The TICA Registration Number is made up of three parts: the first three letters/numbers (which is what we shall discuss here), followed by a six-numeral code representing the date of birth of the cat, then the last three digits representing the order in which the registration was processed. If the last three digits are “001” then it was the first registration processed on that date, etc. See below for a copy of a Registration Certificate for a Foundation Savannah.
TICA has three Registries: the Stud Book registry, the Foundation Registry (where our Savannahs are mainly registered at this time) and an Experimental Registry (for cats of breeds that have not yet been accepted or whose background is unknown).
For most registered cats, you never have to worry about their registration code, they will simply be registered as “SBT” which stands for Stud Book Traditional. The Stud Book designation is reserved for cats that have “no cats which are unknown, unregistered, or of another breed or breed group within a standard three-generation pedigree” and these cats are considered “purebred” cats. The “T” in the “SBT” stands for “traditional” meaning “only the breed in question within a three-generation pedigree”. In the case of Savannahs, this would mean that every cat in the last three generations of both the queen and stud pedigree would be a Savannah (SV), with no outcrosses at all. It is also possible to have a “V” in the last position of the three letter registration code (i.e., SBV instead of SBT), this stands for “Variant” and means “Crosses outside the breed but within the group with a three-generation pedigree.”
This might come up in a breed group such as the Siamese Breed Group, which contains related breeds such as the Oriental Shorthair, the Siamese, the Balinese and the Oriental Longhair, but does not occur (as yet) in the Savannah Breed.
Things get more complicated when developing a Breed. TICA has a coding system to cover Registration Codes for cats until they reach the level where three generation pedigrees only have the breed of choice (i.e., SBT). This is of great interest and importance to the Savannah Breed Section members because our Breed is derived from a cross between a wild cat and the domestic cat. Additionally, we have the issue whereby the males of such crosses are not fertile; therefore we cannot immediately breed Savannahs to Savannahs and need to outcross for approximately five generations to obtain fertile Male Savannahs. So we need to understand the various codes our cats will have on the way to achieving SBT status for our Breed.
What do the N and P stand for?
The first thing to understand about codes, especially for Category V breeds, which includes Savannahs, is the P and N coding. P and N will appear in the third position of the three letter registration code if the cat is not SBT (or SBV) and if the wild cat (the Serval) is not within the three generation pedigree. P is for “Permissible” which means “crosses outside the breed or breed group which are permitted by the breeding program which has been established for the breed.” For the SV breed the Permissible Outcrosses are: Oriental Shorthair, Egyptian Mau, Ocicat and Domestic Shorthair. N is for “NonPermissible” which means “crosses outside the breed or breed group which are not among those which are specifically allowed by the breeding program which has been established for the breed.” This may include breeds such as the Bengal and Maine Coon.
Savannahs descend from an original cross with another species, the African Serval. TICA denotes heritage containing another species with the letter “S”. This appears in the third position of the code and supersedes the N or P in this position. Therefore any Savannah from first generation (F1) through to third generation (F3) will have S in the code. For example, in the certificate below you can see that Mandisa has the code B3S, telling us that she has another species (in this case the Serval) in the last three generations. As I know that her sire has a NonPermissible parent (in this case, Bengal) then I also know that her progeny will have N in the third position of her code, as that Bengal will still be in the three generation pedigree.
For Category V breeds, which is for Hybrid Breeds that descend from an original cross with a wild cat, the N and P also appear at the front of the Breed Name, as NFoundation Savannah or PFoundation Savannah. For the certificate above, the Registration was processed before this Rule came into being, so the NFoundation that Mandisa would have had before “Savannah” is missing (“Description:” line). A cat will be NFoundation as long as there is a NonPermissible outcross in the three generation pedigree. When only the Breed or a Permissible outcross is in the three generation pedigree, then the cat is PFoundation. So in the case of Mandisa above, not only she but her progeny will be termed “NFoundation Savannahs” due to her Bengal grandmother.
How do I determine what code my kittens will be?
There are two tables to use to determine the first two letters/numbers, depending on whether an Outcross (Permissible or NonPermissible) or the same Breed was used. If you used an Egyptian Mau stud with your Savannah queen, then you would consult the “Different Breed Chart” to determine the codes for the resultant progeny, while you would use the “Same Breed Chart” if you had used a Savannah stud.
To read these charts, simply run your finger across the top until you reach the code of one of the parents, then down the chart to the other parent. Where the two meet is the code of their progeny. For example, using the registration certificate for Kirembo Mandisa Abebi (above), her father is A0 while her mother is A2. So on the Same Breed chart look across to A0 then down to A2, and you can see that B3 is the result (circled). Add the “S” because her great grandfather was a Serval and you have her code, B3S.
So what do A, B and C mean? 1, 2, 3 and 0?
“A” represents a cat that “is the product of two cats of different breeds”. For example, if you cross an F1 to an Egyptian Mau, the progeny will have “A” in the first part of the code.
“B” represents a cat that “has at least one grandparent of a different breed” and “C” represents when a cat “has at least one great grandparent of a different breed.”
Put very simply, cross two “A” registered SVs and you get a “B” registered SV, cross two B SVs and you get a C SV…and then cross two C registered SVs and you have an SBT SV which is what we will need to show in Championship Class! Of course it can be more complicated than that, you can cross an A to a C SV, then you will get a B…and that can be confusing so that is why the tables were created.
Now, the 1, 2, 3 and 0 represent the number of generations from a cat of another species or from an unknown or unregistered cat. So an F1 Savannah will always be A1S because of the Serval parentage. 0 in the second position (e.g., A0N) means that there are no unknown or unregistered cats in the three generation pedigree, nor another species, so will be a SV of F4 or further generation.
What happens when you use a Domestic Shorthair with 01T coding?
This in effect “freezes” the code at the A2 level, because a cat is registered as 01T if the background of the cat is not known. Therefore the code reflects the unknown parentage. If you refer to the different breed table above you can see that whenever you have one parent as 01 then the code of the progeny is A2 (unless the 01 is crossed to 00 which is the coding used for the wild cat, the Serval in this case). For example, if you cross your F2 SV queen with A2S code to a DSH stud with 01T coding, the progeny will also be A2S. I mention this as some breeders have been confused by the code of the progeny coming back the same as the parent cat.
Now you may notice that the code “01” appears in the same breed chart also, this does not mean that if you crossed a DSH (01T) with another DSH that you would get a registered Foundation Savannah! The 01 coding can also be given in certain circumstances to a cat of a Breed, remember that the 01T DSH is not strictly speaking considered a “Breed”. In some breeds, at certain times, cats with unknown parentage but conforming to the Breed Standard of that breed (for example the PixieBob) were eligible to be registered as that Breed, if three judges at a show examined the cat and were convinced that the cat was of that Breed. The cat would then be given the 01T designation (unknown parentage) but also the Breed name. Therefore, conceivably two 01T of the Breed could be bred together therefore 01 (and 02 and 03) coding appears in the Same Breed chart as well. I do not believe that any Savannah has been given an 01T code to date, so this is not relevant to our Breed.
What does the “F” stand for when breeders are talking about their cats?
This is the first thing you will notice when people talk about their Savannahs (SVs), before they will even talk about registration codes, they will term their SV an F1 or F2 etc. The “F” stands for “filial” and refers to the number of generations away from the wild cat, in the SV case it is the number of generations away from the Serval. So an F1 is one generation away, the Serval is the parent. For an F2, it is two generations away and the Serval is a grandparent…and so on.
Now the “F-number” is important when we talk about SVs, particularly when we consider our males. The Savannah has the complication of needing to get to approximately F5 (five generations away from the Serval) for our males to have some expectation of fertility.
This can get complicated, it seems easy when you consider crossing an F1 to an outcross, then you would get F2 kittens as you can easily see that you have moved one further generation away from the Serval. But what if you cross an F1 to an F5? Does it still move to F2 or do you average the number or what? Many people have gotten confused at this point! It does indeed go to F2 as it goes one generation further than the parent closest to the Serval (lowest in generation number). So then when crossing an F4 to an F5, the progeny are F5… and when crossing F5 to F5 you would get F6 kittens, which confuses people as the kittens would have the exact same Serval % as their F5 parents. It is important to remember that the F-number does not represent the Serval % but the number of generations from the Serval.
It is also important to note that the Breed of the offspring can be determined by either parent, therefore a Savannah can be produced by a cross between a female SV and male outcross as well as by a female outcross and male SV. Therefore an F5 SV stud bred to a DSH queen will produce F6 Savannah kittens. It can be even more confusing for other hybrid breeds, for example if a SBT Bengal was crossed with an SBT Oriental Shorthair, the progeny could be registered as a Serengetti, but additionally a breeder might decide to register the offspring as a Bengal with NonPermissible outcross (likely to be A0N Bengal) or even as an Oriental Shorthair with NonPermissible outcross (likely to be A0N Oriental Shorthair). Outcrossing to NonPermissible breeds is not limited to Savannahs; it is an accepted way for breeders to bring in new traits such as color. With Championship breeds, it also sets the progeny back at the A registration level and they have to
breed back to their Breed until the outcross falls off the 3-generation pedigree.
Don’t be afraid to admit that you are confused by all this. Not only new breeders or owners are confused by the coding system, it’s not simple. Cat pedigrees are not simple and remember that the code is supposed to represent the background of the cat. You want to be able to look at the code and have some idea of the pedigree of the cat. For example, take a SV that has the code B0P. This cat is the progeny of a SV to SV cross because of the “B”, at least one of those parents was an “A” registered SV. The “0” indicates that there are no unregistered or unknown cats in the three generation pedigree. The lack of an “S” at the end tells us that the cat is at least three generations from the Serval and the “P” tells us that all Permissible outcrosses were used in the last three generations. So you see, the code can tell you a lot!