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Help with F2 bonding

#1
We got our first F2 Savannah about a month ago now. We started him off with a quarantine in the bathroom for 2 weeks because we have a 15lb short hair domestic as well. During these 2 weeks he had a very difficult time eating and playing in front of us. We would hear him playing and talking to our other cat through the door.

After the 2 week quarantine was over and he was introduced to our other cat, his personality did a 180. He turned into a totally different cat. He could eat and play so long as our other cat was close by but if we got too close or made eye contact, he would still hiss at us and run away. Before, he would let us pet him but now we can't even do that.

We decided to start the quarantine over but this time we took the domestic out of the apt entirely. They're so happy together but he's just refusing to interact with us on his own. It kills me to break them up. So the quarantine restarted 2 days ago and he has reverted to the bad qualities of both his old self and his new. He won't eat in front of us and he won't let us pet or get near him.

Any advice is welcome. I'm afraid we just pushed him away further by removing his brother from the equation. I've never seen a cat so afraid of human contact.

Savannah is 6.5 months and Domestic is 2 years.
 

WitchyWoman

Admin
Staff member
#2
Do you know if the breeder socialized the cat? Was he raised in a house and in contact with humans, other animals, kids? From your description of his behavior, he sounds as though he lacked sufficient socialization to humans. Have you discussed his behavior with your breeder?

You can try the techniques outlined here http://www.savannahcatchat.com/thre...ed-acclimating-your-new-sv-to-your-home.1959/ and here if the reintroduction of your other cat doesn't go well for some reason http://www.savannahcatchat.com/threads/introducing-a-new-cat-into-the-family.4746/

How well he bonds to you is hard to predict. He may always be a cat's cat, preferring the company of your DSH; he may bond to you over time -- and it may take a very long time; or there will be a middle ground where he tolerates occasional pets but never becomes a snuggle buddy.

I have 4 SVs. One of my F2s prefers the company of cats to humans. It took 3 years before I could pet him without him hissing and threatening to bite and I can do it only when he's at rest; I've never picked him up; he's sat on my lap once and for only 30 seconds. He's 8 years old now and we are still making progress. I can brush him, pet him, give him chin scratches and massages and even pet his tummy but it's on his terms always and he acts as though he endures human contact rather than enjoys it. He's my problem child but I love him and we have accepted the terms of the detente.
 

Rafiki

Site Supporter
#3
Can you quarantine him in your bedroom? Many folks here have noticed that their Savannahs acclimate to the human presence much faster if they can investigate you when you are safely asleep.

Definitely read the 2 techniques that WW posted. Lots of very valuable info there on what to do and.....even more importantly, what not to do.
 
#4
He was raised in by the breeder mostly without much socialization from humans, yes. I've been discussing the issues with the breeder and she's the one who recommended the re-quarantine period.

Thank you for the link WW. I'll take those recommendations into consideration and do them all. I probably messed up a few times on the eye contact thing. Lots on ignoring in my future lol.

We'll also bring him into the bedroom to sleep/explore us at night as Rafiki recommended.

Fingers crossed XX
 

Patti

Admin
Staff member
#5
I agree with restarting the quarantine to see if you can make any headway with him. Spend as much time as possible with him in his room. You can sit on the floor and talk to him, read out loud, or just work on your computer.

Bring food to him at specific times and remove it after a certain length of time (e.g., 1/2 hour or 1 hour). Once he realizes that you are the only one supplying his food he will start to associate you with this positive activity. Once he gets used to eating at specific times try staying in the room with him during the dinner hour. Start out by positioning yourself as far away from the food as possible, but if he starts eating with you there you can gradually move closer.

Be aware that this will likely not be resolved in a two week period of time - this may go on for weeks or even months. At that point in time you will need to decide if it is worth it to continuously stress him out from the enforced quarantine and human presence, or if you are willing to let him be who he is, bond with your DSH and merely tolerate your presence... it can be a hard call, but you will need to look at it not just from your perspective but from his as well...
 

Advntrs1

Savannah Kitten
#6
Even these older posts help me so much to accept my Diego and be thankful we have made some progress. He is super playful with us, but no way can we get close to him unless on HIS terms. We have glimmers of hope, but ultimately I have had to accept that he did not get the socialization needed early on and he may never let us have the interaction us humans in the house would like to have. I knew regardless of lot's of socialization you can sometimes end up with a SV (Especially at the F2 and F1 generation) that just isn't into the whole peopling thing. But man I sure wish I could smooch his lovable little face.