By John McDevitt

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A pricey domestic hybrid cat breed that is a cross between a wild African cat and a domestic cat is becoming a very popular pet.

Savannahs are a cross between a serval and a domestic cat.

Many say they resemble a spotted cheetah.

“Usually the F1, which is called first generation, is the one that retains most wild characteristics. So they are bigger (than a typical house cat)  and they are more similar to the original’s wild pattern,” said Dr. Carlo Siracusa, director of animal behavior at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Veterinary Medicine.

Some states and counties outlaw Savannah cats until they are several generations down the bloodline.

Matt Kraus of Burlington County has a fourth generation Savannah cat, or F-4, named Roo.

“He’s really no different than a regular house cat. He’s a little bit more playful and little bit more energetic. Size-wise, he is about 18 pounds, which is on the large end for a house cat, but you know, there’s nothing threatening or ominous about him — it just kind of…I think people are uninformed, and they make the judgment based solely on that they’re a mix, but he’s only 9 or 10 percent wildcat.”

Savannahs range in price from about $1,000 to $30,000.

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