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Baby in the near future with Playful/Aggressive F3

#1
Looking for some help with Feather. She is an F3 female almost 3 years old.
She's so sweet, playful and loving. She can be very aggressive when she wants to play . Using her teeth or even claws . I'm looking for some serious advice on how to stop her from using teeth and claws for fun. I'm worried if we have a new born baby she might hurt her while playing . We try to walk into another room and close the door on her when she starts doing it but so far it doesn't help. She gets lots of playtime with us . We use wands toys and fetch objects . And she chases them like crazy. The issue is she usually let's us know she needs playtime with her nails and teeth at our feet .


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WitchyWoman

Admin
Staff member
#2
You appear to have tolerated the behavior for 3 yrs so breaking that bad habit may take awhile. There are the usual approaches such as yelling "no" or "ouch" and removing yourself from the room. You might try rattling a metal can containing noisy objects in it to scare her when she begins the behavior but she may acclimate to that and begin to ignore it. Marilyn Krieger, http://www.thecatcoach.com/ is available for phone consults and that's probably the best option.
 

admin

Paige
Staff member
#3
I never encourage the kittens I raise to use their claws and teeth for play...and now your kitten is a three year old...there are ways to discourage the behavior in a positive way - never negative...put a chew toy in her mouth when she uses her teeth or tries to use her teeth...cut her claws weekly or more frequently if necessary...you can use soft claws and just not allow the behavior...and yes, contacting Marilyn may work also - good luck!!!
 

Patti

Admin
Staff member
#4
I also agree that it may be harder to change the behavior of a three year old Savannah. Some cats are simply put, more toy aggressive than others. Since she has been allowed to continue with this behavior up to now she doesn't understand that it is suddenly unacceptable. Marilyn may be your best option but if you are unable to change the behavior you will need to take appropriate steps to make sure she is never allowed to be alone with the baby.
 
#5
Please don't assume I encouraged this behavior since the beginning . That's just rude, not true and most importantly totally not helpful in anyway . Since she was a kitten I discouraged it. She's 85% better than she use to be . But now that's she bigger that 15% of the time is worrisome if a baby is present . I'm looking for helpful advice , not comments how other savannah owners think they're are better . Feather has always been super playful with incredible energy . She has a super hunting instinct . For example , she won't eat anything until she plays hunt the wand toy for 20-30min first . I think she feels she has more control in the house then humans . Maybe I can change that role with making her feel more dependent on us perhaps somehow.


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#6
I have a 1 year old F2 male with aggression issues (has bitten our housekeeper badly twice) and very bad separation anxiety. I had a consultation with Marilyn at the advice of this forum. She offered some good suggestions (mainly about environmental enrichment), but I didn't feel like she took sufficient time to understand my cat. Also, some of her product suggestions did not seem well-suited for a early gen Savannah. He has not bitten our housekeeper recently, but she is terrified of him and avoids him when she comes. Theo is now on a prescription medication for separation anxiety Clomicalm (clomipramine). He's only been on meds for just over a month, but it seems to be helping some. However, he has reacted aggressively to certain friends we've had over. I am not trying to discourage you from trying a session with Marilyn, but have realistic expectations. And maybe try reading her book first and implementing some of that before having a session.

I am also pregnant (yikes!) and hoping that my Theo will behave himself with the baby. The few times he's been around little kids, he was actually very sweet. One time we were sort of mobbed by two toddlers on a walk who ran up and started petting him like crazy. I was TERRIFIED that he would do something bad, we would get sued, LOL. But maybe there is a baby instinct that kicks in, like "Mommy will be SO MAD if I do anything to this mini human." Wishful thinking??
 

admin

Paige
Staff member
#7
Please don't assume I encouraged this behavior since the beginning . That's just rude, not true and most importantly totally not helpful in anyway . Since she was a kitten I discouraged it. She's 85% better than she use to be . But now that's she bigger that 15% of the time is worrisome if a baby is present . I'm looking for helpful advice , not comments how other savannah owners think they're are better . Feather has always been super playful with incredible energy . She has a super hunting instinct . For example , she won't eat anything until she plays hunt the wand toy for 20-30min first . I think she feels she has more control in the house then humans . Maybe I can change that role with making her feel more dependent on us perhaps somehow.


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There was nothing rude about any of the comments and I saw some very helpful advice. When you post on a public forum that your cat uses her teeth and claws to play and she is three years old, but do not add that she is 85% better, yes, people will assume you have tolerated the behavior. I saw nothing on here that said any other savannah owner thinks they are better than you.

People need to stop being so sensitive about what is advised and how it is being advised.
 
#8
By saying "I never encourage my kittens to use there claws or teeth"
Sounds like your saying you raised yours correctly . Also saying it may be difficult to change her now that's she 3 years old is not anyway helpful but making me worry more.
I'm looking for encouraging advice . Sorry for being upset but it makes me worried . I'm sure you can understand .


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admin

Paige
Staff member
#9
By saying "I never encourage my kittens to use there claws or teeth"
Sounds like your saying you raised yours correctly . Also saying it may be difficult to change her now that's she 3 years old is not anyway helpful but making me worry more.
I'm looking for encouraging advice . Sorry for being upset but it makes me worried . I'm sure you can understand .


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I said that because I am a breeder - has to do with the way I raise my kittens so they DON'T do what yours does for my kitten buyers. And quite honestly, it is not impossible to change the behavior, but no one here is going to sugar coat anything. I notice you did not mention the constructive advice you were also given by me and others.

If she is 85% better, what did you do to get her to that point? maybe work on that a bit more...but tolerating biting and scratching for fun for so long is a hard habit to break - I think it can be done, but it will likely take a lot of time and effort...so if you are willing to put in the time and effort to do, it can be done - there is your encouragement. Look into clicker training - giving treats as positive reinforcement. She may need more playing time and interaction - some need more than others. And you may also want to think about another cat for her to play with. Often kittens taken form their mothers too soon do not learn boundaries...not sure if this is the case with your savannah, but I have seen it over and over.
 

Patti

Admin
Staff member
#10
saying it may be difficult to change her now that's she 3 years old is not anyway helpful but making me worry more
You should be worried, this is NOT normal behavior and I know of no easy fix for changing behavior that has been present now for three years. I have given you the best advice I know - to seek out a professional cat behaviorist (reading Marilyn's books may be helpful as well). You haven't mentioned whether you have discussed this issue with your vet yet, if not you may want to, as was already mentioned sometimes prescription medications can be helpful.