Sirius Black: A Savannah cat on a mission

Sirius Black Cat perches on a rock in the woods
Sirius Black's adventures help show that savannah cats (and black cats!) can be wonderful companions for exploring.

Sirius Black is a Savannah cat out to prove his breed is innocent — one adventure at a time.

From the pages of Harry Potter and into owner Johanna Dominguez’s life, Sirius Black the cat is just as the character is described in the best-selling book series: “brave, clever and energetic.”

He’s long, lean and tall. Looking at Sirius, you can tell he’s not like other cats. And it’s true: He’s special. But much like the (spoiler alert!) wrongly convicted character in the Harry Potter series, this Sirius Black is not what he seems.

“He weighs 20 pounds and is still growing,” Dominguez, an independent social media contractor based in western New York, said. That’s because of his wild roots.

A Savannah cat is a cross between a serval and a domestic cat, and these kitties are considered “hybrid cats.” Even though he’s really just like any other cat, that category of felines can get a bad rap, according to Dominguez.

“Hybrid cats suffer from similar discrimination as ‘bully’ dog breeds do,” she explains. There are many misconceptions and rumors floating around about these cats, and they’re even banned in some states and cities.

Sirius Black and his human want to separate fact from fiction, so we’ll help them do a little myth busting.

True or false? Savannahs aren’t fully domesticated.

False: “Even though they are hybrids, Savannahs are considered a fully domesticated breed by The International Cat Association,” Dominguez said.

“It sounds fancy and wild, but Sirius is five generations removed from a wildcat and only has a small percentage in him.”

Sirius Black's green eyes pop with the grassy backdrop

Sirius Black doesn’t just help Savannah cats get a better reputation – he also helps black cats get adopted, too! Just look at those grassy green eyes.

True or false? Savannah cats are high maintenance. They require special food and gear. 

False: Dominguez explains that Sirius Black uses the same litter box and shares cat food just fine with his other feline housemates.

However, there may be some truth to the above statement. “Harnesses for cats are often too small for Sirius, and even dog backpacks are not big enough to hold him,” Dominguez said.

True or false? Savannahs can weigh up to 50 lbs. 

False: “This is not true!” Dominguez says. “Sirius Black is already at the large end of the spectrum at 20 pounds.”

According to the breeders at A1 Savannah, Savannah cats exceed 30 pounds only occasionally.

True or false? Hybrids don’t get along with other pets or kids. They’re too territorial. 

False: “Sirius Black loves kids and all animals and gets along great with my rescue cats (one of which is disabled),” Dominguez explained.

In fact, Savannahs are actually quite playful and friendly.

“The breed is known to be bold, adapts easy to change, playful, super intelligent, loves strangers, healthy, and likes to be at the center of attention,” she said, “which makes them great candidates to be adventure cats!”

True or false? Savannah cats will attack and kill by instinct if they are allowed to run free. 

False: Dominguez said Sirius won’t even kill bugs that enter the house.

True or false? Savannah cats are a lot like dogs — about as close to a dog as you can get for a cat. 

True: F1 Hybrids Savannahs, a site dedicated to educating the public about these cats, notes that Savannah cats actually behave a lot like dogs, both in their active, outdoorsy nature and in their temperament. The site states that these cats require about as much stimulation as dogs, so taking them on walks and playing games are just as important with these sweet felines.

Dominguez also said Sirius loves crowds and soaks up attention. And at times, he seems to forget he’s a cat at all.

Sirius Black adventure cat walks through water

Water? No problem. Sirius Black will adventure through anything!

“One day [Sirius] was following my sister’s husky around and he went into the creek. Sirius just followed him right in,” Dominguez said. “We were both surprised. Since then, if there is some water to go into, Sirius finds it.”

It’s that intrepid spirit that makes Sirius so charming, as well as a model Savannah cat for anyone considering adopting or petitioning to get legislation changed in their area.

“Savannahs and other hybrid cats get bad reputations,” Dominguez said, “but Sirius Black is out here to change that and show that they make great companions.”

It’s clear to see from the photos above that when it comes to this mission, Sirius is serious.

You can keep up with Sirius Black in Azkaban on Instagram.

All photos courtesy of Johanna Dominguez.