Are Savannah Cats Hypoallergenic?

The glorious Savannah cat is one that is both beautiful and rare. These hybrid felines are sought after for many reasons. Are they hypoallergenic? I have the answers and more in this quick guide.

Danielle DeGroot

Last Updated: March 21, 2024 | 8 min read

Woman holding Savannah cat next to her face.

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Savannah cats are a rare, elegant breed. These miniature kitties are remarkable in appearance and physical ability, but are Savannah cats hypoallergenic? Though they are rare, a Savannah 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. That said, this breed is not generally considered hypoallergenic.

I 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.

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 I looked into do not consider their cats to be hypoallergenic. So, if I 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.

Savannah Cat Breed History

Savannah Cat sitting
The Savannah is an actual hybrid animal.

This kitty is a crossbreed or hybrid bred from a domestic house cat and a wild serval. They are one of a few hybrid cat breeds. Other hybrid kitties include the Bengal, Chausie, Cheetoh, and Pixiebob.

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 International Cat Association (TICA) recognized the breed in 2012. They are a pricey breed and adopting one can cost anywhere between $1,000 and $10,000. 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 weigh 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.

Cat Allergies

Woman sneezes in her handkerchief, runny nose while holding a cat Maine Coon
There is no other way to say it. Feline allergies are a big bummer.

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.

Human allergic reactions to felines are generally triggered as a person comes in contact with an animal 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.

Female kitties produce fewer allergens than males, and intact males spread the most. Kittens do not provoke as many allergies because they produce less Fel d 1. As they age, they will produce more. Though there is no known explanation, some studies show that darker-colored felines may produce more allergens than their lighter-colored relatives.

Hypoallergenic Cat Breeds

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.

A few of the cat breeds considered to be hypoallergenic include:

  1. Balinese
  2. Bengal
  3. Cornish Rex
  4. Devon Rex
  5. Javanese
  6. Korat
  7. Le Perm
  8. Oriental Shorthair
  9. Russian Blue
  10. Siamese
  11. Siberian
  12. Sphynx

*This is not a complete list. Learn more about the worst cat breeds for allergies before you adopt any kitties.

Savannah Cat Shedding & Grooming

The Savannah sheds just like every other feline breed.

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 heavier periods will correspond with significant seasonal temperature changes.

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.

You should not forget about regular dental care and nail clipping. These are two critical areas of grooming that often get overlooked but significantly impact a feline’s health and well-being.

4 Tips To Manage Your Savannah Cat Allergies

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Managing those allergy symptoms is key for purr baby owners who suffer from allergies. There is no way to control how many allergens a kitty produces, but you can try a few things to lessen the impact they will have.

The most common allergy management method is medication. There are plenty of medications available, both prescription and over-the-counter, that you can try to manage their symptoms.

1. Managing Shedding

Managing a kitty’s shedding is one of the most important tools for minimizing allergy symptoms. Though there is no way to control how much a specific kitty will shed, you should keep up with regular grooming, one to three times a week for a Savannah cat.

2. Cleaning

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 and allergens.

3. 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 who 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 who suffer from allergies will want to investigate purchasing a HEPA filtration system.

4. Clean Litter Box

While cleaning the litter box is a regular chore that we 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 due to the higher level of exposure to allergens.

5 Factors That Impact Feline Shedding

You 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.

  1. HealthThe physical health of a feline will influence how much she will shed. Felines suffering from skin issues, allergies, infection, or even stress and loneliness may shed more. A kitty left home alone all day may experience separation anxiety and have periods of higher shedding.
  2. NutritionA 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. 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.
  3. Season & LocationThe 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 depends on the temperature and climate. Felines will shed more in warmer, drier climates.
  4. EnvironmentThe 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. Always check with your veterinarian if you notice excessive shedding, loose skin, sores, or other signs a kitty may be unwell.
  5. Genetics – 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.

Frequently Asked Questions

I know there are plenty of questions about the exotic Savannah cat. I covered a few below, but if I missed yours, just let me know in the comments.

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, Savannahs may 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. You cannot tell how you will react until you meet and spend time with the specific cat you are considering.

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, depressed, need a change in nutrition, or, unfortunately, may have an underlying medical issue. Because Savannahs are lower shedding, it will be obvious if they start losing more hair than usual. You must pay close attention to this because this can sometimes indicate that there may be something else going on. Reach out to the vet to rule out any underlying medical conditions.

Other Breeds To Consider

If you love the look of a Savannah but are not sure they’re right for you, there are plenty of other amazing cat breeds to consider. For example, the British Shorthair and Oriental Shorthair shed much less and still have a unique look. If shedding is a concern, you can always consider a hairless breed like the Sphynx.

Why Trust Love Your Cat?

Danielle is a feline owner with over thirty years of experience. She has raised indoor and outdoor cats and kitties with special medical needs. Danielle has cared for many different feline breeds, including Maine Coons, Siamese, Turkish Vans, and mixed breeds. Danielle has always supported animals in need and has adopted most of her pets as rescues or taken them in as strays. Along with being an expert in cat care, Danielle has worked as a professional writer and educator for over ten years. She strives to provide pet owners with the most up-to-date research-backed information to help every pet live a happy, healthy life.

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