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A few questions from a prospective owner...

#1
Hi everyone, this will be my first post here. Wonderful site, I've learned quite a bit just from lurking around.

I'm currently looking into getting an F2 Savannah Cat, but I have a few questions and concerns that I feel like I should probably ask before going any further with the process.

A few things about me: I'm a younger guy who owns his own home, lives alone, no children, no significant other, no other pets (as of now), financially stable. Grew up with pets (dog and 2 cats), so I'm not going in completely blind, but I haven't had one of my own since I moved out of my parents' home 5 years ago. Stumbled across ZeusTheServal on YouTube about 6 months ago and started looking into owning a Serval, but quickly found that Serval ownership would be far beyond my capabilities and gave up on the idea until I learned about Savannah Cats, and after a great deal of research I've ended up here.

Most of my questions have been answered, but my main concern lies with my job - I work 12 hour night shifts (7pm-7am) on a bit of an odd schedule that has me only working 14 days out of the month. This leaves me with more time at home than most in comparison, but during my work weeks I am away from home for a long time, 13-14 hours a night, with most of my at home time being spent asleep or preparing to return to work. I do get long 5 day breaks in between 5 day stretches of work, so it is not all at once, and of course, I would still be able to take care of the cat's basic needs as I do have a little time before and after work on workdays. I am worried about leaving it alone for so long, specifically in regards to feeding, bonding, play, etc. Is this an immediate roadblock?

Also, given my night shift work schedule, my days are more or less flipped from "normal people". My day begins at around 6 pm and i fall back asleep around 9am on my days off. I am worried that this may be difficult for the cat to adapt to, and may also make it hard for me to get my sleep in during the day. How are they with adapting to schedules, should I prepare for a lot of sleepless days?

Who exactly do I need to contact to inquire about legality for my locality (USA)? My state is one of the four where even serval ownership is legal, but I can't seem to find anything online for my specific county, and I'm having some trouble figuring out who to contact since most resources just say "local authorities".

I love the idea of owning a savannah cat and I have fallen in love with the breed, but I don't want to put a cat in a situation where it isn't happy. Does this situation sound unrealistic to you all? I am basically posting this so someone will either talk me out of it, or tell me to go through with it. If you've read this far, I thank you for your time and look forward to your answers!
 

Brigitte Cowell

Moderator
Staff member
#2
I love that you have researched Serval ownership and acknowledged that it is too much for you, it's not that common that someone actually does that. They see a Serval and it's so cool it overrides reason.

I do think that cats are adaptable, BUT I think that given the long periods the cat would be alone that you might need to consider that your SV might need a kitty companion. It might not, it is very hard to know as some cats are truly fine as only pets and we often ascribe loneliness to them when they are quite content getting all the attention. Long periods alone for an active cat might be hard, especially as it sounds like when you get home from your pretty long shifts you just want to sleep. On kitty's side, he's been napping all the time you've been away and now that you've returned all he wants is attention and play. Generally I warn folk that you just can't come home and go to sleep but will need to allow the first hour for attention and play no matter how tired you are. So that is something to consider.

You might want to mention your location if you want feedback on legality. If the state is legal for SVs it is unlikely that your county or city bans them but there are exceptions. There's not really a website for that, hybrid law covers state law but it would be a mammoth task for someone to keep up with each tiny little county over this huge country!
 

TripleZ

Savannah Teenager
#3
I don't think the cat will have a challenge with your sleep schedule (I sleep, they sleep......sorta.....), BUT the 12hours away is going to be problematic. Loki an F4 did not do well with us being away at work for 10hrs. Many shirts, blankets, other items were destroyed by chewing. This was with a 1/2 hour of play before work, and 1.5hrs of play after work. Yours may react differently (or with a different negative behavior).

We recently picked up a former breeder, 2-year old F5 silver female. Moods have MUCH improved and chewing has gotten much better. They play 5-6 hours a day (or night) at least. Loki still tries to block the door and me from leaving each morning.....but its better. My point is, you may end up with 2 Savannah cats. Its easier to get two from the same litter right away rather than introduce a 2nd later in life. Consider that before you commit.

My final piece of advice. I'm very happy I ended up getting an F4. I looked and almost committed to a high percentage F3 and was debating an F2. Loki knocks things off counters for attention. Chews on cords for attention. Drags couch cushions across the house..... for attention. He does it, then when we move, he runs to the toy drawer. He is as smart as a puppy, as mischievous, but can get to any surface in the house and has CLAWS.

An F3 is more. More energy, more mischievous. And F2......more yet.
 

Hoosiermess

Savannah Child
#4
I'm fairly new to having savannahs so I'll stay away from trying to give expert advice and just tell you what I've found. I work long hours and travel quite a bit for work. For that reason I ended up with two from the same litter and while I think they may act out a bit because I'm not there as much as I would like to be I also think it is tempered some by the two of them being together.

Some things that I was helped with that I'll pass on. Critter cord covers. They smell something awful but worth every penny saving phone chargers, power cords, HDMI cables and whatnot. I was told about them on this board and they really work. They are cats and as such will get into cabinets and anything you don't lock down so be sure that they can't get to anything that can be dangerous to them. It's impossible to completely safe zone you're entire house (if I forget to close my bathroom door I come home to the contents of my medicine cabinet piled up in the sink or floating in their water bowl) but cabinet locks of some sort and closing off rooms you don't want them in, just as you would for any pet, will go a long way towards saving money in broken things. Extra litter boxes, I have four for two cats and will be changing out two of the smaller ones I got when my cats were tiny for more of the large ones I got later. I don't clean them every day but they have never had an issue after they got used to my house, except when my cleaners closed the door to the litter room...

Outside of that, enjoy them, play with them, blow money on toys for them (laser pointers are great as well as the toys with balls that spin around a track until they figure out how to pull the balls out and chase them all over the house). I've been fortunate that I haven't had any behavioral issues that I'm worried about and I do think that having a playmate has really helped them to deal with the time that I'm not at home. Your mileage may vary but I thought I would share my experience so far.
 

Patti

Admin
Staff member
#5
I also agree with the others that a companion might be the way to go with your schedule. It doesn't have to be a Savannah - for instance I also breed Highlanders and they are also amazing and wonderful cats that get along great with Savannahs, but without the price tag that comes with the Savannah.

As for the sleep schedule - I believe sleeping can potentially be a challenge regardless of your schedule with a Savannah kitten, but as the kitten grows to adulthood it should settle into your schedule and not cause a lot of sleepless nights.

As for the legalities of owning a Savannah in your area, you can check with your local Animal Control or Fish and Game office. If you have an HOA definitely check with them as well. If you have any difficulties getting this information let me know and I'll see what I can do to help you.