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Savannah Cat Lifespan And Factors That Can Affect It

Savannah Cat Lifespan And Factors That Can Affect It

It’s quite easy to notice the Savannah cat breed has wild origins. This cat was developed by crossing the African serval with a domesticated cat. It features a long body, long legs, a triangular head, and a spotted coat.

There are a couple of Savannah generations, meaning that each generation presents a cat with less wild blood.

Despite the exotic looks, Savannah cats are entirely domesticated nowadays, with temperament traits similar to any other house cat.

If you’re looking for an outgoing, active, and intelligent cat, then this breed may be just the right one for you.

I’m sure you would also like to know what is this cat’s life expectancy. Let’s take a look at Savannah’s cat lifespan and the important factors that can affect it.

How Long Do Savannah Cats Live On Average?

portert Savannah cat sitting next to a scratching post

African Serval cats, the Savannah cat’s ancestors, usually live 10 to 12 years in the wild. However, if kept in captivity, these cats can live up to 20 years. 

Of course, there are some similarities Savannah cats share with their ancestors. You can learn more about them in this article.

As for the lifespan of Savannah cats, it’s estimated to range from 12 to 20 years. This suggests that bringing home a Savannah cat most likely means having a furry friend for a very long time!

Of course, not all Savannah cats will be fortunate enough to live this long. 

What Factors Can Affect A Savannah Cat’s Lifespan?

Although Savannah cats are expected to live longer than an average cat, there are some important factors that can affect their lifespan.

Let’s look at them and see what you can do to ensure you have your Savannah companion by your side for as long as possible

1. Nutrition

Savannah cat stands in the garden and looks around

Quality nutrition is one of the most crucial factors for any cat’s well-being and longevity.

Despite its origin, Savannah’s dietary needs are similar to any other domestic felines. This means that its diet should be based on high protein values, together with moderate fat content. The proportion of carbs should be reduced to a minimum.

Chicken, turkey, tuna, salmon, and liver are good sources of protein for Savannah cats.

Bear in mind that these cats are large and need more food than an average house cat. Whenever you consider making changes to their diet or seek further advice, it’s essential to consult a veterinarian beforehand.

2. Exercise

Just like nutrition, exercise is essential for all cats. But, it’s especially important for active breeds like Savannah.

Regular exercise and activities will make this cat happy and healthy, and therefore, positively affect its overall life expectancy.

Savannah is energetic, athletic, and curious. Due to this, it tends to get bored easily, so, it always needs to be both physically and mentally stimulated.

WebMD suggests the following as good enrichment activities for these cats:

• Interactive toys

• Frequent playing sessions with their owners

• Walks outside on a harness and leash

• Trick training

Since the Savannah is a great jumper, it will also appreciate tall cat trees. Considering all this, it’s easy to conclude that this breed will thrive with an active and adventurous attitude.

3. Living Conditions

Savannah cat lies on a gray pillow in the house

Whether a Savannah cat lives indoors or outdoors can also greatly impact its life expectancy.

Michael Kent and his associates [1] point out how an outdoor environment brings an increased exposure link for felines. These include infectious diseases, car accidents, getting lost, or engaging in fights with other cats.

Savannahs enjoy walking outdoors and the time spent outside is generally good for their active nature.

They can also learn to walk on a leash, so, it may seem that you’re denying them from something really important by keeping them indoors.

However, I still suggest you keep this cat indoors. This is way safer and almost a guarantee that your Savannah will live longer.

This doesn’t mean the cat won’t see the outside world ever. You can still walk with it and provide it with time outdoors, just under your surveillance.

4. Spaying/Neutering

Sterilization in cats isn’t just about preventing unwanted pregnancies, but also about potentially increasing your cat’s life expectancy.

Spaying a female cat decreases the risk of malignant mammary tumors. Neutering a male cat eliminates the risk of testicular cancer and also decreases the probability of prostate disease.

According to Today’s Veterinary Practice, a study on 460, 000 cats showed significant differences between life expectancy for intact and sterilized cats.

The average life expectancy for spayed females was 13.1 years, while intact females lived around 9.5 years.

The statistics are similar for males, where neutered cats lived around 11.8 years, while intact felines lived 7.5 years on average.

Therefore, I would suggest sterilization as a good choice for your pet.

5. Health Problems

the vet holds a Savannah cat in his hands

Potential health issues are, of course, an additional important factor affecting a Savannah cat’s lifespan.

Let’s see what are the common health problems with this breed.

Eye Problems

Savannah cats could develop different eye problems, where the most common ones are conjunctivitis, glaucoma, and cataracts.

In general, there are some common clinical signs associated with eye problems in cats. They are the following:

• Cloudiness

• Discharge from the eyes

• Redness and swelling

• Blood in the eye

• A lump in or around the eye

Any kind of change in a Savannah cat’s eye requires an urgent veterinary examination.

Gastrointestinal Issues

Many Savannah cats suffer from gastrointestinal problems like vomiting and diarrhea.

It’s not normal to see a cat vomit or have a liquid stool, especially not for a longer period of time. This can be caused by food intolerance, overeating, but also poisoning, or different other underlying health conditions.

Therefore, recurrent gastrointestinal issues in Savannah also require a consultation with a vet.

Kidney Disease

Kidney disease is quite common in cats, and the Savannah breed is no exception.

According to VCA Animal Hospitals, kidney problems affect 30-40% of cats over 10 years. Surprisingly, even cats less than three years old can make up about 10% of kidney disease cases.

The most common indicators of kidney diseases are increased thirst and urination, poor coat quality, and weight loss.

This condition is treated with a diet change, antibiotics, subcutaneous fluids, and potassium supplementation.

See Also: 7 Best Non-Prescription Food For Cats With Kidney Disease


This condition refers to bladder inflammation in cats. Although it isn’t a serious disease, it can be very uncomfortable for them.

The affected cat will strain to urinate, feel pain while urinating, and also overgroom the area of genitals and lower abdomen.

The cystitis treatment typically includes a change in diet, painkillers, and anti-inflammatory medication.

Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy

Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy is a condition that some Savannah cats may encounter, and it’s the most frequently diagnosed cardiac disease in cats, as explained by the Cornell College of Veterinary Medicine.

This condition causes the thickening of the walls of the ventricle of a cat’s heart. Rapid breathing, lethargy, and abnormal heart sounds are common clinical signs here.

The prognosis isn’t the same for all cats. Some affected felines can live for years after getting diagnosed. However, this disease is most usually progressive and may end up in congestive heart failure.

Final Thoughts

portrait of Savannah cat sitting on the couch and posing for the camera

Savannah cats are exceptional felines. They have a wild-cat look, remarkable personality, and tend to live long – even up to 20 years!

Having a good chance to live this long is something that will attract many prospective cat parents to the Savannah breed.

However, I would like to emphasize that, to live long, this cat needs to have adequate living conditions. These include quality nutrition, a lot of space to jump around, mental stimulation, and, of course, regular veterinary visits.

There are also some unforeseen circumstances that can arise and affect the shorter lifespan of a Savannah cat, regardless of your efforts.

There is actually no surefire guarantee of how much time any cat breed will spend with its humans.

Nevertheless, Savannahs have a really good chance of a long life!

[1] Kent MS, Karchemskiy S, Culp WTN, Lejeune AT, Pesavento PA, Toedebusch C, Brady R, Rebhun R. Longevity and mortality in cats: A single institution necropsy study of 3108 cases (1989-2019). PLoS One. 2022 Dec 29;17(12):e0278199. DOI, Retrieved November 30, 2023.

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