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Do Savannah's mature differently than domestic kittens

tusalena

Savannah Super Cat
Hi again

Blue is 6 months old and finally fixed..yea

He seems more like a 4 month old when it comes to coordination. He does not have very good balance or climbing ability, and walks off things like the bed if he has something in his mouth, Seems uncoordinated? Could it have been the intestinal parasites he had for quite awhile before I got him and this may have deprived nutritionally? Finally putting some weight/meat on his bones and his legs are growing, would that contribute to the un coordination?

One other behavior issue is his snarling and hissing at the other cats. They are older guys and not interested in him, mostly ignore him, but he has to hiss and swat at them. Is it a dominance thing or a confidence issue. He seems more of a skittish cat, he's quite content to play with me or lie down with me as he is now, but as soon as other cats come in the room, it's hiss, snarl, growl.

Sorry to hit you guys with 2 issues but this is my first Savannah and we usually get 2 kittens at once so they can interact with each other, so I'm at a loss with this guy. Trying to curb any behavior issues now before it effects the rest of the gang.
 

WitchyWoman

Admin
Staff member
All I can tell you is from my personal experience. I have 4 SVs -- a 4.5 mo. old F1, 2 F2s ages 3 & 4 years and an F6 age 4 years. All are males. All of them matured more slowly both physically and emotionally than any domestic shorthair I've owned. The clumsiness will go away in time. Some of it is due to immaturity and some is due to the cat being more focused on what he's doing than where he is.

When my adult cats were kittens, they walked off the bed, counters, anything high as though they expected the floor to rise to meet them. And they ran into walls and furniture sometimes hard enough to injure themselves. I truly thought it would take a miracle to get them past their first year alive.

There are three potential reasons why Blue is not bonding with the other cats 1) improper introduction/quarantine period; 2) he may just prefer the company of humans; 3) a combination of 1 & 2.

How did you do introductions to your other cats? Did you have Blue in quarantine for 2 wks or more when he first came home?
 

Carykd7kau

Reincarnated cat Moderator
When my adult cats were kittens, they walked off the bed, counters, anything high as though they expected the floor to rise to meet them.

Well they are Savannahs and think the world revolves around them and the laws of the universe should follow their lead...
 

tusalena

Savannah Super Cat
All I can tell you is from my personal experience. I have 4 SVs -- a 4.5 mo. old F1, 2 F2s ages 3 & 4 years and an F6 age 4 years. All are males. All of them matured more slowly both physically and emotionally than any domestic shorthair I've owned. The clumsiness will go away in time. Some of it is due to immaturity and some is due to the cat being more focused on what he's doing than where he is.

When my adult cats were kittens, they walked off the bed, counters, anything high as though they expected the floor to rise to meet them. And they ran into walls and furniture sometimes hard enough to injure themselves. I truly thought it would take a miracle to get them past their first year alive.

There are three potential reasons why Blue is not bonding with the other cats 1) improper introduction/quarantine period; 2) he may just prefer the company of humans; 3) a combination of 1 & 2.

How did you do introductions to your other cats? Did you have Blue in quarantine for 2 wks or more when he first came home?


Thanks for the info on maturity, it explains a lot..like the walking into walls or back flipping off the bed.

As for introduction. He was in his own room for a week. Second week I did the switching, him in our bedroom other cats allowed in his room. At this point I am sleeping with him at night because he would just howl all night if left alone. Spencer (1 year old fixed male who lost his brother a month before) came in the room with him a few times, that's when Blue stated mounting him and I got him fixed. The third week he had the run of the house with most of the cats being outside and he inside. Did the introduction of one cat at a time throughout the last 2 weeks, he was visibility afraid, but my older cats would just ignore him and leave.

I have 3 cats around 14, 2 cats around 4 and 1 that is 1 year old. I was really hoping the 1 year old and he would play together and they do, Blue follows Spencer around like a big brother.

Now everyone is outside the fenced area and Blue howls at the fence line to get out, hisses and swats at the other cats and seems skittish. He wont sleep on the bed if others are there..which they are and if he jumps on bed and another cat is present he hisses and runs away.

So I'm confused as to whether he's trying to be top cat or is he afraid of them. Peanut one of the 4 year old is usually friendly with other cats and she and Blue seemed to be getting along until he started jumping on her.

Anyway I want to stop this now before it gets to be a bigger issue.
Thanks
 

Patti

Admin
Staff member
I agree with Deborah about the coordination issue, it sounds like he is going through a clumsy stage. If he is still doing this when he is over a year old I might have him evaluated by a vet.

As for the hissing and swatting, does he do this regardless of whether you are there or not? I have a couple of cats that get along fine (or at least tolerate) the other cats, but as soon as I'm around and show any affection to anyone else they get jealous and go on the attack. It is strictly a jealousy issue for them, and I'm wondering if it is for Blue as well.

Try playing with blue and the other cats (one at a time) side by side with them each having their own wand toy. See if he will play and allow himself to be distracted enough by the wand to allow the other cat in close proximity. Try doing this with the different cats at least a couple of times a day and see if he warms up. You can do the same giving affection to him and another cat a the same time, it may help him start to accept the others a bit better.
 

tusalena

Savannah Super Cat
I agree with Deborah about the coordination issue, it sounds like he is going through a clumsy stage. If he is still doing this when he is over a year old I might have him evaluated by a vet.

As for the hissing and swatting, does he do this regardless of whether you are there or not? I have a couple of cats that get along fine (or at least tolerate) the other cats, but as soon as I'm around and show any affection to anyone else they get jealous and go on the attack. It is strictly a jealousy issue for them, and I'm wondering if it is for Blue as well.

Try playing with blue and the other cats (one at a time) side by side with them each having their own wand toy. See if he will play and allow himself to be distracted enough by the wand to allow the other cat in close proximity. Try doing this with the different cats at least a couple of times a day and see if he warms up. You can do the same giving affection to him and another cat a the same time, it may help him start to accept the others a bit better.

He is easily distracted when I play with him. He forgets the other cats, until he crashes into them:(. I do the play thing with him and others and it seems to work, not for long. He does look out to see if I am around, I intervene when he attacks the older cats, would this be considered praise. He does walk away if I push him away from the cat he's attacking. Or sometimes I just get In-between them. Should I intervene? I feel like I'm the mom letting him know that attacking other cats is not an acceptable behavior. I also try and praise when he is being good. He also attacks the cats to get at their food, even when he has his own food.

I'm concerned my other cats will get jealous if I spend all my spare time with Blue, he just needs soooo much attention and play time, hence I'm trying to find interactive out door toys so at least he can have some fun without me.


So could he be attacking the other cats to get my attention?
 

WitchyWoman

Admin
Staff member
When he attacks the other cats, what do they do? Are you sure he's not just engaging in normal kitten play? I have a 4.5 mo. old kitten and when he's playing with the older cats, they sometimes scream like they're being tortured and there's growling and hissing and slapping involved but it's pure play. If I think things are getting too intense and give them a time-out, they immediately come back for more.
 

Patti

Admin
Staff member
He sounds like a very needy kitty, poor fellow. Hopefully with time he will start gaining confidence in his bond with you and feel more secure around the other cats.

I would be careful physically intervening when they get into scraps - he may experience displaced aggression and actually turn on you. If you feel you need to break up the fights I would use a water bottle and squirt him (using a hard stream, not a mist). This usually stops cats at whatever they're doing, it is also indirect so he won't necessarily realize the 'disciplinary action' is coming from you.
 

tusalena

Savannah Super Cat
When he attacks the other cats, what do they do? Are you sure he's not just engaging in normal kitten play? I have a 4.5 mo. old kitten and when he's playing with the older cats, they sometimes scream like they're being tortured and there's growling and hissing and slapping involved but it's pure play. If I think things are getting too intense and give them a time-out, they immediately come back for more.

Sometimes he happens upon them and that I can see as spook and hiss. Some of the attacks are play to him but the others like Peanut do not take it that way and will go into aggressive posturing, flat ears, turning side on, buffy tail etc. I usually intervene when it gets like that as I don't want anyone to get hurt, vet bills are expensive here. I think Peanut is teaching boundaries as Blue knows no boundaries.

I don't like the stocking and pouncing on the old. Dolls, but i expect that's a boundary issue. How to get him to not hiss and growls every time he sees another cat. Would that be a confidence issue? If so how to build confidence? He's not being attacked, blue does the attacking, if he ignored the cat, it would not bother him.
 

WitchyWoman

Admin
Staff member
You can purchase a copy of Naughty No More by Marilyn Krieger, a well-known cat behaviorist or visit her website and set up a phone consult. She will likely be able to offer suggestions to change Blue's behavior. Her fee for phone/skype consult is $190 per hr. When you consider the peace and lack of potential for injury gained, it's worth the money. Periodically she'll offer her services free here but there aren't any scheduled in the near future.
 
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