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14wk male F2B aggressive adaptation to new home

Brigitte Cowell

Moderator
Staff member
#21
I'm glad you are seeing some progress, even though I am sure it is frustrating that it is such small steps. Given that he was seemingly completely handleable when you went to his breeder's to pick him up (I know you said he hissed but you were able to pet and pick him up without issue there?)... it seems odd to me that he hasn't settled more. Maybe it really does require a kitty friend. Normally I would advise keeping by himself until he was fully bonded but if he was more open to your Chartreaux then maybe just putting that cat in the room might calm his nerves? Maybe he is simply a very nervous personality and he feels so vulnerable as the little kitten all alone? I probably still would keep him in that room, but confine the Chartreaux in there too. If she is anything like my British Shorthair she will make a great nanny for your kitten. Generally, when I wean my kittens I put him in with them to start introducing them to other cats and he's been known to even allow them to suckle on them for comfort.

I wouldn't introduce all your cats though, and I wouldn't let him out of that room yet either. I honestly don't know how long this will take... and whether he will ever be what you consider "normal"... we are all individuals after all, and maybe he's going to be a sensitive one that is reactive and not so cuddly...
 

Jacq

Savannah Super Cat
#22
I would make sure he is bonded with you before introducing him to your other cats. It sounds like he is making progress. Just be patient, and keep doing what you are doing. He will eventually come around.
 

Laura W

Savannah Super Cat
#23
It just takes time and patience. Echo actually slapped me with a claw out yesterday morning when I gave him his morning treat, but today he was more receptive. Who knows what the difference was, maybe because we had friends spend the night.

Dolos, the bengal kitten, now has full access to Echo's room, and although Echo hisses, I'm confident he won't hurt him. He likes to watch him from the top of the tree when Dolos is playing with the toys in the room.
 

WitchyWoman

Admin
Staff member
#24
Schlieperk your cat sounds so much like my Maliik. In spite of the advice to wait until he bonded fully with me, after one month of snail's pace progress, I introduced him to my other cats. It made a world of difference in his behavior toward me. He would intently watch me pet the other cats and after a few days, became more receptive to me petting him. Also, when he was cuddled with one of the other cats I could pet him all I wanted and he never objected. I think he was more cat-oriented than people-oriented when he came to live with me and being with the others helped him regain confidence and emotional balance. It was easier to build trust between us once he saw me interact with the other cats. This is not to say that the same will work for you but I think the idea of introducing him to your Chartreaux may help bridge the gap between the two of you. Proceed carefully and good luck.
 

schlieperk

Savannah Child
#25
Ok ladies (am I the only male on this site?),

It's been another week, so here's an update and more requests for advice.

Diego and I are still sharing our close quarters in the gym. Our progress this past week has been minimal, but not totally non-existent. Diego is hissing less and more willing to be close by me. He plays hard and sleeps even harder. He is taking treats more readily than ever but still hisses and has some reservations about it.

After all of the advice, I decided to go with a tepid approach to introductions. My Chartreux and my DSH (the older 2 of 3 spayed females) have been allowed a few short visits into our seclusion. Diego watches them intently and they give him a wide bearth. There is the occasional hiss, but no hair standing up or any other tel-tale signs of aggression. I'm sure to pass the treats out freely during these visits so everyone sees just how happy time together can be. One unfortunate event though: I left the door open and my youngest (spayed Egyptian Mau) took a peek right as I was giving Diego a treat by hand. Well, she saw him and let out the most evil looking hiss that she could muster. Diego saw that and decided to attack the closest thing to him, which just happened to be my hand. His kitty claws are very sharp and I've got three bloody lines down my hand to prove it. My fault, but it didn't do much for my confidence.

Overall, he is hissing less and spending more time close to me. The biggest issue remains: his complete unwillingness to allow me to touch him. I have begun to pet him with the stick end of one of his toys while I am playing with him. That way the stick gets attacked and not me. Occasionally, I will use my hand. Sometimes I manage to pet him before he realizes what is going on and then he hisses, other times I have to pull my hand away before he swats at me with his claws.

What should my reaction be to his hiss and swat? Should I give him a stern "NO!", should I pretend that I didn't notice, or should I just stop playing and sit in silence for 15 seconds? How will he learn best that this is not acceptable? I'm guessing that me swatting and hissing back at him isn't the answer.

So that is where we're at. I'm sleeping on the floor while he sleeps comfortably in his cat tree. He gets short visits from his new feline sisters and we're working on "let me pet you therapy".

I look forward to your advice and success stories. Hopefully this thread will eventually become a "how to" for future bonding challenged savannah parents.
 

admin

Paige
Staff member
#26
LOL, Schlieperk - you are definitely not the only male on the site...but the ladies are just more outspoken.

Sounds like you are making a bit of progress and that is a good thing. Zuri used to be a bit rambunctious and nip me to get attention - I had to stop this behavior. So every time she did it, I silently walked away from her...this way she knew if she jumped up and nipped me, her favorite plaything (me) would leave. it worked very well.
 

Laura W

Savannah Super Cat
#27
Schlieperk, Nope not the only man here. There are a few, but most of us are ladies! ;)

You have the exact same problems with Diego I have with Echo, only he's 3 yrs old and big! I tried just setting back and letting him come to me for 5 mths with very little progress. The Bengal kitten has help tremendously is helping Echo see that there is good things when he interacts with me. They now play constantly.

We have a nightly routine of chicken treats I made for them. I toss him a piece and he has to come closer to me to get more. He will take them from my fingers now and is very gentle about it. Still can't touch him, but he doesn't hide every time I go into his room. Still will hiss, but overall, much more comfortable with me in his room.
 

casper75

Savannah Super Cat
#28
Ok ladies (am I the only male on this site?),

It's been another week, so here's an update and more requests for advice.

Diego and I are still sharing our close quarters in the gym. Our progress this past week has been minimal, but not totally non-existent. Diego is hissing less and more willing to be close by me. He plays hard and sleeps even harder. He is taking treats more readily than ever but still hisses and has some reservations about it.

After all of the advice, I decided to go with a tepid approach to introductions. My Chartreux and my DSH (the older 2 of 3 spayed females) have been allowed a few short visits into our seclusion. Diego watches them intently and they give him a wide bearth. There is the occasional hiss, but no hair standing up or any other tel-tale signs of aggression. I'm sure to pass the treats out freely during these visits so everyone sees just how happy time together can be. One unfortunate event though: I left the door open and my youngest (spayed Egyptian Mau) took a peek right as I was giving Diego a treat by hand. Well, she saw him and let out the most evil looking hiss that she could muster. Diego saw that and decided to attack the closest thing to him, which just happened to be my hand. His kitty claws are very sharp and I've got three bloody lines down my hand to prove it. My fault, but it didn't do much for my confidence.

Overall, he is hissing less and spending more time close to me. The biggest issue remains: his complete unwillingness to allow me to touch him. I have begun to pet him with the stick end of one of his toys while I am playing with him. That way the stick gets attacked and not me. Occasionally, I will use my hand. Sometimes I manage to pet him before he realizes what is going on and then he hisses, other times I have to pull my hand away before he swats at me with his claws.

What should my reaction be to his hiss and swat? Should I give him a stern "NO!", should I pretend that I didn't notice, or should I just stop playing and sit in silence for 15 seconds? How will he learn best that this is not acceptable? I'm guessing that me swatting and hissing back at him isn't the answer.

So that is where we're at. I'm sleeping on the floor while he sleeps comfortably in his cat tree. He gets short visits from his new feline sisters and we're working on "let me pet you therapy".

I look forward to your advice and success stories. Hopefully this thread will eventually become a "how to" for future bonding challenged savannah parents.
No I'm male & I'm on the other side of the world In Australia as for your problem why not try & pretend that you are sleeping In the room where he is do this when he is awake who know he might come closer to you & Investigate thinking that you are really asleep.
 

schlieperk

Savannah Child
#29
Thanks Casper. I will give that a try. Is there an effort to make Savannahs legal in Aus? My wife is an Aussie, and we plan to move back there some day. I'm hoping that they change that rediculous law.
 

WitchyWoman

Admin
Staff member
#30
Funny how perspective works. When I made that kind of progress with Maliik, it felt monumental. But, yeah, you should turn your back on him when he attempts to swat you. Just turn away and pretend play by yourself or play with another cat if there's one in the room. Then turn back to him and try to engage in play again. Reading your stories really gives me flashbacks to my early days with Maliik and although each cat is different, Diego's progress sounds on a par schedule-wise with how things went with Maliik.

Don't be discouraged. You can touch him now, however briefly, and I think that is a huge step in the right direction. Have you tried dragging the feather wand over and under your legs? This was the type of play that helped Maliik progress by leaps & bounds. I waited a good week before I "accidentally" touched him as he was rolling around on top of or under my legs. I figured if he was comfortable being in full body contact that way, he must have felt I was less repulsive and it worked.

One important thing...be sure your mental state is one of confidence and project that you are in charge; telegraph that with your body language as well. If you turn from him with slumped shoulders and a defeated attitude he will pick up on that and it may very well encourage bad behavior.

We're here for you. Keep on keeping on.