Testimonials

F1 Savannahs

Pepper

This is Pepper, our F1-Savannah male. He was born in April 2001 and he is about nine months old in these pictures. We got him from Dale in the beginning of October last year, when he was six months old. That is older than normal for a kitten to be shipped to his new owner, but we had to wait such a long time to get him to Germany where pepper is living now.

You need permission from America and from Germany to ship overseas, so it was a bit more complicated, but it was worth the wait to have Pepper here now. On his arrival Pepper was a bit upset – it was a very long journey. At first I thought he might never hear his name, but now he does. But anyway, most the time when we are at home he’s in the near of us. I have never seen a cat which is so friendly with other cats from the first minute on. Pepper really loves his mates. I think most Savannahs really need at least one cat companion – they are full of temperament and like to play and jump around. It’s so funny – I love to see that! But of course he also likes to play with his people, he can’t ever get enough. When Pepper arrived here, he was smaller than my matured Somali and Coonies, but at this point of age he is a bit bigger than my other cats and Dale says he will be a big boy one day when he’s matured…

If you have any questions, feel free to email me: silkekleineberg@aol.com

Sincerely,

Silke Kleineberg

Wyatt

I would like to start off by saying thank you Select Exotics for everything you’ve done for me, I couldn’t be happier. This all started one night when I was looking online for exotic cats. After searching for a while I came across a website that was all about savannahs. I looked through all the breeders sites and I also contacted a few of them. Most of the breeders I talked to were very unprofessional and didn’t help me out at all. I then called Select Exotics, the one’s I should have called first.

Savannah Cat Breed at Select ExoticsTheir website blew away all the other competitors by three touchdowns. I looked through everything they had on their site. Right then I knew where I was going to get my F1 savannah. So right away I called and spoke to Holly. I told her everything I wanted in a savannah and how particular I was. She put my name down on a waiting list.

In the mean time I asked Dale and Holly if it would be possible for me to come down there and interact with their cats. They didn’t even hesitate before saying “Of course.” Within a week I was on a flight out to Illinois. I arrived at the Hummel’s house in no time at all because of Holly’s perfect directions. When I got to their house Dale greeted me at the car and welcomed me into their home as if I were family. While talking with the Hummel’s I looked around and noticed that they monitor all of their females that are ready to deliver and all of the newborn kittens. I was also amazed to see how clean everything was and how well everything was set up.

Savannah Cat Breed at Select ExoticsHolly then gave me a tour that I will never forget. She did such a thorough job of explaining the cats and with such great detail that after a few minutes I felt like a cat expert. Then she took me back inside to show me some of the kittens that they had. Holly brought out a couple of kittens each time and every time I was in awe. You can’t help but fall in love with these beautiful creatures, especially when they are cuddled up in your lap. The hardest part of the trip was leaving the Hummel’s house without a kitten. I knew that all along I wasn’t going to pick one up right then, but it was still hard anyways. The trip out to Chatsworth was one of the top ten greatest experiences I’ve had in my life. It was what you call “short and sweet.”

It was a matter of just a few weeks, lots of e-mails and a couple litters later that an F1 male came available. I was so thrilled to hear the great news that I wanted to fly back out there to give the Hummel’s a great big hug. Before picking up my kitten Holly kept me very informed through pictures of my kitten and updates telling me how he was progressing throughout the whole process. A few days before picking up my savannah Holly called me to let me know everything I needed to know about the departure and the arrival time.

Savannah Cat Breed at Select ExoticsWhen it was time to pick up my kitten I made sure to get there plenty early. I waited for his arrival with such enthusiasm. In the distance I saw a gentleman carrying a kennel with my baby in it. When he handed it over to me I couldn’t believe how well everything was covered up. They also taped food and a letter onto the kennel. The letter gave me all the information about my kitten and even how to feed him. When I got home I brought him upstairs to my room and opened the kennel. The Hummel’s told me not to pull him out, but let him come out on his own. He took awhile before deciding to come out so I put some food and water in front of the kennel and then it was only a few minutes before he came out. I blocked off half of my room with a two foot board so it wouldn’t be to overwhelming for him. It took about two hours before he decided to jump over my barrier and explore the rest of my room. A few days later he – Wyatt – was introduced to my parent’s Chihuahua and family. The Chihuahua and Wyatt became friends right away.

~ Thanks to Select Exotics for giving me the right advice and my new best friend.

F2 Savannahs

Scar

We purchased our F2 Savannah from Select Exotics about 2 years ago. Working with Holly and Dale on the selection of the one for us was a great experience – they covered needs, care and tried their best to prep us for what life would now be like living with an F2 Savannah. It was very evident that Holly and Dale’s hybrid cat program at Select Exotics was miles above and beyond any other in the world. There was no question in our minds about which breeder we should choose.

We’ve previously owned mixed breeds, Persian, Siamese, Abyssinian and an F3 Bengal. But nothing can quite prepare you for brining a Savannah into the household. After the rigorous trial of choosing a name we settled on SCAR from THE LION KING – all of our current cats are named from musical theater shows – So SCAR joined FIYERO the F3 Bengal and WHIZZER the Abyssinian.

SCAR was a healthy kitten, but we did have to find the right food that worked with his wild tummy. We have found success with INNOVA EVO canned and dry food made by Natura Pet Products. It is a high quality protein rich, ultra-low carb diet with no grains and has helped SCAR grown into a lanky 15 pounds with a gorgeous spotted pelt. Most people guess that he weighs more than that because he is very tall and quite long. Someone once commented rather accurately that he is “a cat and a half long”. His size is matched by his unique personality and gorgeous exotic markings: huge ears, dark mascara lines on his face, beautiful dark amber eyes, and jet black ink spots on a cool silver/tan background.

SCAR is a two-person cat and wary of any and all visitors – never hiding from them, but keeping a safe distance as he circles any intruders to his lair. We have found as he matures that he is taking less time to move closer to new people especially if a cat toy is involved – in that case he will play with anyone pulling a mouse or feather toy. Our friends love interacting with him that way and stop by with their children just to have the experience of playing with such a beautiful and “wild” animal. Although I have to say there is a little fear and intimidation in their faces at times when he makes a lunge for the toy because I believe they think they are the closest to “wildcat” that they’ve ever been and they are amazed at his agility and quickness and maybe even a great roar (ok, growl) at times.

One thing to think about is finding a vet who is comfortable with handling an F2. SCAR is not a happy vet visitor and needs more than one handler on all visits. We have not tried an in-house visit (our vet doesn’t offer), which might be a better solution.

What will you experience in day-to-day living? An abundance of energy – always wanting to play and wanting to be where you are. Extraordinary jumps and leaps. Extreme intelligence – able to open and shut doors – turning on the stereo to wake us up for breakfast and even turning on the oven once. Hording of his favorite toys [usually dog toys but occasionally a polar fleece glove or three], which he frequently carries under our bed. And when SCAR wants to give love – be ready – you’ll know it by his vocalizations – great sounds you’ll not hear from other cats – he talks to you and makes it known he wants attention. He gives strong head butts and loves to lick and rub the scent glands of his mouth on you – wetting your fist – as he marks you and claims you as his own. Nightly he will join us first on the couch for some lap cuddling and every night in bed curling up in our legs. He is very possessive and gets jealous when either of the other cats comes around during his one-on-one time. This usually means a quick escape for the moment, but never going far away. We were very hands on with SCAR from the moment we brought him home and now he allows us to pick him up and even hold him briefly – at least until he remembers that he is a wild beast!

We’ve loved how SCAR has made us look at owning cats so very differently and are interested in moving on to an F1 sometime in our future. If you are thinking about making the leap to a hybrid cat you can’t go wrong with Holly and Dale and the absolutely amazing cats from Select Exotics.

- Larry Birkett & Shawn Gulyas, Milwaukee, WI - February 5, 2009

Bentley

Bentley is beautiful and has the best personality. He comes when you call him and he follows me everywhere, he is always at the door when we come home, and gives us plenty of kisses. He loves to fetch and likes water.

He eats like crazy and is very picky about his litter; he wants it clean all of the time. We change it every other day as it is and still if there is a little something in there, he make a strange crying sound and paws the floor in the bathroom next to the box with a sweeping motion as if to say ” I want this clean” and will sit there until it’s perfectly clean and then he uses the litter box, if not clean he will use the bath tub instead. We definitely cater to him in this area….

He also loves to take rides in the car, especially to the pet store, and everyone that sees him loves the exotic look that he has and wants to know what kind of cat he is. It’s always a new adventure with Bentley. He likes to attack flowers in vases and enjoys toying with our daughter Jade at 2 a.m. in the morning with a pot scrubber that he takes from the kitchen sink, he jumps in her bed trying to wake her to play by putting it in her face. Needless to say it’s never a dull moment. My parents come over to visit Bentley and the kids. He is just like one of our kids!

Boomerang

Boomerang is enjoying his second summer here in Whitefish Montana! He has 10 acres to play on and rules this like a Lion king!!

I am sending a few pictures your way, and will try to get a couple better photos soon. The Colombian ground squirrels are terrified!! His best friend is a large snowshoe mix named Peanut, and they are brothers all the way!! He sleeps with my seven year old daughter every night. He follows her around like a guard dog. He is the most affectionate pet I have ever seen. He loves to head butt!! Thanks for such a great creature! Our lives have been enriched!!

Lightning

Lightning – “What a Cat.”

In Thailand there is a Buddhist temple, called Tiger Temple, where the monks live with tigers. One of these is named Lightning- our Savannah F2 male is named after this wildcat, because he is an incredible combination of intelligence and wild independence, coupled with a love of people and an almost fierce loyalty to his family.

When we added Lightning to our family, our son was almost seven. As he is an only child, we were looking for a playmate and companion for him. What a perfect solution Lightning turned out to be! This Savannah always wants to be with people, so he is right in the middle of the action, whether our son is reading a book, playing Legos, sledding, or taking a nap.

After visiting Tiger Temple, the thought was born that a cat may be a good playmate for our son. So, we started doing our research on cats, and came across the Savannah breed. We started researching the Savannah breed and the breeders on the web. Select Exotics was an obvious “head and shoulders” above the rest, with the quality and selection of cats. And, with Dale being a professor of animal nutrition, we knew the cats would be well cared for.

So, we went to visit Dale & Holly to see what a Savannah was. When we were there, Dale made sure we ended up with the perfect cat for us- one that would be very social, especially as we had a child. In reality, Lightning has far exceeded our expectations- not only does he have some of the wildness and pride of his Serval grandfather, he is the most loving, playful, and non-aggressive cat we have ever seen. Yet, he is not afraid of anything. If there is a storm raging, or perhaps a bigger dog nearby, he walks towards- not away- from these powerful threats. What a cat.

Lightning has such personality, and is always ready to play- he loves to play hide and seek, and will chase a crumpled up piece of paper and bring it back up the stairs. In fact, cardboard boxes and a crumpled up piece of paper are much more interesting to him than any so-called cat toys we have purchased. However, his favorite toy is a small stuffed tiger that he hugs, licks, and very gently picks up. We have other stuffed animals he plays with but, of course, he identifies with the tiger. He is a good communicator- we always know what he wants, and he talks to us often. I have never heard a cat purr so much, but if he has to move from his position and doesn’t want to, he will let you know because he “chatters,” then walks away. It is his way of complaining!

We feed him dry cat food, and ham as an occasional treat, but he loves ice cream. When we are eating a bowl of ice cream, he will come take a sniff if you let him, but he won’t take a lick, as tempting as it is. He will then sit by you and patiently wait, as he knows he’ll get the last spoonful. What a cat.

The independence in cats is well known- however, his intelligence, loyalty, love, and curiosity are so strong that he will come when called, knows all types of words, will modify his actions very quickly (when he wants to). He is a great companion- where ever we are, he has to be. If we are in all parts of the house, he sits in the middle.

When people come over, they marvel at the friendliness and directness of Lighting- he is the first at the door when someone knocks- as well as his size. His looks and bearing are so striking, that when we were walking him down the street one day (on a leash), the neighbor man backed up his car halfway down the street to get a better look. He asked, “What is that, a mountain cat?!”’

~The Homola Family

Sagwa

Life with Sagwa!

She has endless energy-whether it is the middle of the afternoon or the middle of the night and will expect you to play. We have found that if you wear Sagwa out a half hour before family bedtime you may get a full nights rest. She will let you know when she is tired when she lays down and at times pants like a dog. She prefers the real fur wrapped mouse type of toy and as soon as one is worn out by her we replace it. Immediately the new toy is taken by Sagwa and carried throughout the house with it in her mouth with a low growl as if to say this is my kill.

It is extremely difficult to put into writing what it is like to own a Savannah cat-they are so different from your ordinary housecat in every aspect. We got our F2 Savannah female Sagwa from Holly and Dale at Select Exotics when she was eight weeks old. Currently she is 7 ½ months old and weighs 8 ½ pounds (and still growing!). From the first day that we brought Sagwa home she has exceeded our expectations from what we ever imagined from a cat. Sagwa had taken only a couple of days after establishing her new surroundings to adjust to her new home and our other domestic housecat and after that she quickly became the dominant animal in the house (even though she was so tiny!) and it was like she had lived here forever. Our older cat will play and they will chase each other back and forth, but Sagwa never seems to tire. We have nicknamed her “princess” and “trouble”-depending on the mood she is in!

Also, I have learned that if I want to fold clean clothes out of the dryer I must fold them when Sagwa is not around-she pulls one piece of clothing at a time out of the basket and carries them off to her secret hiding spot. We have just recently put up our Christmas tree-we were skeptical on the “disasters” that Sagwa may cause but we were not prepared for what she actually did! Not only did Sagwa climb her way up the tree but she also managed to pull ¾ of the lights, ornaments and tinsel off! She has gotten the tree swaying back and forth pretty well but after two days of this activity she seems to have accepted this new object and for the time being leaves it alone.

Since owning cats our whole life we have found the Savannah cat breed as one of the most unique-the love and devotion that Sagwa gives to us is comparable to that of a dog. Not to mention the joy and laughter that we have by playing with her and watching her at play. She communicates to us by a “different” type of meow (from what we have read I assume that is what they refer to as “chirping”-she really doesn’t meow like a regular cat) and also by “pouncing” on you from anywhere that she may be stalking you from! Sagwa’s personality is what makes her such a unique cat-she is extremely intelligent and she acts almost human like and not at all like any other cat that I have ever owned. She is the most lovable and personable feline that you could ever imagine-our sincere thanks to Holly and Dale.

~The Schaefer Family

Tanga & Kassai

Tanga and I just realized that we did not give you any news since we arrived in France. We have been busy taking control of the house and educating the people and animals living there. At the beginning, Catherine and Thierry thought they would be able to command us , you know how naive those French people are, so we had to set the base of a good healthy relationships : cats command,human obey.

I think that we did a good job and that you would be proud of us. Now they call us Noble Kassai and Noble Tanga, understand our language, and do pretty much everything we want them to do (but I think you have heard this story many times…).

The huge newfoundland dog has not been much trouble. We quickly learned to attack him by the rear, and he is not quick enough to catch us, so most of the time he prefers to avoid us when we begin playing with his tail. In fact the biggest troubleshooter was the domestic European cat, a big black and white male strong and aggressive enough to defend himself against our concerted attacks. So we had to sign a non-aggression treaty that has been respected until now (except a few skirmishes I must say…).

So we hope that life has been as good for you as it is for us. Lots of purrs to everyone in Chatsworth,

~Kassai and Tanga

Montu

It’s been a while since I’ve updated you on Montu, our year old F2 Savannah boy. He’s become our loving ‘Monster’ boy and is absolutely wonderful and beautiful. I’ve attached a couple of pics.

Living on a farm, Montu has been exposed to a lot of outdoor activity. He is funny about what he likes to do, and what he doesn’t. He doesn’t climb trees, but he loves to act the true savannah cat and crouch in tall grass to ambush us when we walk by. The horses are WAY to big to interest him, but there is no fear. He simply walks around them to follow us. Our sand arena is a huge play box for all the cats.

Our sand arena is a huge play box for all the cats. They go with me at evening feed and run amuck in the sand. Montu faithfully stays with me as I do the feed, just like a dog would. When I’m done I go and sit on the patio and he goes to play in the arena. He’s so big compared to our ‘normal’ cats, but he doesn’t maul the smaller cats, just torments them. He is definitely a bathroom cat too. He loves showering with me, and putting on makeup or doing hair is sometimes impossible because he will get in the sink, and stay! Our toilet paper is often found in very small chunks strewn throughout the house. He tears into the rolls with a vengeance.

His looks are very impressive. I’ve looked at many F2′s, and he looks more like everyone elses F1′s. His markings are spectacular. His oceli are not solid white, but they are very strong and creamy. His conformation is very much like a Serval. Long, very powerful front legs, and a very strange looking pair of back legs when he trots. There are times when we catch him sitting very upright that he looks very, very Serval. His ears and face show the Bengal the most, I think. But there is Serval even in his face.

Rhumba

Rhumba, our F2 Savannah boy came into our lives about 3 weeks ago. We were fortunate to live about two hours from Holly and Dale – Select Exotics. After a few e-mails we were able to meet with them and visit their fabulous cattery. When seeing Rhumba… it was love at first sight! Waiting about 9 weeks (an eternity) we brought him home.

He looks like a cat (with long ears and spots) but that is where the similarity with his feline ancestors ends. EXTREME is probably the only way to describe a Savannah cat. Playtime is a long burst of non-stop energy, moving from one toy to another! And naptime is being completely oblivious to the rest of the world.

Rhumba is by far the most affectionate animal we have ever experienced! The first day he came home, he would give us little head butts and kisses! He loves to sleep on our shoulders as close to your neck as he can press himself. Within the first week of taking control of our lives, he would come to us when his name was called or we would go to him when he called for us.

Rhumba has this sense of super awareness about him. He pays very close attention to every thing that is going on in our house, from the television to wall decorations. We could not possibly sneak anything by him. He quickly found his way around the area of the house, we thought, we would initially keep him in. The next day he was off to explore the unknown with one of our other cats, only to end up with full run of the house within the week.

Rhumba loves to sit on his tree house and look out the window, even though we have to set him on it and take him down until he grows a little larger! Rhumba is living up to all of our expectations and then some!

~Our thanks to Dale & Holly!

Bhodie

I’m often asked “so what’s it like?” when I mention to someone that we are sharing our home and our lives with an F-2 Savannah cat. There is one word I’ve used more consistently than any word in describing our life with “Bhodie”. And that is EXTREME.

Bhodie takes absolutely everything he does to the extreme. If he feels like being affectionate, he will be more affectionate than any animal we’ve ever come across. Likewise, if he feels like playing, he takes all of these activities two notches higher than the “maximum”. He quite simply raises the bar with everything he does, and has, in the process, exceeded all of our expectations as to what we thought raising a wild/domestic hybrid might be like.

Anyone considering adopting a Savannah cat should carefully research the breed. I basically dedicated several weeks of free time to finding out as much as possible about the Savannah’s behavior, special requirements (surprisingly few), life expectancy, the most reputable breeders, etc. Select Exotics earned top marks in every respect. They also had the added advantage of being less than two hours away from us. My wife and I made the trip to the Select Exotics facility and were completely sold by the facility, the breeding program, Dale Hummel, and of course, the cats.

Bhodie only took one day to become accustomed to us and has really become a special member of our family. He very quickly dethroned our existing “alpha-cat”, but the former top-gun accepted his lesser ranking surprisingly well. Nature does have a way of sorting these things out.

Bhodie has proven very easy to train and already knows how to “sit”, “stay”, jump to my chest, fetch, pick out toys by name, and is quite sure how to open doors, he just isn’t currently tall enough to manage it unaided…yet.

If you want to experience the call of the wild, without taking the plunge on a 100% wild cat, I highly recommend adopting a Savannah cat. And if you’re inclined to take that step, begin the process with Dale Hummel and Select Exotics. Rest assured all of your expectations will be exceeded. You’ll soon be coining your own phrase to describe life with your Savannah…but “extreme” already belongs to Bhodie.

~Phil Hoolehan

Shango

I have to admit I had no idea what I was getting into when I bought Shango – he was actually purchased as a companion for our puppy. When I picked him up from the airport, I was immediately in love. He was out and exploring his new home as soon as I opened the crate. No fear, no aggression, just curiosity and affection. We named him after the African god of storms and thunder because it poured non-stop that entire day.

I don’t know when it happened, but at some point he took over the house. His toys are his; my daughter’s toys are his; the mail is his; any available glass of water is his; the house plants are his; the entire bed is his at night…. you get the point. But he is such a joy to have as a member of the family (I don’t dare say the word “own” because I know better). I call him a “concentrated cat”. This came from being an extreme version of everything you would get in a cat. He is incredibly loving and affectionate, licking my chin and nuzzling as close as he can when he wants to. But when he wants to play, watch out! The house becomes a racetrack: down the stairs, across the table, over the couch, through the kitchen, sliding down the hall and back up the stairs, before doing it all again. When he’s done, he lies down and pants like a cheetah. Sometimes I can catch him before he does this and we play fetch to channel his energy. Any fake mice or stuffed toy with eyes will do. With mice, he will find where I threw it and prance back to me, dropping the mouse at my feet. And with a stuffed toy, he cannot let it stand up without “killing” it. In other words, I can stand up a teddy bear, but if he sees that it is standing, he immediately pounces on, bites its throat, and then casually walks away. It’s like he is practicing for the hunt. Great trick with stuffed animals, but it would not be as amusing if I had a pet hamster.

Everyone adores him. My neighbors will come over sometimes to borrow him to show friends. He can’t walk five feet on the leash without someone stopping me to ask about the “ocelot” or “baby cheetah”. People I don’t even know will stop their car just to get a closer look at him. He loves everyone and is afraid of nothing. He is the only cat I have ever seen who likes the cable guy and is not afraid of the coffee grinder or the vacuum. He greets me at the door no matter what time I get home, and he shows such excitement. He actually gets a Mohawk down his back and purrs uncontrollably. How can you not be happy to come home to that?

Now if I could just get him to stop jumping on my head in the morning to wake me up. As he approaches 20 pounds, that could be a problem. I guess that’s what the door is for. And the dog (who by the way is a 100 pound rottie)? I wouldn’t call them the best of friends, but I think they’ve finally called a truce knowing that neither one will win that battle.

Max

Max is unstoppable! Anything he takes an interest in he will investigate. Tonight at supper he had to run up on the table and check out the scraps. He had steak! He ate it like he had been eating it for years, never thought about it twice. He was growling his head off the whole time. We had to stop him so we could cut it up for him.

He is exploring everywhere he can get to. Today is the first day we have noticed him purr. We think he is growing just in the few days we have had him! He loves Iams kitten soft. We had to stop and get $12.00 of it for him tonight. He shows some interest in hard food, but when we mixed it into the food for him he ate the soft and spit the hard food onto the floor.

All of the other cats have accepted him, although two show little interest. Charlie, our Siamese is going to be his buddy, if Max slows down enough to let him. Charlie is 15 and doesn’t run at kitten speed anymore. Shimmer (Akerrs Shimmer-On), our Bengal, will probably end up being his playmate, but she has been the least tolerant to his presence. She is coming around though.

He is a fantastic cat and we love him as much as the any of our others. He shows many wild tendencies that we also see in our Bengal, but his tendencies are much more pronounced. We love the wild!

~Joyce Van Over

Tony

Tony is the most gorgeous “puddytat” and the most spoiled cat in the WORLD – He has a tree, a tunnel, a wheel, several balls, assorted furry things and two flying feathers. He will be huge – obviously still growing – he pulled off the foil on the turkey while it was still on our center counter!

He jumps into my arms when I come home, and after playing a lot will come over and flop down on me and lick my chin like a puppy. He is a joy, comes when called, and knows what “no” means even if he doesn’t stop……He “attacks” Harley the older cat, and Harley just turns his back (he is OLD) and ignores him. He has the poodle on the run most of the time. He enjoys climbing up my fake tree in the living room.

A true adventurer!

~Candace Drury

Oji

When I was looking for a cat, I knew I had to have a Bengal. The Bengal Cat has always fascinated me from the spots all the way to its wild heritage. Having been raised with cats and dogs, I wanted a cat that had the independent qualities of a cat, the loyalty of a dog, with the appearance of something that would give the neighborhood a topic to talk about. However, this was when I was 7 years old.

Fast-forward 20 years. I was now in the position to look for the cat of my dreams and decided to start looking for a Bengal breeder. After searching through issues of Cats USA, I took the time to visit each breeder’s website. A curious link on a breeder’s site had information on a cat known as the Savannah Cat. I decided to click the link and from that point on it was love at first site. I was a biology major in college and working with Servals was part of an in-depth ecology class I attended. The Serval has always been my favorite wild cat because of its relatively small size and friendly nature. Knowing that there was now a breed of domestic feline that owed its heritage to my favorite wild cat struck a chord with me and I knew from that point on I HAD to have one…the only obstacle now was to find a breeder that met all of my criteria.

Enter Select Exotics. It took me a little more than a year to find the breeder I wanted. I had spoken with Dr. Hummel and Holly early on when I was doing research but I wasn’t quite ready to commit to the quality they had to offer. During this time, I had researched every breeder that is involved with the Savannahs, spoke with the Savannah Cat Club members, and even had a bad experience with one. But I DID my research. All fingers pointed back to Select Exotics.

When I came to the decision of making a commitment of purchasing my F2 Savannah Cat, I had no idea what I was getting into. From day 1, dealing with Select Exotics has been nothing short of an absolute pleasure. When the happy day of my boy’s birth arrived, Holly and Dale sent countless photos to keep me abreast of the little guy’s development. It seemed the kittens were well taken care of with their well being always in mind.

I named my F2 Savannah “Oji” which means “Bearer of Gifts” in an African dialect. To this day his namesake holds true. Potential Buyers be aware!!! When they say the Savannah is an extreme cat, do NOT underestimate this statement! These cats do not understand the definition of moderation. When I picked Oji up from the airport, I went to the counter to find out where I go to receive live animals. The baggage claim attendant looked at me quizzically and said, “Oh, you must be the one with the cat.” I knew at that moment I had found the right cat for me. As soon as I opened the crate, he jumped out and purred louder than ANY adult cat I have ever been around. Oji was inquisitive, very aware of his surroundings and wanted to touch everything that was in the room. I have seen MANY F2 Savannahs and I have yet to see one in person that held true to so many Serval characteristics as my Oji. His ears were monstrous, his coloration was beautiful, and the length of his legs would put a supermodel to shame.

Over the next few months, I came to realize that I had in my possession one of the rarest gems of a cat in existence. He chases after the vacuum cleaner…WHEN IT’S ON! He splashes me when I walk by his water dish. Oji dive-bombs me from the top of my desk on to my bed in order to wake me up and let me know he wants to play. And it is playtime at all hours of the day unless he’s asleep in front of the warm fireplace cuddling with my other cat and my newly acquired dog.

Savannahs have no fear. They will try to conquer anything they see as an obstacle (or playmate). Oji attacks other animals that he sees on TV just because he wants to play with them. He has to sit on my shoulder to watch me work on the computer. He even goes for walks on a leash to the local Starbucks with me. I thought I would be able to use him as a magnet to awe the opposite gender. However, I soon realized that Oji was the babe magnet.

Some of his Serval characteristics include chattering and chirping instead of meowing. He lets me know how he feels with a series of high-pitched chirps. He can jump incredibly high for a 7-month old kitten. He even walks around with his mouth partially open like a wild animal! He’s already a head taller than my fully domestic cat (which is pretty big for a domestic). Weighing in at 11 lbs, he shows potential to be massive when he reaches full size. When Oji is sitting on the living room floor basking in a sunbeam, his rear legs sit higher than the curve of his spine. When he looks up at me and chirps, it is unmistakable there is a Serval screaming to be loved sitting on my floor.

In summary, Select Exotics has provided me with an addition to my family that is perfect in every single way. I wanted a cat that was active (kitty on speed is more apt) but is willing to cuddle and go to sleep when the lights turn off. Never would I have expected owning a Savannah would be this wonderful of an experience. Oji is now turning 8 months and has shown no sign of slowing down in personality or growth. He owns the household and definitely owns us as well. Savannahs are the kinds of cats you look forward to coming home from work to just to see what new antics they will get into. So to the prospective buyer, I offer these tidbits of advice:

  1. Learn how to “Savannah Proof” your house.
  2. Have plenty of accessible toys.
  3. Be prepared to be thoroughly entertained (at all hours of the day and night).
  4. Prepare for a high-energy, high-impact cat that will surpass all of your wildest expectations…..it did mine.

Thank you Select Exotics… Oji was well worth the wait.

F3 Savannahs

Doctor

This is our nine month old savannah boy, doctor. He came into our family only a few short months ago and quickly made himself at home with our other 3 cats and 1 dog. He adjusted to car rides and walking on a leash so well that we are practically inseparable.

My fiancé and I take him traveling and all around town. He is also playful and has our other cats no longer sleeping all day. He jumps high, plays hard, and at the end of the day he curls up in bed with us or the other cats.

Leo

Well Leo is doing great! He weighs 14.2 lbs. at 8 months.  All I can is say WOW, what a great cat. We no longer have mini blinds in the house. He loves to run and jump into the middle of them just to destroy anything in his way. He is a celebrity at Petco.  It is at least an hour visit each time we go there.

Everyone ask “What kind of cat is that?” and says “I can’t believe you can walk him on a leash.” Leo is always full of energy – it’s like having a cat on REDBULL. He still loves to play fetch and pounce on his toys. Thank you for such a wonderful gift to our household.

F4 Savannahs

Oliver

I picked up Oliver in November of 2007 in Chicago.  Holly and Dale were nice enough to bring him to the airport for me.  I really didn’t know what to expect, I had seen pictures via the website and some other photos Holly had sent me.  When i saw him, and how little he was, it took my breath away!  He was absolutely gorgeous!  We spent the next couple of hours together waiting for the flight home.  Right away I believe we bonded, it really was “love at first sight”!

When we arrived home he was introduced to my other three cats, two rescues and one bengal.  The introductions went well and the taking of many, many pictures ensued.  Over the course of the last year I have truly seen how very different he is from other my other cats.  He definitely has a mind of his own and energy that goes on and on!  He fetches, gets up and on anything he wants – recently my new kitchen cabinets!  I find him on the refrigerator, top of the dresser, on the shelf in the dining room – everywhere he shouldn’t be!  Oh and forget toilet paper or paper towel!  Both of these need to be hidden, once he gets a hold of either – it’s everywhere!  Whenever I go into the bathroom he jumps up on the sink and gives me a look that says - “Please turn on the water”!!  He loves to sit in the sink and drink the water from the faucet, lately he has started allowing himself to get more and more wet.   I laugh every time I hear him snort because I know he’s just gotten his nose a bit too far under the water!  He has been an amazing animal to watch grow and see his personality develop.

Thank you Holly and Dale!

Kobie

The moment we learned about Savannahs we wanted to own one of them. After carefully researching breeders we chose Dale and Holly with Select Exotics. After owning two Bengals, we realize that having a good relationship with the breeder is vital. The importance of talking with the breeder in the future regarding advice is very important and Dale and Holly met these requirements.

Kobie is a beautiful F4 boy that looks like an F3 and has beautiful spots. This little boy is such a challenge for us. We were told by many people to make sure we ‘baby proofed’ our home… and I ignored that advice – not really knowing why they said that. We owned Bengals and other cats and never had too many challenges…we soon realized what they meant. We now keep the shredding machine empty or Kobie will empty it for us, as well as putting up valuables. Each morning when we wake up, we find Kobie lying next to us with his toys on the bed ready to play. At least twice a day he brings us his stuffed mouse and we play fetch for at least 10 minutes each time. He follows us everywhere in the house, always wanting to help out in whatever we are doing (he actually thinks he can do it better). We even sent in a video to American Funniest Videos of Kobie taking every piece of paper out of the printer as it was being printed. He snatches it from the printer and runs with the paper. He loves our yellow Lab, and even gets his leash when he wants to go for a walk. At times he lies on one of our laps, even though he is not supposed to be a lap kitty. We think he is part raccoon, as he is so intelligent. After owning a Savannah we can’t imagine having any other type of cat after this. Our only regret is not getting one a long time ago; we had no idea what we were missing out on. He is pure Joy.

Thanks Dale and Holly!
Bob and Janet Bezold
New Smyrna Beach, Florida

F1 Safaris

Serena

“That face could light up a city!” I was looking at a photo on Dale and Holly’s website. It was love at first sight, and I was passionately head over heels.

From the corner of my eye, I could see this kitten cavorting in the hallway. She whispered her name, “Serena,” and moved in with me that night even though it would be several weeks before Dale and Holly actually carried her into our home.

When she arrived, I heard what sounded like an agitated squirrel demanding to be released from her travel carrier. A slip of the zipper and out she bounded, fearless–as if she had been living here for weeks. Bounced up to each cat and expected to be greeted.

Dale watched, holding his breath, as she hopped with total abandon up to each member of her new family. An occasional rebuff didn’t matter. She shrugged it off and ran up to the next cat, including some pretty heavy weights, an F1 Jungle Cat, F1 Bagral, a couple of F2 Savannahs, Bengals, several Chausies… Serena had arrived and everyone needed to know it, including my 60 lb poodles. No fear there either.

This little girl takes it for granted that she can suckle on each of her brothers and sisters, including the domestics. All allow it. Everyone loves her. Woke me up in a gale of giggles one morning trying to suckle on my ear lobe.

Every bit as wonderful as I knew she would be, she gazes into my eyes with unabashed adoration. Instantly took to a lead and halter. Loves to go for car rides, but only if she can see out of the window (or else she make squirrel noises). Leaps onto the shoulder (where she loves to ride) of anyone who comes into the house and bends down to pet her.

Can you tell? I think she is perfect.

Bengals

Seti

Hello Dale and Holly,

It’s been a few weeks since I sent pictures. Seti is doing very well! He has switched to dry food quite nicely. I suppose if it’s good for his big sister then it’s good for him too. He will only eat from her dish. My other cat doesn’t seem to be too bothered by this.

Everyone who comes to our house asks what kind of cat he is. And, everyone of course thinks he’s gorgeous.

These pictures are of Seti at 13 weeks and 15. Playing with the water faucet is a favorite for him. He loves water. He also is fascinated by the toilet and has even jumped in a couple times. I made him a fleece cabin to sleep in. (He’s definitely spoiled) He knows it’s his house and often runs in to take a bath or hide a new find. He slept most of the afternoon yesterday in his cabin facing the fire. We had no heat because our boiler was being replaced. Needless to say, we all stayed toasty.

Happy New Year!

~ Margaret Holden