Are Savannah Cats Legal In Florida?

Are you a cat lover who’s always been fascinated by the exotic and striking appearance of savannah cats? If you’re a resident of Florida, it’s important to know the legalities that come with owning these unique felines. Savannah cats are a hybrid breed that results from breeding a domestic housecat with an African serval cat. They’re known for their dog-like personalities and stunning looks, but their special breed status raises questions about their legality in Florida.

The laws regarding ownership of exotic animals vary widely from state to state, so it’s crucial to understand the regulations specific to Florida. In this Sunshine State, owning a savannah cat is legal as long as certain conditions are met. All exotic animals, including savannah cats, require permits in Florida – but there’s a catch. Only F1 and F2 hybrid savannah cats need permits; those that are more than three generations removed from the wild serval cat are exempt.

If you’re considering bringing home one of these beautiful creatures, it’s essential to understand the laws surrounding them. In this blog post, we’ll delve into the details of owning a savannah cat in Florida. We’ll cover everything from permit requirements to potential risks associated with exotic animal ownership. Plus, we’ll explore some ethical concerns surrounding hybrid animal ownership. So keep reading to learn all about owning a savannah cat in Florida.

What Are Savannah Cats?

Savannah cats are a captivating and special breed of domesticated felines that have been gaining popularity since the 1980s. Created by breeder Judee Frank, these cats are a cross between a serval and a domestic cat, resulting in a unique appearance and temperament that sets them apart from other feline breeds.

Distinctive Physical Features

One of the most notable things about Savannah cats is their appearance. They have long legs, a tall and slender body, and distinctive markings on their fur. They come in various sizes, but most Savannah cats are larger than your average domestic cat, with some individuals weighing up to 20 pounds or more.

Playful Personalities

Savannah cats are also known for their playful and active personalities. They love to climb, jump, and run around, making them an excellent choice for owners who enjoy engaging with their pets. These felines require plenty of stimulation and exercise to keep them happy and healthy. They are also known for being very social and affectionate with their owners.


Savannah cats have become increasingly popular over the years for several reasons. For one, they offer a unique alternative to owning a wild exotic cat. While they have some physical characteristics of wild cats, they are still considered domesticated animals and can be kept as pets in many parts of the world.

Another reason for their popularity is their striking appearance. With their long legs and distinctive fur patterns, Savannah cats are undeniably beautiful creatures. And while they may require more space and attention than your average domestic cat, many owners find that their playful personalities make them well worth the extra effort.

Legal Considerations

It is important to note that owning a Savannah cat is not legal in all states and countries. Some places consider them exotic pets and may have strict regulations or outright bans on their ownership. Before deciding to bring one into your home, it is essential to research the laws and regulations in your area to avoid any legal issues.

Are Savannahs Legal in Florida?

However, owning one in Florida might not be as easy as you think. As an expert on this subject, I am here to offer some insights into the legal considerations of owning a Savannah cat in Florida.

Florida law prohibits the ownership of first-generation (F1) Savannahs, which are the result of breeding an African Serval with a domestic cat. This is because they are classified as Class I animals, which are deemed to be potentially dangerous to humans and other animals. However, second-generation (F2) and later generations can be owned without a permit.

But wait, there’s more. Even with these later generations, there are still restrictions on owning them. They must be spayed or neutered by four months old and receive rabies vaccinations to comply with state regulations. It is also important to note that owning a Savannah cat comes with challenges and responsibilities. These cats require special care, including a proper diet, exercise, socialization, and veterinary care.

Finally, it is essential to understand that owning an exotic pet like a Savannah cat can be expensive due to their high breeding cost and rarity. Before bringing one home, make sure you can provide them with the necessary care and attention they need. With proper care, a Savannah cat can make an excellent companion for years to come.

Florida’s Exotic Animal Laws

These exotic hybrid breeds are a cross between a domestic cat and a wild African serval. However, before considering one as a pet, it’s crucial to be aware of Florida’s strict laws on exotic animal ownership.

Florida is known for having some of the strictest laws when it comes to owning exotic animals. The state regulates and prohibits ownership of certain animals, including some types of snakes, primates, and big cats like Savannah cats.

Savannah cats are categorized as “big cats” by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) and are subject to regulations. To legally own a Savannah cat in Florida, it must be at least a fifth-generation cat or more removed from its wild ancestor. This means that the cat must have five or more generations of domestic breeding in its lineage before it can be legally owned as a pet.

However, even if you own a fifth-generation Savannah cat, you’ll still need to obtain a permit from the FWC. The permit includes an annual fee and requires proof that the cat was obtained legally and has been properly vaccinated and microchipped.

It’s also important to keep in mind that some cities and counties in Florida may have their own laws regarding Savannah cats or other exotic animals. Researching any local ordinances is crucial before bringing one into your home.

While owning a Savannah cat might seem like a dream come true, it’s important to consider the responsibilities and potential risks that come with owning an exotic animal. These feline beauties require special care and attention, and their wild ancestry means they can never be fully domesticated.

Obtaining a Permit for Owning a Savannah Cat in Florida

These exotic feline beauties are legal to own as pets in the state, but there are important regulations to follow. As an expert on the topic, I can guide you through the process of obtaining a permit for owning a Savannah cat in Florida.

To begin with, you’ll need a Class II permit from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) before bringing a Savannah cat home. The process involves filling out an application and paying a fee. However, it’s not just a simple formality. The FWC requires detailed information about the cat’s breed, origin, living situation, and your experience with exotic animals. You must also provide proof of liability insurance coverage of at least $100,000.

It’s important to note that not everyone may be eligible for a permit. The FWC may refuse an application if they determine that the owner doesn’t have enough knowledge or resources to care for the animal properly. Additionally, different cities or counties in Florida may have their own rules and regulations regarding exotic pets, so it’s essential to check local laws before making any commitments.

After receiving approval for a permit and bringing your new furry friend home, it’s crucial to keep up with all regulations set by the FWC. This includes regular vet check-ups and reporting any changes in ownership or living situations to the FWC. Failure to comply with these rules can result in fines or even losing your beloved pet.

Restrictions on Where Savannahs Can Be Kept in Florida

If so, you may be considering a majestic Savannah cat. However, before you bring one home as a pet in Florida, it’s important to be aware of the restrictions on where they can be kept.

As an expert on the topic, I’ve dug deep into the regulations and discovered that they vary depending on the county or city. Let’s explore further:

Miami-Dade County has a zero-tolerance stance on owning Savannah cats or any other wild or exotic animals as pets. If caught violating this law, you could face steep fines and even imprisonment. So, if you live in Miami-Dade County, it’s best to admire these beautiful felines from afar.

Orange County, on the other hand, allows Savannah cats as pets but with specific requirements. Owners must register and microchip their feline friend and provide them with a secure enclosure that meets certain standards. These measures ensure the safety and well-being of both owner and animal.

If you’re located in Broward or Palm Beach counties, you’re in luck. These areas have more relaxed regulations and allow Savannah cats as pets without any specific requirements. However, it’s important to note that even in these areas, owners may still be subject to federal laws and regulations regarding the ownership of exotic animals.

Before bringing home your new feline friend, make sure to research the specific regulations in your area. Compliance is vital to avoid legal consequences and ensure your pet’s safety and happiness. Remember, owning a Savannah cat is a significant responsibility that requires proper research and care.

Local Laws Regarding Exotic Animal Ownership

As an expert on the topic, I’ve uncovered some essential information that you need to know.

Firstly, it’s important to note that the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) is responsible for regulating exotic animal ownership in the state. Savannah cats are classified as Class III animals by the FWC, which means they are not illegal to own but require a permit.

To obtain a permit, owners must meet specific requirements, including evidence of experience with exotic animals and a commitment to providing a safe and secure environment for their pet. It’s worth noting that some cities and counties in Florida may have additional regulations regarding exotic animal ownership.

Miami-Dade County has banned the ownership of savannah cats and other exotic animals, while Orange County requires registration and secure housing for pets. Broward and Palm Beach counties are more lenient but still subject to federal laws.

If you do decide to bring a savannah cat into your home, it’s crucial to follow specific guidelines for their care and housing. These guidelines include providing adequate space, shelter, and veterinary care for your feline companion.

Considerations Before Purchasing a Savannah Cat in Florida

If so, a Savannah cat may be just what you’re looking for. These exotic felines are renowned for their striking appearance and unparalleled personality. However, before you rush to purchase one, it’s crucial to consider all the factors involved. As an expert on the subject, I’ve compiled a list of key considerations to keep in mind when purchasing a Savannah cat in Florida.

  • Legalities: Savannah cats are considered a hybrid breed rather than a domesticated cat, which means they require unique care and attention. In Florida, owning a Savannah cat is legal, but you must register your pet with the state’s Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC). This registration is mandatory regardless of the cat’s generation or intended purpose.
  • Health Issues: Due to their hybrid nature, Savannah cats have a higher risk of health issues than domesticated cats. Potential owners should factor in potential medical expenses when considering purchasing one. Additionally, these cats require specialized care, including proper nutrition, grooming, and adequate space to roam and play.
  • Cost: Owning a Savannah cat is not cheap. The initial cost of purchasing one can run into the thousands of dollars. In addition to that, you must consider the expense of food, medical care, and any additional needs your pet may have.
  • Restrictions: In Florida, owning certain generations of Savannah cats requires special permits. F1 or F2 generation Savannah cats are illegal to own without a permit. It’s important to check with your local government for any restrictions before making your purchase.


To sum up, having a Savannah cat as a pet in Florida is legal, but it’s important to know the specific rules and regulations before adopting one. These exotic felines are a combination of an African serval and a domestic housecat, resulting in striking physical characteristics and playful personalities. However, due to their wild heritage, they are classified as Class III animals by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), which means permits are necessary.

It’s worth noting that only F1 and F2 hybrid Savannah cats require permits in Florida. Those that have been more than three generations removed from their wild serval ancestors are exempt. Furthermore, different cities or counties may have their own laws concerning exotic pets, so researching local regulations is crucial.

Potential owners should also consider the expenses of owning a Savannah cat, including medical costs and specialized care requirements. Providing adequate space, shelter, nutrition, grooming, exercise, socialization and veterinary care for these unique felines is essential.

All things considered, owning a Savannah cat can be an incredibly rewarding experience for those who are willing to put in the effort required.