Savannah Cat Chat - THE Place for Savannah Cat Talk

Welcome to the Savannah Cat Chat Forum! Our forum has been in existence since 2012 and is the only one of its kind. We were here, serving the savannah cat community before Facebook and Instagram! Register for a free account today to become a member! Please use an email program other than Hotmail, since Hotmail accounts are blacklisted by many servers and ISP's. Once signed in, you'll be able to participate on this site in some of the forums by adding your own topics and posts. But in order to take advantage of the full features, such as a private inbox as well as connect with other members ad access some of the larger topics, a donation of $2.99/mo or $25/yr is requested. This will allow us to continue running this forum!

Biting and Scratching. Help!


Savannah Kitten
I have a 14 week old F1 Savannah. I've had him for 1 week so far. He's pretty good so far, but he gets extremely hyper and has trouble sitting still and falling asleep sometimes. Anyways, during these times he likes to bite and scratch. He'll bite my hands and feet especially, and when he's headbutting me he finds his way to my ears and likes to bite those as well. Yesterday he bit my cheek for the first time. Anytime I move my hands, he attacks them. And he hasn't learned how to keep his claws in around me. I'd just like to correct all this early on. For the biting, I've tried the firm "NO!". I've also tried hissing, variations of "OUCH!" and the finger in his mouth/throat thing. That worked for a while, but it seems all that goes out the window when he gets hyper. As for the scratching, I haven't tried much yet except the "NO!"

Help please!


Staff member
You have to really use your imagination on ways to redirect the behavior away from you such as giving him a soft toy to bite or scratch; removing yourself from the room; making sure you play with him frequently with a distance type of toy like a feather wand to expend some of that inexhaustible energy; squirting him with a sharp stream of water from a squirt bottle; keep some hot chili oil near you and spread some on your hands, or wherever he tends to bite.

Brigitte Cowell

Staff member
It's really important with kittens to NOT play with them with your hands! As Deborah says, use wand toys to play with him.

If he's biting your feet, consider wearing slippers in the house while he's growing up, to prevent that attacking of your toes.

You've gone straight to the generation of Savnanah that requires the most work at the F1 generation, they need a LOT of play and interaction! but in the first week he's likely more hyper because he's uptight and anxious over the change in his home. He's quarantined which means he's not got other kitties to bounce off and interact with....when he was probably used to wrestling with his kitten siblings.


Savannah Kitten
Thanks for the advice!

I'm a little worried though because he's gone from having his siblings around to play with, to being the only one. I don't have any other pets for him to play with. I share the place with my friend, and she was supposed to be getting a puppy that he could play with. That was the plan, but that didn't end up happening so now it'll be only him. I wonder if this will be an issue in the near future? :(
The first thing I would ask is are you working with the breeder of your kitten? They should know best what the temperament is regarding him and how he was acting before you got him? Should not really matter if he has a furry friend or not unless you are not around much. He will need lots of attention and socialization from you and you do need to play with him as much as possible. You have only had him for 1 week and it will take a bit for him to really bond with you. Please understand that his little world just kind of got turned upside down. Kittens, especially F1's do have a lot of energy and always will! If he is in a hyper mood work it out with him chasing a feather toy for a bit. That will tire him out!
I would start by trimming his nails. I trim all of my cats nails every two weeks which will first of all stop all of the scratching. You need to get him used to nail trimming. The best way to help stop the biting is to keep a toy in your hand and when he goes for your hands just give him the toy instead. If you do not have a toy handy and he attacks your legs or feet the best thing to do is to yell loudy OUCH and then gently scruff him and lift his front feet off of the ground and tell him NO, then gently put him down and walk away and ignore him. He will eventually get the hint. Hissing and/or putting your finger down his throat is not a good idea. Momma cats scruff them!!! If he is really persistant in the beginning you could just do what I told you and then put him in a room for a time out, but do it gently but firmly. I personally do not think that spraying him with water or using hot sauce are good ideas.
He was playing with other kittens and when a kitten bites another kitten too hard what they do is yell and run off and don't want to play anymore. He needs to learn he cannot play rough with people also. I am sure his biting phase will go away if you train him properly.
F1's need a lot of stimulation and socialization. I would train him to a harness and take him out if possible. Even for car rides if you are just running out for fast food, or going to the ATM or wherever you don't need to get out of the car. Or take him to friends houses. You do need to make sure he has had all of his kitten shots before taking him around other cats if your friends have animals.
Please understand that F1's are really special and have special needs. This is not your ordinary kitten, he needs to be trained and worked with in order for him to grow up to be a nicely well balanced adult.

Brigitte Cowell

Staff member
Completely agreed, Sue, an F1 kitten is not your ordinary kitten (and likely the reason that iironicF1 got the kitten!) and therefore needs more work and understanding to raise him to be the fabulous pet he can be!

John Popp

Site Supporter
Agreed on using your hands as toys is a bad idea and will make the habit harder to break.

Specifically on the hand biting we have had success breaking the habit by simply not pulling your hand away and using a finger to invoke a gag reflex. Nothing overly aggressive, just enough for them to know that there is something they don't like attached to biting hands.

A tip from the breeder and the issue was gone inside a couple days.

John Popp

Site Supporter
I should also mention while we were establishing the hand biting rules, I also had two four paws to the face pouncing incidents. They were both met with a stern "NO", a quick and abrupt scruff then followed by a 5 minute time out. The second incident was the last we had and it was actually quite funny as Chongo was building his confidence to make his second attempt. Some progressively louder "NO"s a few "don't do it"s and finally the pounce. Then of course wash, rinse, repeat on the reprimand.

Make sure your time out room is free from having any toys, and if it's a bathroom, make sure you step on the the toilet paper roll before putting it on the holder. Never did figure out what to do about the entertainment derived from turning on and off light switches, but he definitely doesn't like having the time outs.

One thing to avoid is using a carrier for time outs, although I have had to resort to it with Chongo's recovery from surgery when his activity level in the crate gets a little frenzied. I am however real cautious about it's use, making sure he goes in voluntarily and speaking softly to him when he's inside. He's usually asleep in a few minutes. The last thing you need is for them believing the carrier is some sort of punishment, having trouble getting them in when they really need to get to the vet and all the other trauma which can already be associated with the trip.


Savannah Super Cat
Hey so I think most of the advice here seems pretty on point. I've had a few kittens that have done that but honestly they usually out grow it. I think i've naturally done some of the things people are mentioning here and it just takes a while and then they get over it and know that it hurts you when they do that. Anyways lets see some pics of that new kitten! Haha