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Ocelot vs Savannah Cat: How Are They Different? (With Pictures)

The Ocelot and Savannah Cat share many similarities; both cats have a black spotted coat and a tan color. Both are very sociable and love the water, and they require large amounts of attention to keep them happy. Despite their similarities, they are two very different types of cats.

Ocelots are incredibly difficult to train due to their wild cat instincts, but training the Savannah Cat is a much easier task. The Savannah Cat traces its heritage back to Africa, while the Ocelot originated in South America. The most striking difference between the two is that one’s a domesticated house cat, and the other is a jungle-dwelling wild cat.

Yet both are sometimes kept as pets, and if you’re considering adopting one of these cats as your own,  keep reading, and we’ll help you decide which is the right choice for you: the Ocelot or the Savannah Cat.

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Visual Differences

Ocelot vs Savannah Cat side by side
Image Credit: (L) Sergio Cerrato – Italia, Pixabay | (R) Kolomenskaya Kseniya, Shutterstock

At a Glance


  • Average height (adult): 7–19.7 inches
  • Average weight (adult): 4 – 34.2 pounds
  • Lifespan: 7–20 years
  • Exercise: 1+ hours a day
  • Grooming needs: Moderate
  • Family-friendly: No
  • Other pet-friendly: No
  • Trainability: Difficult
Savannah Cat
  • Average height (adult): 14–25 inches
  • Average weight (adult): 12–30 pounds
  • Lifespan: 12–20 years
  • Exercise: 30 minutes a day
  • Grooming needs: Low
  • Family-friendly: Yes
  • Other pet-friendly: Often
  • Trainability: Intelligent but stubborn


Ocelot Overview

The Ocelot is a medium-sized wildcat that calls central America and northern South America home. It’s easily identifiable by its black-spotted tan coat and large eyes. Even though they are wild animals, some cat lovers seek to own Ocelots as pets. If you are one of those people, there’s a lot you need to know. The most important thing to know is that an Ocelot is not domesticated, and it’s a challenging cat to keep as a pet.

Ocelot cat
Image Credit: COULANGES, Shutterstock


Ocelots are tough to train, and you may need an exotic animal trainer to assist you. Ocelots have a lot of very powerful instincts, some of which are not conducive to a family environment. For instance, Ocelots hunt constantly and will do so whether they’re well-fed or not. Because of this desire to hunt, your neighbors’ pets are at risk. Toys and playing can only do so much to keep your Ocelot from hunting, and no matter the training, the instinct will never fully go away.

On top of that, Ocelots love to mark their scent. They mark everywhere, even where they sleep. You’re Ocelot can be trained out of this behavior, but it’s a very strong instinct. The biggest problem is that to be trained out of these powerful instincts, Ocelots need to begin training early in their life, but that carries its own set of issues.

Ocelots are very needy animals. They love attention, and when they don’t get that attention, they scream. This neediness only gets worse if they’re removed from their mother too early. If you get your Ocelot early enough to train them properly, they were removed from their mother too early.


Ocelots were once on the endangered species list, which led to many regulations regarding the animal’s transport, hunting, selling, and keeping. The Ocelot population began to rise thanks to these regulations. Eventually, the Ocelot found itself on the list of animals with the least concern; however, the Ocelot population has begun to fall again.

ocelot lying on the grass
Image Credit: Joel santana Joelfotos, Pixabay

Suitable for:

Ocelots, despite their adorableness, don’t seem to make great pets. They are wild animals, and that is what they are suited for. If you wish to own one as a pet, first make sure they’re legal in your part of the world. Alaska and New England have banned them, while some other states require you to pay special fees. After you’ve worked out that you can own one, figure out if you should. Ocelots are extremely difficult pets, so if you can’t deal with a wild feline in your home, they aren’t for you.

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Savannah Cat Overview

The Savannah Cat is split into five generations, and these categories are F1, F2, F3, F4, and F5. An F1 Savannah Cat has the most Serval DNA, while an F5 has the least. The Savannah Cat was created by crossing the African Serval with a Siamese house cat. The more Serval genetics present in a Savannah Cat, the more expensive the Savannah Cat will be. The F1 Savannah is one of the most expensive domestic pets you can buy and also one of the tallest.

All five categories of Savannah Cat share similarities. Savannah cats have black spots that decorate their yellow, tan, or brown coats. All Savannah cats have very large ears sticking high up in the air. A physical characteristic that differs between the categories is size. They can weigh anywhere from 12 to 30 pounds and have a height of 14 to 25 inches.

stryker cat breed Savannah F1
Image Credit: Kolomenskaya Kseniya, Shutterstock


Savannah Cats are known to be very friendly and social. They are also known for being very intelligent, and this intelligence leads to them being curious and very active. Savannah Cats are very high-energy; they love to play and hardly ever tire. Because of their hyper nature, they need to be provided with lots of toys and interactive games to keep them busy and entertained.


Savannah Cats have been described as more dog-like than cat-like. This, combined with their high intelligence, means that they can be trained to respond to basic commands easily. However, no matter how dog-like, they are still cats, and thus training will be difficult.

It’s important to start slow and use positive reinforcement, but with enough patience, you can train the wild feline. Unlike some breeds, you can leash-train your cat to walk with a harness, and since they like water, you may be able to convince them to join you at the pool.

savannah cat sitting on couch
Image Credit: Kolomenskaya Kseniya, Shutterstock

Suitable for:

Savannah cats love attention, and because of this, they are perfectly suited to active families. The Savannah is suited to any home where it gets plenty of attention, so if you can’t provide it, a Savannah probably isn’t for you. Savannahs also love to have other cats or dogs around because it gives them a pal to play with, and they’re unlikely to suffer separation anxiety if they have a friend.

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Which Breed Is Right for You?

Hopefully, this article has helped you decide which of these animals is right for you. Ninety-nine times out of 100, the more suitable pet will be the Savannah Cat since it was bred to be a pet. If you seek to own a Savannah Cat, you must be sure you can give it all the attention it needs. You need to be able to do the same if you want to own an Ocelot.

If you wish to own an Ocelot, there’s so much you need to consider. You’ll need to expect a hefty food bill since they’re wild carnivores, have a large enclosure to keep them in, and you need to keep them away from other neighborhood pets. Although a responsible pet owner may be able to care for an Ocelot without issues, the cat will be happier in its native land.

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Featured Image Credit: (L) Joel santana Joelfotos, Pixabay | (R) Kolomenskaya Kseniya, Shutterstock