, a feline allergy that an owner has. Because allergy symptoms are very similar to other things, it is possible to blame a cat when they and their proteins may not be the culprit. Once a feline allergy is identified as the problem, owners can begin to try different management techniques.
The most common allergy management method is medication. There are plenty of medications available, both prescription and over-the-counter, that owners can try to manage their symptoms. These can be taken as needed or regularly. Talking to your healthcare provider before starting any allergy medication regimen is always advisable.
Managing a kitty’s shedding is one of the most important tools to help minimize allergy symptoms. Though there is no way to control how much a specific kitty will shed, owners should keep up with regular grooming, one to three times a week for a Savannah cat. This is one of the most significant ways owners can control the spread of allergens and hair.
Regular, consistent cleaning is a significant commitment for cat owners and an even bigger one for those who suffer from allergies. Investing in a high-quality vacuum that can handle kitty hair and dander is advisable. Vacuuming, sweeping, and using furniture covers help prevent the spread of hair. People with more than one cat need to vacuum multiple times a week, if not daily. Vacuuming is crucial to preventing a buildup of hair and allergens around the home.
Lint rollers are also an advisable investment. These are especially useful for removing pesky cat hair from clothing and furniture. They can be used in cars to help keep these areas hair, dander, and allergen-free.
HEPA Air Purifier
Air purifiers can make an immense difference in a home with cats. These are particularly good investments for all feline owners, not just those that suffer from allergies. Air purifiers can help remove allergens from the air. These can be immensely helpful in rooms where kitties are not allowed to keep an allergen-free zone and are particularly good for helping manage the spread of allergens throughout the rest of the home.
HEPA stands for High-Efficiency Particulate Air Filtration. These systems are a worthwhile choice. These filters are constructed to remove 99.97% of airborne particles like mold, bacteria, dust, and allergy-causing proteins like Fel d 1. Feline owners that suffer from allergies will want to investigate purchasing a HEPA filtration system.
Clean Litter Box
While cleaning the litter box is a regular chore that cat owners must endure, it is an often-overlooked source of allergens. Keeping the litter box and litter box area exceptionally clean is incredibly beneficial to reduce the spread of allergens. If possible, an allergy sufferer should not be in charge of keeping the litter box clean. Allergens can be spread through skin, dander, and urine, which owners are exposed to when doing litter duty. A litter box area is a wonderful place to position an air purification system. Keeping this area clean will benefit not only allergy sufferers but also keep kitties healthier. Felines can be very particular about the litter box, so this should always be an area that is kept exceptionally clean.
Factors That Impact Feline Shedding
Owners should continually monitor the amount their kitty sheds. Every feline will shed some hair, even if it is a minimal amount. Different environmental factors can impact a cat’s shedding. Health, age, environment, location, and season all impact the amount a kitty sheds. Because Savannahs are lower shedding, it will be obvious if they start losing more hair than usual. Owners must pay close attention to this because this can sometimes indicate that there may be something else going on.
The physical health of a feline will influence how much she will shed. Felines suffering from skin issues, allergies, infection, or even stress may shed more. A kitty left home alone all day may experience separation anxiety and have periods of higher shedding. If an owner notices their cat shedding more than normal, it is important to reach out to the vet to rule out any underlying medical conditions. Owners of rare breeds like the Savannah may want to look into cat insurance. It can be beneficial when handling emergency care; some plans will also help with preventive treatments.
A cat’s nutrition is one of the most impactful factors in her long-term health and development. It is also related to their skin and coat health. Kitties with poor nutrition may have dull, less healthy coats. They may have loose skin and shed more. Felines are obligate carnivores, which means they must eat animal proteins to survive. A kitty’s diet should consist of high-quality cat food with a variety of flavors. Foods that use real meat proteins Nutritional deficiencies can cause bald patches, cuts, scaly skin, sores, itching, and more. Cat food should also include fatty acids like omega-3 and Omega 6 and healthy fats.
Season & Location
The time of year and geographical location a kitty lives in will impact shedding. Seasonal changes always trigger periods of heavier shedding. Indoor cats will shed year-round, but the level will depend on the temperature and climate. Felines will shed more in warmer, drier climates. Keeping the windows closed and running a humidifier in the home may help prevent dry skin and keep shedding lower.
The home environment a kitty lives in will affect how much she sheds. Cats experiencing stress or fear may shed more. Shedding is a natural reaction to fright, stress, and anxiety. Keeping a cat’s home at a moderate and consistent temperature is helpful, as temperature shifts can trigger shedding. Felines need to feel safe and have their own space. A kitty who is shedding more than usual may have an underlying medical issue. Disease, emotional distress, physical stress, anxiety, and more can cause cats to shed more. Always check with your veterinarian if you notice excessive shedding, loose skin, sores, or other signs a kitty may be unwell.
The specific blend of genetics a Savannah cat has will determine a lot about her coat appearance and the amount of shedding. Purebred felines tend to shed less, but this is not always the case. Because Savannahs are so rare and so pricey, they are more likely to be purebred. Owners can ask breeders about shedding to learn more about a specific kitty.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are Savannahs half-wild cats?
Most Savannahs available for pets are not F1 or F2 generations. Those are the only ones that could be considered half-wild. A pet Savannah is regarded as a hybrid but will likely be domestic and docile.
Will Savannah cats shed more if they are a mixed breed?
Depending on the mixed breed, there is potential for Savannahs to shed more. There is always potential for unexpected characteristics in mixed breeds, especially if there is any unknown about the parent breeds.
Why are Savannahs not considered hypoallergenic?
These kitties do not produce lower-than-average amounts of Fel d 1. They also shed regularly and are not considered hypoallergenic for these reasons. Depending on their genetic makeup, some Savannahs may be less allergy-triggering than others. Despite claims otherwise, no research supports this breed of cats as being hypoallergenic.
Are Savannah cats worse for allergy sufferers?
This all depends on the specific cat and person. Allergy sufferers should spend time with different kitties and discuss any allergy concerns with their doctor before bringing home any kind of cat.
Why is my Savannah cat shedding more than usual?
There are many varied reasons this could be happening. Your kitty may be experiencing their normal molting season. They may be under stress, need a change in nutrition, or, unfortunately, may have an underlying medical issue. Any time a kitty is shedding more than usual, call your vet. This may be a sign of something else, so it is always best to err on the side of caution.
The Savannah is a mighty kitty. Bold, beautiful, strikingly alluring, these wild-looking felines have eyes that seem to look right at you and a svelte, muscular look. They are pricey and rare but make wonderful pets for the right person. They are not hypoallergenic, despite some claims otherwise. The Savannah sheds and produces allergens just like every other breed. They do shed less than some other breeds and have short, dense silky coats. The Savannah cat is not hypoallergenic, but they are a wonderful breed.
Owning a kitty of any breed is a huge commitment and responsibility. Owners must be ready to meet their cat’s specific needs. Keep in mind that the information presented here is simply to inform, not to subsite the advice of veterinarians or other animal care professionals.