Wednesday 18 June 2008

Savannah cats

Savannah cat
Savannah cat - photograph copyright Helmi Flick

Savannah cats are fantastic looking cats but some people are not so sure about them. We know how well controlled the borders are in Australia (for humans that is).

Well, the same rules are in place for animals too. Some people in Australia think they have a feral cat problem. Feral cats in Australia kill native species such as snakes and lizards apparently.

The fear seems to be that if Savannah cats are imported or bred in Australia, this fine looking domestic cat breed, may turn into a nationwide pest. It is hard to see this cat being a pest. The concerns come from environmentalists.

The argument goes that if an ordinary sized feral domestic cat can harm native species then a large domestic cat like the Savannah (in fact the largest domestic cat breed in respect of the earlier generation such as the F2 - second generation from the wild) will potentially cause even more damage if the cat becomes feral. It would, though, seem highly unlikely that this cat would become feral due to the rarity of this cat breed and expense. They are expensive cats. Although this breed is relatively large compared to other domestic cats, they are relatively small compared to other animals including humans.

Anyway there are real fears and there appears to be a growing concern. I would have thought that the sensible solution would be careful control and management which should be the case with all domestic cats. In fact it is this that is being put forward as the best way forward by the importers Savannah Cats Australia. Another point is that they are importing and breeding (it seems to me from what I have read) F5 Savannahs, which are obviously far more like a domestic cat in character (98% domestic cat Kathrin Stucki of A1 Savannahs says) than for example F2 Savannahs. In the USA some people like to keep F2 wild cat hyrids. It would seem that the concerns some people have in Australia are in relation to the F2 Savannahs. This would seem to be misguided.

Savannah Cats Australia are working with the founding cattery, A1 Savannahs, which is located in the USA.

As usual it is a balance between human rights at a fundamental level (freedom of choice) and animal rights, including the rights of wild animals.

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