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F1 assimilating issues....

John Hemmerly

Savannah Super Cat
#1
Hello all...

I have and F1 named Portia (4yrs old) and an F2B named Kaya (10 weeks old)....Kaya is perfect and fitting in fine...However, Portia is a tough one. She was my breeders 1st F1 and was raised under foot. lived in the house for the 1st couple of years...she since has lived in a large cage at the cattery...She is a lover and loves any and all attention...we would visit the cattery and pet her, scratch her and basically love her to death. Anyway, we ended up buying her (retired breeder) and the kitten Kaya. Kaya is great and is perfect in every way...she is ridiculously spoiled and deserves anything and everything she wants...lol! Portia, on the other hand is a different story...she is scared and confused. She will investigate our home, sit in the window sills and occasionally lay on the kitchen counter or dining room table...she hisses and incessantly growls at Kaya, my wife and I.....she is sleeping, eating a lot, drinking plenty of water and using the litter box regurlarly. All signs point to a happy cat, but she isn't. I know this will probably take time....I am trying to use the one thing I don't have.....patience! She will eat treats and raw chicken right out of my hand, but petting is out of the question and I have the scratches to prove it. Can anybody give be a pep talk? It has only been 2 1/2 weeks....I have heard it could take a couple of months....that loving lap cat is in there....that is who she was....it is killing me that I can't pet and love her....everytime I think we make progress we seem to take another step back....the growling, hissing, lunging and swiping really bums us out....I need somebody to help me keep my hopes up, to not give up....to just wait it out....because she is worth it. She is honestly the most beautiful cat I have EVER laid eyes on....no joke. Anyway, enough rambling. Any and all advice welcome...thanks!

John
 

KMcgown

Site Supporter
#2
Hi John,

I don't have experience with F1's but there have been various threads on the higher generations and how it really does take some time to earn their trust. I did a quick search and found a few threads...here is one and she references another.

http://www.savannahcatchat.com/threads/socializing-f2-kittens-with-their-humans.1915/#post-25523

I am sure that some of the breeders/owners will comment here. It is my understanding that the higher generations do typically take longer to adjust especially if they are an older cat (not kitten).

Good luck.

Kathy
 

John Hemmerly

Savannah Super Cat
#3
Hi John,

I don't have experience with F1's but there have been various threads on the higher generations and how it really does take some time to earn their trust. I did a quick search and found a few threads...here is one and she references another.

http://www.savannahcatchat.com/threads/socializing-f2-kittens-with-their-humans.1915/#post-25523

I am sure that some of the breeders/owners will comment here. It is my understanding that the higher generations do typically take longer to adjust especially if they are an older cat (not kitten).

Good luck.

Kathy
Hey Kathy...

Thank you so much for your comments and the threads....I will read them....I guess I am mostly looking for support....I probably know the answer....patience! But, on the other hand, I definitely need some expert advice...I am new to Savannah ownership. I owned Bengals before....thanks again Kathy..;)

John
 
T

tkymasters

Guest
#4
Sounds like Portia is trying to claim her spot... Don't treat a F1 like a cat, think of her as a very smart dog. She is trying to establish her role in the family and don't expect her to become a lap cat.. if you wanted a lap cat, you should have adopted a regular cat. She is looking for the dominant figure in the family and will try to dominate. You backing down to the hiss, growl, and scratch isn't doing you any good.

Isolate her in a bedroom. Keep fresh water in there, but no food. Make a squirt bottle with 2 part water, 1 part vinegar. When you feed her, spend time with her, clean the litter, if she shows any sign of aggression, 1 spray at the head with a LOUD, firm NO. Eventually she will get the idea that you are the boss with the smelly and nasty spit. Aggression is the first thing you have to deal with before anything else. If she doesn't respect you as the boss, you are destined to have more problems in the future.

STAND YOUR GROUND!! with a squirt bottle.
 

John Hemmerly

Savannah Super Cat
#5
Sounds like Portia is trying to claim her spot... Don't treat a F1 like a cat, think of her as a very smart dog. She is trying to establish her role in the family and don't expect her to become a lap cat.. if you wanted a lap cat, you should have adopted a regular cat. She is looking for the dominant figure in the family and will try to dominate. You backing down to the hiss, growl, and scratch isn't doing you any good.

Isolate her in a bedroom. Keep fresh water in there, but no food. Make a squirt bottle with 2 part water, 1 part vinegar. When you feed her, spend time with her, clean the litter, if she shows any sign of aggression, 1 spray at the head with a LOUD, firm NO. Eventually she will get the idea that you are the boss with the smelly and nasty spit. Aggression is the first thing you have to deal with before anything else. If she doesn't respect you as the boss, you are destined to have more problems in the future.

STAND YOUR GROUND!! with a squirt bottle.
Thank you for the advice....actually, my F2B is my lap cat...and I don't back down to Portia, hence the scratched up hands...I definitely scold her and tell her NO, but haven't tried the squirt bottle trick. I don't expect her to be a lap cat, just the cat that we saw and loved at the cattery. She is basically a rescue and a high percentage F1 (Serval father and F3 mother) at that...I will try your trick and see where it goes...thanks again.

John
 

Tina Kinsley

Savannah Super Cat
#6
My mom has my F1 (I'm in CA); she's a rehomed 10 year old female. The vinegar squirt bottle trick has tranformed Tisa from a growling, hissing, really pissed off scary cat to a much more friendly version! She is now allowing pets and brushing up against my mom and stepdad when they're in the room, and also taking treats from their hands (wouldn't get within 2 feet of them previously). She's still isolated in her own room, and has been there for 8 days now. She'll be introduced to the rest of the house soon.

Tkymasters knows of what he speaks.
 

Brigitte Cowell

Moderator
Staff member
#7
I can't say that I agree with punishing a cat every time they hiss or growl. Hissing is a natural behavior of the Serval and some are simply very hissy...

John, I think that you just have to work at that patience and not push Portia so much. As you say it has been a couple weeks. I think that thinking it will only be a couple months before she is the same cat you met at her previous home is erroneous, it could well take longer. BUT with lots of love and patience she will come to love you back.

You likely have to make a choice between ways of training animals, there are those that think you need to dominate and be the alpha...and those that choose to not punish so much but reward all good behavior so that the animal is motivated to behave well as that gets the positive reaction.

Just hang in there! Have you tried playing hard with her, running her around so that she gets very very tired but contented and seeing if she is more tolerant of the notion of petting after that? I find many of mine are more willing to be petted and loved on after they've expended lots of energy jumping and leaping and running after a wand toy...
 

Patti

Admin
Staff member
#8
Sounds like Portia is trying to claim her spot... Don't treat a F1 like a cat, think of her as a very smart dog. She is trying to establish her role in the family and don't expect her to become a lap cat.. if you wanted a lap cat, you should have adopted a regular cat. She is looking for the dominant figure in the family and will try to dominate. You backing down to the hiss, growl, and scratch isn't doing you any good.

Isolate her in a bedroom. Keep fresh water in there, but no food. Make a squirt bottle with 2 part water, 1 part vinegar. When you feed her, spend time with her, clean the litter, if she shows any sign of aggression, 1 spray at the head with a LOUD, firm NO. Eventually she will get the idea that you are the boss with the smelly and nasty spit. Aggression is the first thing you have to deal with before anything else. If she doesn't respect you as the boss, you are destined to have more problems in the future.

STAND YOUR GROUND!! with a squirt bottle.
I totally disagree with this. Portia is frightened - she was taken away from the only home she has ever known and the family she has bonded with. Hissing and lunging are clear signs of fear and confusion over her new situation. Acting aggressively toward her, trying to dominate her will only ensure that you will alienate her for life. If you want to win her over, you need to do so on her terms. Patience is indeed key here. Take cues from her behavior - if she doesn't like to be petted, don't pet her (some cats don't like being touched on the head btw, so try petting her from her shoulders down, but only if it doesn't cause her to cringe or try to get away).

I do agree that it would be best keeping her in a small room. Try to spend as much time with her as possible. Interact with her by playing with a wand toy, or just sit on the floor reading a book out loud so that she gets used to your voice. Unfortunately, some F1s, like Servals, bond for life with their humans and just don't do well when rehomed. It is unlikely that she will ever be a lap cat. I think at this point I think you need to accept the fact that if she only learns to tolerate you that is as good as it may ever get - and if it gets better then all the more to rejoice over.
 

Tina Kinsley

Savannah Super Cat
#9
I'm threadjacking for a second to clarify--in my rehomed F1's case, Tisa was absolutely not getting squirted routinely. It was a one day deal due to extreme aggression--she has completely calmed down since then and is very much coming out of her shell and every day is more and more affectionate, even seeking out pets now from my mother and my stepfather. She has never been squirted for routine hissing and growling.
 

Robo1

Savannah Super Cat
#10
Thank you for the advice....actually, my F2B is my lap cat...and I don't back down to Portia, hence the scratched up hands...I definitely scold her and tell her NO, but haven't tried the squirt bottle trick. I don't expect her to be a lap cat, just the cat that we saw and loved at the cattery. She is basically a rescue and a high percentage F1 (Serval father and F3 mother) at that...I will try your trick and see where it goes...thanks again.

John
Do have any pics to post...love to see them...Good luck with the training...