The Savannah cat, while majestic and beautiful, is still considered a dangerous animal in most regards. It is a hybrid animal that is a cross between a domesticated cat and a wild serval. The serval is responsible for the large size and unique appearance of the cat. It’s also the reason this cat is considered exotic, dangerous, and illegal in many areas. In particular, Savannah cat laws in Colorado prohibit the ownership of this cat in the city of Denver.
The First Savannah Cat
The first Savannah cat was bred in 1986. It was a cross between a Siamese cat and a male serval cat. A serval is a medium-sized cat with large ears that is found in the wild in Africa. Following the first breeding in 1986, the Savannah cat quickly grew in popularity. It was even accepted as a registered breed in 2001 by the International Cat Association.
However, the acceptance of this cat as a new breed does not make it entirely safe or legal in many cities in the country. The safety of these cats can often be determined by how many generations they have been bred and raised in captivity.
For example, Denver law prohibits the ownership of hybrid cats between domestic and non-domestic breeds. It does allow one exception. That exception states that the ownership is legal if the ancestor of the non-domestic cat was a Bengal cat and that all ancestors of the new hybrid have lived in captivity for at least the last five generations.
This exception is allowed because of the great length of time in which Bengal breeds have been bred and crossbred with domestic cats. Even so, the law still recognizes the potential danger in these hybrid Bengal breeds. This is why there are a mandatory five generations of captivity required before the cat can be owned in Denver.
Savannah Cat Laws In Colorado
Such a law does not apply to hybrids like the Savannah cat. For the case of the Savannah breed, they are classified as “wild or dangerous” according to Denver legislature. They are found in the same group of animals as scorpions, poisonous spiders, monitor lizards, and nonpoisonous snakes that are longer than six feet. These “wild or dangerous” animals cannot be owned, possessed, maintained, or sold within Denver city limits. The only exceptions to this rule are circuses, zoos, and other similar institutions.
The Savannah cat laws in Colorado vary from one city to the next. As far as state laws are concerned, there are no regulations found for hybrids. However, there have been various studies launched over the years. These studies were deemed mandatory by the legislature. One such study found that hybrids are dangerous animals and need to be carefully regulated.
What Does This Mean For You?
What does that mean if you have an interest in owning or breeding a Savannah cat? First and foremost it means that you cannot do so within the city limits of Denver. As for other cities, you will need to familiarize yourself with the local regulations. Some cities will allow it while other cities do not. You will need to be extremely careful when transporting from one location to the next. Simply passing through a city that does not allow it could get you into trouble.
Finally, you should carefully consider the decision even if it is legal in the city where you live. Studies have found that these cats are still considered dangerous and many organizations are pushing for tighter regulations. It may not be long before there are new laws, either city or state-wide, that completely prohibit ownership of these animals in Colorado.
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