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!

Help me with my Sbt Savannah. Please?

Brandy DW

Missing Neka, Loving Sabriel, Nakaia, & Trance
#1
~~Background Information first~~
-Okay so I've had Sabriel since October 16th, 2012.
-She's a sbt savannah.
-She was born in late may or early june of 2012.
-She was bread at A1Savannahs.
-She's an only pet (no other animals at all in the house).
-I'm the only person in the house too.
-She has a cat safe room for when I can't supervise her. (In the room is 2 cat tree's, 2 cat beds, a crate with blanket and small hammock in it, litter box, food/water bowl, turbo chaser toy, several soft/plush like toys. Also a window that she has a good view from to look outside.)
-She eats blue buffalo dry food (1/2 a cup a day).
-I had one savannah before this - also a sbt savannah from A1Savannahs but she died when she was 1 and a half from lymphoma, I got a replacement cat from A1Savannahs...


~I made a thread about Sabriel before, about a week after I first got her, mostly about her play biting and her not letting me hold her.

~Well here are my issues now:
1. She does still play bite sometimes but usually not hard.
2. She won't let me trim her claws, but her claws have gotten ultra long sometimes and she at least doesn't claw me.
3. When I take her to the vet, and the vet tries to open her mouth to check her teeth and stuff she really tries to bite him. (not sure if there is a way to fix that..)

--Within the past week, she'll take her poo out of the litter box and then bat it around her cat safe room (which has vinyl flooring at least), I just don't know why she's doing it. The poo is already hard so I'll pick it up with toilet paper and throw it away. Last night I finally had the time to get an enzyme cleaner and go over her cat safe room with it. Hopefully now she'll quit getting poo out of her litter box.

---This past week when playing with her, I sat on/in one of her large cat beds, which I btw have NEVER seen her actually use, more of just move it around. She didn't like it that I was in ~her~ bed and at first started attacking the bed, and then half attacked my foot. I of course stood up and at first she was still attached to my ankle like she was trying to attack me but she wasn't actually biting me. I was saying "ouch" loudly and "no" loudly and finally got her to let go after 3 tries. After that I closed the door and left her alone for a bit. I went down later that night and played with her and thing seemed fine. ~~~ Then a day or two later she wrapped her paws around my sock like she was going to attack it, and I said no and she backed off right away. ~~ She hasn't done it again since but I'm kind of afraid she will. I don't want her to turn to really biting me or hurting me...

---When I first got her in october about a week or two after I got her I had started getting irritated skin, and everyone in my family had kept saying I was likely allergic to her. So from October to December (when the skin irritation stopped for some reason, still don't know what brought it on or made it stop) I didn't play with her really up close all the time. I usually tried to use pole toys or through toys for her. I'd pick her up some but usually she wouldn't like it and I was also afraid of more skin irritation. Since the irritation has gone away I've been trying to be more affectionate but she seemingly will have none of it. She also doesn't like when I put her back in her room so when I'm done with the toys she'll run away from me. I'm afraid I really screwed up with her socialization because to this day I still can't get her to sit in my lap at all, she'll always want to run off...

--- But when I first greet her each time she'll rub between/around my legs. She'll also let me pick her up and hold her for a bit without squirming to get down right away but it's not long, long period's of time. When playing with toys she'll let me be around her easily and will let me pet her, and she'll roll on her side to play with stuff and show her belly sometimes.

---Toys I use:
-Several pole toys, including da bird.
-Toys that have catnip in them that I can throw for her.
-Crinkle type toys.
-she has her turbo toy to swat a ball around in her room all the time.
-Balls, some with bells and some without.

-I've noticed she reacts a lot better and is less skittish sometimes when I sit on the floor. Which is good for the throwing toys but horrible for the pole toys. I always try to make it so that she ends up right in front of me with them so I can pet her and such. But whenever I try to put her in my lap she'll have none of it - am I doomed to never have her sit in my lap at all? During the time when my skin was irritated did I mess up by not being more affectionate with her and make it so that she's not as social as she should be? But even then she wasn't a lap cat. I'm not looking for a lap cat but I would like her to sit in my lap for short periods so I can pet her then... Maybe if I keep at it she'll let me eventually, I mean she's gotten better at being held but I had to try that everyday (as in pick her up for a bit and then let her down soon after she started struggling, then repeat - she's gotten a lot better about being held).

Overall my three issues are:
1. The poo, hoping that's over with now but if it's not I'll try something different.
2. The potential for her play attacking me - or really attacking me at some point and how I prevent that... So far all I really do is distract her with a toy after saying "no" in a loud voice because it's what I've read elsewhere.
3. Wondering if I socialized her wrong or not enough and how to fix it and if it did do it wrong if it still can be fixed.

Also I work 8 hours a day. Everyday before work I play with her for about 20 minutes and feed her. Then after work I play with her for about 20 minutes and feed her. Then at night before bed I usually try to play with her for a hour but if it's been a long day I may only do it for 30 minutes. Should I try to get more time in? Between work, sleeping, cleaning, playing with her, and trying to have a bit of a normal life too. I'm wondering if I should get more play time in with her or if it's enough.

---On a big plus side today when I brought her to the vet - in the car ride (which in the past she would cry the whole time she was in the car) I was able to say in a soothing voice "it's okay sabriel" or "it's okay" and she would be quiet for a few minutes. Or I'd say "it's okay" and put my hand back by her kennel and she'd be good for a while too. To me that was encouraging that she seemed to feel safer with my voice or by smelling my hand. Then at the vet she was good with me and with them trimming her claws, it wasn't until the vet tried to open her mouth to check her teeth that she almost bit him hard. Then after that he just lifted the corners of her mouth and she seemed fine. When we got home she seemed okay too and I gave her a treat for being good and hopefully to encourage her to like her kennel (potentially). I keep her kennel/crate in her room all the time so that she's not afraid of it when i have to use it, so she's at least easy to get in there...

Sorry for the long story/ramble. Any responses would be great and thank you. :)

P.S. Do you think those "calming" treats at petco would actually work? They're all natural so they at least shouldn't harm a cat... I gave one to Sabriel last night to seem if she would be less skittish. She was less skittish and still had her usual energy so I think they should be fine... But would like to know what other savannah owner's think. Because a savannah cat and a domestic cat are very, very different...

P.S.S. I love Sabriel, I really do. I love her personality and I wouldn't change her for the world...

P.S.S.S. With my first savannah I actually ~meowed~ at her and she seemed to get me more and respond to the meows and would meow back. I've done this with Sabriel since I got her, and she's never meowed back which is fine, but I'm wondering if maybe she doesn't get or doesn't like it because she doesn't seem to respond to it.. she just looks at me like I'm crazy.. ( I meowed with my old domestic cat too and he liked it and would respond.) So is it a personality thing or is she potentially seeing me as another cat threat/alpha or what.. I'm trying to figure out if I should just stop... But maybe she does like it and just doesn't meow back, but associates me with the meowing... and blah. My brain is going round and round with this so I'm just going to post and get input.
 

Patti

Admin
Staff member
#2
The 'poo thing' may be boredom and looking for ways to entertain herself, or spite toward you because she doesn't like being locked up. Do you have any balls that she can bat around and chase in her room when she's there? In between those play periods you mentioned is she locked up by herself or does she have the run of the home so that she can interact with you?

The play attacking really needs to be dealt with, but it sounds like you are doing the right things to stop this behavior. I think crying out (saying 'ouch') is the best way to teach a cat it is hurting you - it understands the tone of voice, even if it doesn't understand the words. Some cats (NOT just Savannahs) are more high strung than others and could potentially get carried away and really hurt a person. I have a cat that easily gets over-stimulated and when that happens she bites hard. I always have to be careful to interact with her in a calm and steady manner to avoid this.


I would not beat yourself up over the socialization issue - every cat has its own personality and Savannahs just aren't known for being lap kitties. It's an extra bonus when it happens, but it is not often a trait found in Savannahs. What's most important now is that you continue to provide her with human interaction and routine play times just as you are.

I'm afraid I don't know what 'calming treats' are, but as you said, they're not going to hurt her so no harm in trying. Not sure about the meowing thing, again each cat is different so will respond to things differently. I would not read too much into her lack of interest/response.
 

Brandy DW

Missing Neka, Loving Sabriel, Nakaia, & Trance
#3
--In the room she has several soft toys, her turbo charger toy, and a big orange ball that she can't swallow. I save the little balls for when I can supervise her.

--The play attacking only happened twice (earlier this week) I haven't gotten any indication that it's going to happen again but I don't know. She's hard to read sometimes. (Example: When I first got her she would lick my face so I encouraged that behavior, then one day she randomly was licking my face and nipped my face hard - after that I don't really let her near my face anymore.)

--The routine play times will continue, just don't know if I should try add more. For the record the times I posted were what I do daily. I do sometimes add more random ones but not routinely.

-- She does not have the run of the home, she has a full bedroom that has all of her stuff and lots of toys for her. I've tried allowing her free roam of the house when I'm able to supervise her but each time I let her upstairs she gets very, very skittish and then just runs behind the tv stand (which is open space, not a wooden one) and starts chewing on cords. I've tried bringing her to other rooms just to give her a different environment with me but she gets skittish in those rooms as well. The rooms she's allowed in that she doesn't get scared in are her room downstairs, the downstairs living room (which is where a lot of the play time occurs), and the downstairs bathroom.

As for her room itself I had a discussion on another cat site about it and most people agreed with me that it was okay when I gave the full details/background of why I keep her there. I'm not neglecting my cat, if I didn't care about her I wouldn't be here posting/asking about ways to make things better...
 

Xtine

Savannah Super Cat
#4
Hi Brandy, it is always tricky getting to know a new kitty.

We got Malia in Nov 2012 and Rose in feb 2013 and both are still very young at 8 months and 4 months. Both are F3's and Malia our 8 month old has done some of things you have mentioned (the ankle wrap) it took 3 days of scruffing and it stopped. She still likes to hug my shoes rub her face all over them and sniff em to no end (yes , with them on my feet) but no claws.

She does not like to be held anymore either but i still get a quick pick up kiss and release. She started to change at 6 months which I feel was normal. She used sit in my lap and sleep for what seemed like hours now it is head butts and lots of rubs and shoulder perching when I am on the computer. As to the vet well they love her there she will protest at stuff but always forgives them after (she holds no grudges) she rewards them with head buts too. She sleeps with us but some times she goes to one of her many lounge beds too.

Rose is all about the snuggle and purring time when she is not following Malia every where. But she is learning from Malia and doesn't seem to have some of the earlier issues Malia had.

They both jump easily at noises and I have learned it is ok. Malia will come to me if she is spooked and puffy for a rub and head butt and then is off again. Rose watches this and is trying to copy but for now I go to her to reassure her.

Also Malia has changed some of her rough playing ways since Rose arrived. She used to be really rough in her play with us. exp. jumping on our backs with claws out. OUCH! I have to say having two has made it a lot better.

PS I meow to them too, Rose meows back and Malia just looks at me like I am nuts.

I hope some of this helpful. It seems to me from what you wrote that it is all fine and you two are still getting to know each other.
 

Brandy DW

Missing Neka, Loving Sabriel, Nakaia, & Trance
#5
Hi Brandy, it is always tricky getting to know a new kitty.

We got Malia in Nov 2012 and Rose in feb 2013 and both are still very young at 8 months and 4 months. Both are F3's and Malia our 8 month old has done some of things you have mentioned (the ankle wrap) it took 3 days of scruffing and it stopped. She still likes to hug my shoes rub her face all over them and sniff em to no end (yes , with them on my feet) but no claws.

She does not like to be held anymore either but i still get a quick pick up kiss and release. She started to change at 6 months which I feel was normal. She used sit in my lap and sleep for what seemed like hours now it is head butts and lots of rubs and shoulder perching when I am on the computer. As to the vet well they love her there she will protest at stuff but always forgives them after (she holds no grudges) she rewards them with head buts too. She sleeps with us but some times she goes to one of her many lounge beds too.

Rose is all about the snuggle and purring time when she is not following Malia every where. But she is learning from Malia and doesn't seem to have some of the earlier issues Malia had.

They both jump easily at noises and I have learned it is ok. Malia will come to me if she is spooked and puffy for a rub and head butt and then is off again. Rose watches this and is trying to copy but for now I go to her to reassure her.

Also Malia has changed some of her rough playing ways since Rose arrived. She used to be really rough in her play with us. exp. jumping on our backs with claws out. OUCH! I have to say having two has made it a lot better.

PS I meow to them too, Rose meows back and Malia just looks at me like I am nuts.

I hope some of this helpful. It seems to me from what you wrote that it is all fine and you two are still getting to know each other.
--See with Sabriel she didn't like to be held in the beginning and now is getting to be okay with it...

--Sabriel ever since she came off the plane has been a bit of a spit fire, I've come to recognize it as her personality. She's very much an individual, but at times she has this look or this meow that makes me think she's ticked off. Then other looks that I realize are her content. Others that are content. But there are quite a few looks or reactions that I have yet to figure out...

--Having her upstairs seems to just stress her out, and when I've had her around my computer she goes to try to bite the cords...

--I will note that the two times she wrapped herself around my ankle she never even left a mark, or made me feel pain. It was the action and her not letting go and looking like she was about to give me a really hard bite that's freaked me out.

--Oh also when i sit cross-legged with her, she'll go after my hidden foot, the foot that's under my knee. I always wear socks so maybe she's going for the fabric. She hasn't hurt my foot or toes yet but I just don't like the action. I don't know if she's play attacking but I don't want to encourage any behavior that has to do with her teeth or claws coming into contact with my skin...

When she licks me though i try to encourage that.

Also when i pet her, I say good girl and such. Then when she does something good otherwise I also try to say "good girl" or something similar in the same tone of voice. So hopefully she correlates that to a positive response. Because I don't always have treats on me at the time she does something good.
 

Brandy DW

Missing Neka, Loving Sabriel, Nakaia, & Trance
#6
Good little sign a bit ago. Ever since that time she bit my face after licking me, when I pick her up I'd usually keep my face away from her face. Well tonight I decided I'd take my chances and put my face closer to her face and she licked my nose 3 times. Then I changed holding positions with her so that she was half cradled like a baby (she's still not overly thrilled with that position..) and she went to licking my wrist and fingers. In the past she mostly only licked my feet or ankles, in the past I mostly kept my fingers themselves away from her mouth because when I first got her she had a habit of nipping them. She did that for a good little bit like she was grooming me, then when she did the first tiny nip I moved my hand away - pet her a bit and put her down to play.
 

NikkiA

Site Supporter
#7
Hi Brandy,
We have three boys from A1, an f3, f4, and f5.
Our f4 boy is cuddly. Our f5 boy loves petting and belly rubs. Our f3 boy does not like to be touched much, he likes to be with us,but not touching us except on his terms (he likes cuddling in bed).
Our boys spent time in their kitten room (similar to yours) when they were young, but now have free range of the house. They like chewing on power cords as well, but we have cord wrapps to prevent them from getting in to them. We also have a diffuser called feilaway, we got it at the suggestion of our vet.
Our boys have a lot of toys- and I do mean a lot. Probably upwards of 100 different things to play with, not counting feather sticks.
Are they spoiled? Sure. They also have each other. We got a second kitten at A1's recommendation, becuase our f5 boy was lonely. Alone, he was bored, unhappy, and lonely. With a friend with him all day (Mickey and Jarvis), he is a happy boy all the time. I cannot speak to your kitty, but a friend for her may be something to consider.
Brandy, have you reached out to A1 for help? From my own personal experience, they know their kitties well, and might be able to help.
 

Xtine

Savannah Super Cat
#8
Good little sign a bit ago. Ever since that time she bit my face after licking me, when I pick her up I'd usually keep my face away from her face. Well tonight I decided I'd take my chances and put my face closer to her face and she licked my nose 3 times. Then I changed holding positions with her so that she was half cradled like a baby (she's still not overly thrilled with that position..) and she went to licking my wrist and fingers. In the past she mostly only licked my feet or ankles, in the past I mostly kept my fingers themselves away from her mouth because when I first got her she had a habit of nipping them. She did that for a good little bit like she was grooming me, then when she did the first tiny nip I moved my hand away - pet her a bit and put her down to play.
That is great Brandy! I love it when things begin to get better with time and trust.
We just moved on March 8th to a very big house from a very small apartment. The girls are in two connecting big bedrooms with baby gates on the hall door (so they feel connected) and we let them out for a while everyday to explore the new house. We also have a huge family room upstairs (700 sqft) and the girls get really nervous in that room. I find just sitting down with a cup of tea for an hour really helps them to adjust better to that room. They are still uneasy about the new house but are adjusting a little bit everyday.
 

Brandy DW

Missing Neka, Loving Sabriel, Nakaia, & Trance
#9
NikkiA - I talked to Martin not long after I got her, and he said for discouraging the biting to distract her with a toy. He also encouraged sparkly toys, so I try to find those.

Xtine - See downstairs I have the flooring completely vinyl. Upstairs it's completely carpet (except the kitchen and bathroom). So between the two I'm wondering if she thinks she's in a completely different place. Also I usually have to bring her up there and then back downstairs by holding her, which before she was always struggling with, now she's better with that but still not great with being upstairs. Also I can't leave her unsupervised upstairs because one of the perches in the living room, on the other side is a 15 foot drop to the foyer. I'd have to get some sort contraption to go between that and the ceiling for her not to fall by accident if I let her free roam in the future if she ever becomes really comfortable upstairs.
 

Xtine

Savannah Super Cat
#10
NikkiA - I talked to Martin not long after I got her, and he said for discouraging the biting to distract her with a toy. He also encouraged sparkly toys, so I try to find those.

Xtine - See downstairs I have the flooring completely vinyl. Upstairs it's completely carpet (except the kitchen and bathroom). So between the two I'm wondering if she thinks she's in a completely different place. Also I usually have to bring her up there and then back downstairs by holding her, which before she was always struggling with, now she's better with that but still not great with being upstairs. Also I can't leave her unsupervised upstairs because one of the perches in the living room, on the other side is a 15 foot drop to the foyer. I'd have to get some sort contraption to go between that and the ceiling for her not to fall by accident if I let her free roam in the future if she ever becomes really comfortable upstairs.
I see your point....:eek: Maybe you can post a picture of it and solicit some ideas on how to make that safe. i know CoolCat is good at stuff like that.