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Bringing Your Savannah Home


Staff member
Why Do I Need to Quarantine My Savannah When It First Arrives?
There are two important reasons why your new savannah kitten should be quarantined for a minmum of two weeks. First, the stress of being ripped from all familiar surroundings and people, traveling to a new home, and meeting a new family is very stressful on a kitten. This can sometimes cause health problems by suppressing the immune system, just as it can in humans. Cats in general are very susceptible to certain illnesses and a stress response can trigger an illness such as an upper respiratory infection (cold) or a bout of diarrhea. If there are other cats in the household, it is always a good idea to keep them separated until you are assured that the new kitten is not going to succumb to such an event.

The second reason is that the kitten needs to be kept in a small room where it can easily find its food, water, and litter box. It also needs this time to get to know it’s new human family and to develop a bond with them. A new kitten being left to wander freely in a new home when first arriving can easily be overwhelmed and at the least have some litterbox mishaps because it forgets where the box is, or at the worst hide in as safe, dark environment (e.g., under a bed), which will necessitate you ‘chasing after’ it to retrieve it. This can cause even more fear and stress in the kitten and set up an unhealthy relationship between it and you.

When a kitten is restricted to a single room such as a bedroom or a bathroom with only you going in and out to interact with it, it will soon learn that you are the center of it’s life and a strong bond will form. Once this has been accomplished, you can start to slowly introduce it to other parts of the house, and to other pet members of the household as well.

How Do I Bond With My Savannah?
Many Savannah kittens will pop out of their carriers into a new home as though they have always lived there. Others will take more time to warm up to their new environment. Starting with a quarantine period as described above is always a good start when a new kitten is brought home. Sitting in the room reading a book aloud so that the kitten can get used to your presence and the sound of your voice will help it learn to trust you. Using a wand toy to gently play with it, running it over your legs so that it gets used to your close proximity is the next step. Once the kitten is comfortable with your presence and enjoys chasing the wand, you can try reaching out with your other hand to pet it as it plays. On very rare occasions it takes time and patience to develop a bond with your kitten, but the payoff will be a greater reward than you can ever imagine once you have developed this bond and found a new lifelong friend!

Will The Savannahs Get Along with My Cats and Other Pets?
Yes, generally a Savannah gets along well with other animals. If you have a dog, it may take a Savannah a little while to adjust if they were not raised around dogs. Other cat breeds that are similarly high energy (Oriental breeds, Abyssinians, Ocicats) seem to work well, as do very patient breeds such as the Maine Coon, Ragdoll, and PixieBob breeds.

A Savannah is not recommended in a house full of birds and fish. A Savannah, like any cat, has strong prey drive and likely will devote much time to devising ways to "play" with caged birds or tanks with fish.

Are Savannahs Destructive?
Savannahs are high energy cats, with loads of intelligence, but are not necessarily destructive. If left alone for long periods though, a Savannah might find things to amuse itself with what may not be an activity you would choose for them. It is important to make sure that they are well-occupied, possibly with another companion pet, or that your house is well Savannah-proofed.

It is also important to train your pet in the way you would like it to behave. Dissuade and distract from inappropriate behavior and give them suitable toys to expend their energy on.

A Savannah is not simply a gorgeous animal, it is highly interactive and needs time with its humans. If you do not have much spare time between your job and activities, then a Savannah may not be the right breed for you.

Do Savannahs Need Special Toys?
The rambunctious energy of a Savannah may be "hard" on toys. Many cat toys available are not suitable for a Savannah. Toys that lack durability may not last long, and some toys might be ingested causing serious harm to your cat. Talk to your breeder about the type of toys suitable for a Savannah.

Preparing your home for a Savannah can be similar to toddler-proofing your house from floor to ceiling.

Any breakable objects should either be put away for a year or two, or safely shut into a glass-fronted cabinet. Savannahs are energetic and definitely can be clumsy when racing about the house in a fit of gleeful play.

Secure objects that might be knocked over before bringing your Savannah kitten home. Museum wax/gel is reported to work well for some households.

Remove poisonous plants, definitely. Here is the link to the ASCPA webpage listing plants that have been reported as having serious deleterious effects on animals.

Be aware that a potted plant looks like a lot of digging fun to a Savannah kitten, and the plant itself is "asking" to be dragged all over the house. So, even if the plant is not toxic to your cat you may not successfully keep house plants after introducing a Savannah to your household.

While teething, many Savannah kittens will chew on inappropriate things, including electrical cords. Bitter sprays can be perfect for this, also consider removing and storing any cords that are not necessary at that time. There are also home products available that can encase many cords within the one larger tube. This is a really good idea, especially while your Savannah is young.

Toilet lids should be placed down, as a Savannah kitten will see an open toilet bowl as a "wading pool" and splash around in there. Some Savannahs learn how to turn on water taps, which will either require changing the taps (to a round shape that is more difficult for them) or learning to keep the bathroom door shut.

Savannahs have been known to open doors and drawers. Childproof latches on cupboards containing toxic substances (such as cleaning supplies) is a good idea.

Not ALL Savannahs will be troublesome – it depends on the individual personality and the time they have to themselves. It is best to be aware of situations an intelligent and energetic cat might create. Forewarned is forearmed!

If the kitten is to be left alone for many hours a day, it may be advisable to make a Savannah-Safe room to shut the kitten in while you are away. Design it with cat trees, and safe toys, and comfy beds (maybe even leave the radio or TV on) so that it is a pleasant place for your cat to be until you return home.

Can a Savannah be an Indoor/Outdoor Cat or Will They Stay Inside Fenced Yard?
NO and NO!
Savannahs have amazing energy combined with high intelligence and come with a strong "prey drive" -- they LOVE to chase things. These cats do not make good outdoors cats. They will be fascinated by a bird and stalk it, see a butterfly and follow that, then see another bird and chase that one… within hours they will be miles from your home with no idea how they got there! When a cat wanders, they are rarely located and returned to their homes. Savannahs are not recommended as anything but indoor-only pets.

Savannahs jump higher and further than most domestic cats. Those long legs are very functional! Even with the highest fence, most likely a Savannah would find a way up and over it.

Information courtesy of the Savannah Breed Section