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Where do I go from here?

Discussion in 'Savannah Cat Questions? Need Savannah Cat Advice?' started by Laura W, Jan 31, 2012.

  1. Laura W

    Laura W Savannah Super Cat

    Messages:
    296
    Echo came to us 5 weeks ago, unsocialized and 2 1/2 yrs. old.He is still in a spare room away from the dogs with a baby gate.

    Initially, I was intermittently able to pet him after about 15-30 minutes of slow movement (he loves being petted and scratched). We have since put a bed in the room (about 3 weeks ago) so I can sleep in the room with him when he cries at night. Problem is, he's hiding under the bed and I can't get near him now to pet him. Do I block him from going under the bed so I can slowly get near him, or allow him the time to come out on his own? He does watch us from the bed, and has even sniffed noses with one of my dogs through the gate, but hisses and hides when I go near the door. What would you do at this point?

    I have literally fallen in love with this little man and want to do everything I can to make him as the most "normal" he will ever be. It might be worth mentioning that I work full time during the day when he isn't active. Any advise?
     
  2. Brigitte Cowell

    Brigitte Cowell Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    5,414
    When you say "unsocialized" what does that mean to you? Was he never touched by a human for the 2.5 years before you got him? Was he socialized as a kitten but didn't get much attention once he left the breeder? This can be crucial...if a cat was raised as a feral cat (no human contact) for the first 2.5 years of its life then there is probably not that much progress to be made in the short term and maybe not really ever. If the cat was socialized as a kitten then you might expect with love and patience to bring him around.

    Do you find he comes out at night when it is quiet and investigates you at all?

    What has been your routine when you are home from work? Are you out in the living room with your other pets (not sure how many dogs and if there are other cats).... how much time do you spend in "his" room just sitting there? Have you tried just sitting still and not trying to approach him? It might be if any time you are in the room you are trying to get near him it worries him... remember also that staring at a cat can be a sign of aggression so the less obvious attention you are paying him the better.

    What are you feeding him? I'd recommend that you only feed him when you are in the room for example. Then sit in the room, at first at a distance from the bowl and then work on being closer to it. If you can find any treats that he likes then you can use them to make friends. The commonest suggestion is to throw a couple of treats near him (even if that is under the bed) every time you come into the room, so that your entrance becomes a good thing. With time you can throw them closer and closer to yourself if he's really into them.

    Does he like to play with any toys? Does he have ones he can bat around the floor? Have you noticed them moving around the floor? I'd see if he likes catnip too as a "stoned" kitty might be a more relaxed kitty. If you can get him interested in a wand toy then play really does help break the ice. A stick toy with a feather on a string can be used with a kitty that is wary of coming too close...they can bat at it without needing to be close to you so might be more interested in that. You can see if he likes something dragged slowly on the ground in front of the bed... swished fast on the ground or sailed through the air. Cats often like different ways to play so you might have to experiment with different toys and styles of play to see if anything works with him.

    Is it possible to remove the bed frame from the room and maybe simply sleep on the mattress in the room and see if that helps?
     
  3. Laura W

    Laura W Savannah Super Cat

    Messages:
    296
    Let's see how many of the questions I can answer.

    I was told he was adopted as a kitten as a companion for a man ill with cancer. When he discovered he didn't have time for him, he returned him to the breeder at what age I don't know but the lady I adopted him from took him in at 7 mths. He lived with a bangle and she was able to pet him but the boyfriend hated the cat and it's clear he is afraid of men.

    He doesn't know how to play with toys and I've not been able to find any treat he is interested in including raw food (which is odd because that's what he was feed at the breeder according to the lady I got him from.) I put them in the room and they haven't been touched, just like his all toys.

    On the upside, he knows when I'm sleeping in the room as he is much quieter, and the moment I leave the room he is all over the bed and the blankets I have slept with. Initially, I slept on the floor with just couch cushions and blankets and he was all over those also. I would hide where he couldn't see me and watch him.

    When I go in the room and just sit there, he looks but won't approach. When we are in the living room where he can see us, he calls out and we talk to him which he will respond back too, and that makes me think he's lonely. You can tell that he wants to interact but is afraid by his mannerisms.........his ears are up and angled forward and just a slow movement of his tail. His eyes are very expressive and it's easy to see when he is interested, calm or fearful.
     
  4. Laura W

    Laura W Savannah Super Cat

    Messages:
    296
    Answers to more questions. I free feed same food he has been on at her house. Two small dogs which I have not let near him other than investigating each other through the baby gate (he can jump it but has no interest in doing so.)

    He is only active after the sun goes down, Hiding during the day, but cries initially pretty much all night, but it's less now than it was prior. I feel sorry for him and go to his room when he cries and his pitch when he does cry is lower when I'm there.

    I have used a feather toy to rub his head slowly moving my hand further down the wand and if I block his eyes and scratch him over the feathers, within a few moments I can pull the toy away and scratch him anywhere I want and even pull him onto my lap. This is why I think all his problems are fear based.
     
  5. Patti

    Patti Admin Staff Member

    Messages:
    9,969
    I think you are just going to need to be patient with Echo. It may take months for him to learn to trust you but having seen this happen in other cats I'm convinced that you will eventually win him over. If you have provided another 'hiding place' for him such as a crate I would simply put the mattress on the floor so that he can't hide under it.
     
  6. Brigitte Cowell

    Brigitte Cowell Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    5,414
    What toys have you tried him with? As I said, cats can be very individual and so you may have to be imaginative to find something he is interested in. For example, I had a girl Monkey who would just ignore the judges in rings madly waving cat toys at her as if she didn't see them... but drag a belt on the ground and she went insane. Any normal cat toy she was completely uninterested in. It might take time to work out what might interest him...

    Have you tried freeze-dried chicken treats? Mine are very fussy for cat treats but that is one that is almost universally liked. It needs to be the raw freeze-dried chicken for my lot too, there's a cooked brand one that they will turn their noses up at. Some like the freeze-dried salmon too... just the texture of freeze-dried treats is very different from most cat treats and chicken jerky so might be worth trying.

    What raw foods have you tried? Some of mine can be very particular not just in the type of meat but even the brand when it comes to preground raw meats.

    As I said, only feeding him when you are present might help him associate you with good things...so you might want to rethink free feeding him.

    I think from what you've said he was socialized and has been pettable by other previous owners... so likely patience and love will bring him around.
     
  7. Kiangagirl

    Kiangagirl Savannah Super Cat

    Messages:
    93
    I have a Burmese that I rescued about five years ago. He had been badly abused so when I got him, he was terrified of everyone. Hid all the time and would bare his teeth and growl if he felt cornered. Basically, I just let him be what he needed to be and slowly, he has come around. Now he is a real sweetheart, constantly demanding my attention in the sweetest way: He jumps up next to me and softly places his paw on my arm or shoulder. Has never actually bitten or scratched and is a real lover. So based on my past experience I would say you are doing the right thing---don't try to force him, let him come around on his own time and he will once he learns to trust you.
     
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  8. Kronos

    Kronos Guest

    Have you ever seen the tv show "Cat from Hell" or something like that..? There is a cat whisperer guy that goes and helps people with their problem cats. I saw an episode where they had a fearful cat that hid all the time, and he did recommend blocking the hiding areas to get the cat used to being out in the open with the family. It worked! After two weeks the cat was a completely different creature.
     
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  9. tkymasters

    tkymasters Guest

    New humans, new dogs, new room, new smells.... sounds a little overwhelming for the new guy.. CLose the door for a week or longer.. everytime you walk in the room, bring a treat, freeze dried chicken.. make sure Echo sees you place the treat on the ground. sit back and read a book to him.. he thinks you're talking to him when you read aloud. Don't approach him, he will come to you. He needs to trust someone before you engage him with the rest of the family.
     
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  10. Laura W

    Laura W Savannah Super Cat

    Messages:
    296
    Got up this morning and Echo had decided it was time to jump the baby gate and explore the house on his own! Wondered whey he was so quite last night. :) Unfortunately, my miniature schnauzer and basset mix spotted him before I did and went into protection mode. He was incontinent, which is normal for him when scared, but he promptly jumped the baby gate and went back to his room. Just glad to see he's becoming more curious about us and the house.

    Next step, slow introduction to the schnauzer on a lead since she's the one that rushing in and thinks she has to protect us from unknowns.
     

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