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What’s the cost of a hybrid wild cat like a Bengal or Savannah?



The true cost will shock you!

Stories about early-generation hybrid wild cats are so often the same – and so disturbing. Yet the general public simply sees the beauty of the cat, the gorgeous markings of the fur and asks, “how much?” They’ll pay ridiculous amounts of money to have one. But, what’s the true cost?

This is the story of an F1 Savannah cat (first generation hybrid of a wild African serval and a domestic cat) that we’ll call Sapphire, though that’s not her real name. What happened to her isn’t unusual for many cats used in the hybrid breeding industry

When people buy later generation hybrids they consider more “domesticated,” they tend to forget about what happened to all the early generation wild ones, like Sapphire, who are tossed aside in the process.

Hilo website article 1
Savannah Cat – not Sapphire

Sapphire spent most of her 10 years as a breeding queen in a cattery. Many years, she was owned by a well-known breeder who believes her F1 Savannahs are not meant to be domesticated pets. They don’t live in her family home and they aren’t socialized as “pets.”

When this breeder retired from breeding Savannah Cats, she sold off most of her unaltered breeding cats. Sapphire was sold to another breeder who also didn’t keep or treat her breeding cats as pets. From there, it’s unclear what happened with Sapphire until animal control was eventually contacted about an F1 Savannah going to be confiscated or surrendered.

Reports about Sapphire’s living conditions grew increasingly worse. Her current owner had suffered some sort of accident and it was getting difficult for her to care for the many cats she had. Sapphire and her other cats had been kept in small cages on the property without climate control or exercise. She eventually surrendered them to avoid being charged with mistreatment.

The rescue that temporarily took her in reported Sapphire hissed and growled whenever anyone got close to her and would run away to hide. She always appeared to be starving, but wouldn’t eat dry kibble, only raw meat or canned food. She’d pick fights with other dominant or feisty cats and had an aversion to being touched so could not be handled.

And yet, breeders will write descriptions about F1 Savannah cats like this:

“The extraordinary Savannah personality. Bright, inventive, intelligent, even ingenious, playful, charming, and intensely energetic, the personable Savannah is very dog-like. Readily trainable, most love to play fetch, ride in cars, and relish outdoor walks on a leash.  Actually a Savannah can be very much like a water-loving dog who’ll wrestle you for the garden hose, splash around in your morning shower or wade through your bathwater. And their ability to leap straight up into the air is awesome.”

Savannah cat - not Sapphire
Savannah cat – not Sapphire

When buyers are willing to pay $15,000 – $20,000 to own an F1 Savannah cat that looks wild, like Sapphire, is it any surprise that breeders continue to breed and breed and sell and sell?

Please help educate others why hybrid breeding must end and keep the wild in your heart, not your home. Visit your local shelter and adopt one of the millions of true domestic cats in need of a home right now. For Sapphire’s sake and so many others like her, let’s keep our wildlife truly wild.

Read more firsthand accounts from owners of hybrid wild cats HERE.

Read the stories of the nearly 50 hybrids we’ve had to step up to rescue HERE.

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