Both Savannah and Bengal cats are awesome breeds with exotic looks. A novice cat parent could even have trouble differentiating these two.
However, there are some differences that can help you separate Savannah from Bengal.
There are also some appearance and personality traits that can help you decide which is your favorite between them.
So, let’s look at the Savannah cat vs Bengal cat debate from up close. You will get a fair insight into what living with both of these felines will look like.
Savannah Cat Vs Bengal Cat Overview
|Weight||9-24 pounds||8-15 pounds|
|Height||14-17 inches||13-16 inches|
|Coat type||Short, dense, coarse||Short, dense, soft|
|Coat colors||Black, black smoke, brown spotted tabby, silver spotted tabby||Silver, snow, brown with spotted and marble patterns|
|Temperament||Playful, loyal, active||Sweet, energetic, curious|
|Health||Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy, dental problems, diabetes||Allergies, hip dysplasia, diabetes|
|Lifespan||12-15 years||12-20 years|
The Savannah cat is a hybrid breed. As explained by the Savannah Cat Association, this cat is a result of breeding various spotted, domestic shorthair cats to Servals. Servals are wild cats that live in the Savannah region of Africa.
The Savannah breed has gained popularity due to its exotic appearance while still exhibiting fully domestic habits.
Hybrid ancestry is a common trait Savannah cats share with Bengals. This cat came about as a result of crossing an Asian Leopard Cat with a domestic cat. The Asian Leopard Cat is a smaller wild cat native to Southeast Asia.
Therefore, both Savannah and Bengal cats are bred to resemble wild cats in their appearance, but to have personality traits of domestic cats.
Savannah cats can differ in size, which occurs due to the existence of a couple of generations of these felines.
F1 generation Savannah cats are the largest ones, and they are 50% Serval. F2 generation Savannah cats are 25% Serval, while Savannah cats of F3 generation approximately have 19% of Serval blood.
The percentage of wild cat ancestors in their blood influences these cats’ appearance and behavior. This is why you can see Savannah cats in different sizes.
But, in general, Savannah cats can weigh 9 to 24 pounds, according to their growth chart. Their height goes from 14 to 17 inches.
Bengals are smaller than Savannah cats. Their typical weight is 8 to 15 pounds, while they stand 13 to 16 inches tall.
Body And Facial Features
The Savannah cat has a very muscular and sleek body. Its legs are long and its tail is shortened.
This cat’s head is triangular and its eyes are almond-shaped. They can be seen in different colors, such as green, copper, hazel, gold, and yellow.
Savannah has distinctive large, upright ears with rounded tops. Its neck is very long and graceful.
The Bengal cat has a powerful posture. Its body is muscular and strong.
This breed features a rather small, round head, and large eyes. Just like with the Savannah, they can be seen in various colors, such as green, gold, yellow, blue, and orange.
Bengal’s front legs are shorter than their hind legs, giving them a graceful look. This cat resembles a miniature leopard in its appearance.
To get the approximate image of these two breeds, check out the funny video below showing a Bengal chasing after a Savannah cat.
Coat Type And Colors
The Savannah’s fur is short, coarse, and dense. Its spotted coat is one of this cat’s most recognizable features.
There are officially four recognized colors and patterns of this breed: Black, black smoke, brown spotted tabby, and silver spotted tabby.
However, there are many other colors present with the Savannah cat, but cats with these colors cannot compete in shows. Some of them are cinnamon, chocolate, brown, and marble.
Bengals also have short and dense coats, but they are softer to the touch.
Brown/black tabby is the most popular coat color in Bengals. Officially, there are three colors accepted in this breed: Silver, Brown, and Snow. Three Snow colors in Bengals are Seal Sepia, Seal Mink Point, and Seal Lynx.
The International Cat Association points out how spotted and marble are two accepted pattern types within each color category.
The base color of their coats can be cream, ivory, or light tan. These cats’ spots range from light brown color to dark chocolate.
Besides the recognized colors, there are also many other coat colors and patterns Bengals can be seen in, just like Savannah cats.
Interesting Read: Bengal Vs Tabby: How Similar These Two Cats Are Actually?
Temperament And Behavior
Despite their wild ancestors, Savannah cats are known for their affection and loyalty towards their owners.
These cats are very active and playful. They’re also highly intelligent and capable of learning to walk on a leash and play fetch.
When properly socialized from a young age, the Savannah is great with children and even other pets.
This cat is agile, athletic, and curious. It’s best suited for people who are looking for a highly-energetic cat. Savannah cats are also typically very vocal and chatty with their owners.
Similarly, the Bengal cat, despite its wild ancestry, possesses a sweet and loving temperament.
This cat forms deep bonds with its owners and stays loyal to them. It’s one athletic and energetic cat that needs plenty of space and activity opportunities.
A Bengal is an intelligent and friendly breed that demands a lot of attention and interaction with their human family.
This cat doesn’t like to be left alone. If it gets bored or lonely, it could show destructive behaviors.
Just like Savannah, the Bengals are likely to be very vocal.
Care requirements of a certain breed are essential for every future owner to consider.
Let’s delve into the care needs of both Savannah and Bengal cats to see if there are significant differences in this regard.
Savannah is a highly energetic cat that needs to be fed with a quality diet. But, in general, this cat’s diet requirements are the same as for all other domestic cats.
According to PetKeen, Savannah’s diet should consist of high-protein foods from an animal source, low carbohydrates, and quality fats.
This cat can thrive both on commercial food or a cooked diet, and on a raw meat diet. For any uncertainties related to Savannah’s diet, you can always ask a vet or feline nutritionist for advice.
Bengals have similar nutritional needs. Just bear in mind that felines are obligate carnivores and that food derived from animal protein is crucial for them.
These cats shouldn’t receive too many treats, and shouldn’t eat their owner’s table scraps.
Also, it’s necessary to use factors such as a cat’s energy level and age as guidance for their daily meals.
Savannah cats and Bengals have similar grooming needs.
They’re both low-shedding breeds, meaning that it’s unnecessary to brush their coats daily. Once a week should be enough for these two cats.
This way, their coats will be clean, nice, and shiny. Brushing helps get rid of the debris and dirt from their furs.
Bathing is also not required often, especially if these are indoor cats exclusively.
An important part of their grooming routine is brushing their teeth regularly, to avoid dental problems in them. Also, it’s beneficial to take them for annual professional teeth cleaning.
Physical And Mental Stimulation
This is another similar part of taking care of Bengals and Savannah cats.
Both of them are athletic, active, and energetic. They need a lot of regular physical exercise and space to climb, run, and jump.
Both Bengals and Savannah cats will benefit from tall cat trees and playing sessions with their owners.
Mental stimulation is equally important for these intelligent and curious breeds. Engaging in training sessions, such as teaching them to walk on a leash or retrieve toys, can help keep their minds active and satisfied.
Health Problems And Lifespan
Some of the most common health issues in the Savannah breed are dental problems, diabetes, and Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy.
Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy is a condition characterized by thickening of the walls of the primary pump muscle of a cat’s heart. Lisa Freeman and her associates  point out how this is a common disease in both cats and dogs, affecting 10-15% of the pet population.
Bengals cats are likely to develop health problems such as allergies and hip dysplasia, which includes an abnormal development of the cat’s hip joint.
Just like the Savannah, the Bengal could also deal with feline diabetes.
A Bengal cat’s lifespan is estimated to be anywhere between 12 to 20 years. Savannah cats have a slightly shorter life expectancy, ranging from 12 to 15 years.
Besides potential health problems, a cat’s lifestyle can also greatly affect its lifespan.
This is why it’s very important to provide a cat with a quality diet, a decent amount of exercise, and healthy socialization. This rule is the same for all felines, regardless of their breed.
What can we conclude about the Savannah cat vs Bengal cat debate?
They are both hybrids and have wild origins. Their coats are spotted and their bodies are muscular.
One difference between them is their size, since Savannah is likely to be a lot larger than a Bengal.
Coat requirements are practically the same for these two breeds. They are both a low-maintenance breed in terms of grooming, but have high needs for activity.
Both Bengals and Savannah cats are energetic and athletic. Besides the need for space and activities, they also require a lot of mental stimulation.
Despite their wild origins, both these cats are loving and loyal to their owners. Anyone looking for a graceful and athletic cat cannot go worn with either Bengal or Savannah!
Now, what’s your favorite among these two exotic cats?
 Freeman LM, Rush JE, Stern JA, Huggins GS, Maron MS. Feline Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy: A Spontaneous Large Animal Model of Human HCM. Cardiol Res. 2017 Aug;8(4):139-142. DOI, Retrieved September 29, 2023.
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