Is a house cat this large potentially dangerous to young kids?

This YouTube video touts “Savannah cats” as being excellent companions, but given the size of this cat the destruction it could wreak if pissed looks to be considerable.

Is a cat of this size a concern re child safety?

Wow, that’s a big kitty! I don’t know if it’s any more of a child safety concern than any cat, though.

That’s an F1 (first generation) Savannah cat. Most I’ve seen for sale are F3-F6, which are much smaller.

An F1 like that will set you back about $15,000.

I think this article at Big Cats Rescue is worth a read if you’re thinking of buying a hybrid cat: http://bigcatrescue.org/2011/hybrid-facts

Sigh. I swear, there should be a regulation that people buying pets are required to buy insurance that will pay for sheltering the pet if they decide to get rid of it. And, of course, insurance premiums should go way up after each such abandonment.

And if you stop and think about it, how is that any different than having a large dog, like a lab?

Thank you for the article. I had no idea such cats were being bred although I’ve heard of the Bengal. I am fond of cats and naive enough to think such a cat would be a good pet. Not any more.

Felis domesticus is accurately named for a good reason - it happily shares a domicile with humans. Of the 39 cat species only 3 form family and tribal bonds. The domestic cat, cheetahs, and lions. All the other cats are loners which control a territory and avoid other cats or at best tolerate them.

Even the domestic kitty is still a wild animal which chooses to live with us but never far away from being an active carnivore.

A perfectly reasonable question. The answer is that many/most breeds of dog have the wild bred out of them. However there are breeds like the pit-bull which are dangerous if they feel threatened or need to defend their territory or “family”. Personally I’d trust a labrador but you make a very good point.

Cats are much closer to the wild than dogs and these hybrid cats would be dangerous. The big cat rescue guy talks about cats which stalk dogs and even an old lady.

While that depends wildly on the dog, I don’t think that any cat, including a housecat that large, is really going to be any kind of a threat to a kid older than one year. Once the kid’s walking, it’s probably taller than the cat, and possibly heavier. I’ve never heard of a housecat who disliked kids actively doing anything hostile to the kid, either-- the kid may get a handful of claws if he pulls the cat’s tail, but that won’t seriously hurt the kid, and the kid probably shouldn’t be pulling the cat’s tail. Most housecats who don’t get along with children actively avoid the children, rather than being agressive.

In contrast, I wouldn’t be quite as comfortable having a dog that size around a very little kid as a cat. A dog may decide to play rough in a way that a cat won’t with something its own size. Depends on the dog, of course.

I want one!

Please, please, please Santa, can you bring me one of those kitty cats for Xmas?

Pretty please?? :smiley:

I now have two Maine Coons. They’re big boys, one about 15 pounds and the other about 23. With a high prey drive and lots of strength, you cannot play with them using your hands the way you might with a smaller cat of a different breed. They will bite and it will hurt, even though they are only playing. And Maine Coons have a reputation of being very friendly, very loving cats. The guys in the OP are wild-crossed, sometimes as recently as first generation. I wouldn’t take one of them on a bet, much less with small children.

I think it depends on the cat’s attitude rather than its size. I wouldn’t trust an ordinary-size feral cat around a small child.

My Huey is a Bengal who does nothing more savage than eating an occasional moth.

coffeecat, I’m really interested in hearing experiences from owners of these different breeds.

I’m not sure I’d go for an F1 Savannah (the cost alone rules that out), but a breeder not far from here has F5’s, which are more common cat size and bloodline. If there’s a doper out there with any experience with them, I’d love to hear it.

F1 Savannahs are half wildcat (serval), so I don’t think most people should own them as pets, as they don’t have experience with owning a wild cat. It’s not the size so much as the temperament you might get from a half-serval cat.

I say if you want a Savannah that will be good around kids, choose one that’s several more generations down from an F1. Or if you want a cat that’s part wild, choose a Bengal, which has been bred to have a good temperament.

One of my favorite sayings is: God created cats so that man may touch the tiger. Cats are essentially still mostly wild animals The only thing tht akes little Muffy any different from a Bengal tiger is about 500 lbs. These cats kinda bridge the gap. :slight_smile:

I don’t have any experience with the hybrid cats, but I know that most of the wolf hybrids are just accidents waiting to happen.

A friend of mine owns one of those “African wildcats” - about the size of a small domestic shorthair. She took her from a family that had to get rid of her not due to temperment, but allergies.

Took 8 years for that cat to come out of the chimney.

She may look like a housecat, but she’s not. She’s shyer than even a shy housecat. She’s truly nocturnal, waking for only a few minutes if disturbed during daylight hours. She reacts unpredictably to a person walking into the room. She is very aggressive with the other (domestic breed) cats, and they completely avoid “her” room and have for years. She won’t leave her room; she doesn’t care to increase her territory, but it’s most definitely her territory. Our biggest worry is that when she’s ready to die, she’s gonna climb back into her chimney and we won’t know until we start smelling her.

People are fond of saying that cats aren’t truly domesticated, but there are very real differences between our housecats and even similarly sized wild cats. Buyer should most definitely be ware.

Like any other semi-exotic pet, there is work to be done on the part of the humans to adapt to certain aspects of the animal’s behaviour. Generally speaking, savannah cats are fairly easy to have around, but they do require a good bit of play and mental stimulation or they can become a nuisance ( just like domestics). Just remember that all that extra size translates into a more difficult animal to control when necessary. They tend to behave a bit more like dogs though, and are generally friendly, easier to train, and easy tempered. I would not leave one around very small children.

I think you’ll find the technical term is “cattitude”.

Not to open the whole pitbull debate again, but labradors have their own reputation for attacks. I think the general rule for pets in families with small kids is good supervision - dogs and cats are all capable of doing damage to a small child.

I don’t agree with this from what I’ve seen of my own cats - my husband’s cat had never seen a toddler, and when she met her first one, her instinct was not to hide but to go into full-on “attack” mode - we were with her and were able to separate her and the toddler, but it could have gone very badly for the kid.

The abandoned Maine Coon we adopted was very low-key, friendly to the point of being almost dog-like and gentle (maybe being neutered had something to do with it). The only time I ever felt his teeth was at the end of a grooming session and I was trying (as carefully as I could) to remove fur clots, when he gently closed his teeth on my hand as a subtle hint (“Thanks, that’s quite enough for now”). :smiley:

I wouldn’t mind having a Savannah (if Mrs. J. was not allergic), but it’d make sense to not allow very young children access until you’re sure the animal isn’t going to react badly.