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Hissing kitten question......


Savannah Super Cat
So I finally brought home my baby boy Maverick 2 days ago. He is in quarantine and is eating and using the litter tray well.

He hides under sofa most of the time and will run away if I reach out to pet him although he will sit and look at me if I talk to him but don't touch ! He has been also sleeping in an igloo that I bought him so I've been getting down on the floor and talking to him and petting him. He hisses initially but then tolerates me stroking him. When he's had enough he kicks me away.

Should I be even attempting to touch him at this point if he is hissing at me to begin with or should I wait on him coming to me?

P.s I sit in the room on my laptop and he peeks around the sofa at me but then runs away if I engage him. He also doesn't seem much interested in toys.

Thanks :)


Reincarnated cat Moderator
Maverick is most likely afraid of his new environment. I would not push him. But do go as far as he permits. Try to play with him. If you have a wand toy, use that. I have found it to be the best at capturing their interest, Also try to set a routine with him. Every day at about the same time, play, feed and interact. Also, if he has a favorite treat, use that too.
Others here know much more, so don't take what I say as gospel. He will come around. Let him get used to you and the new sights, sounds and smells. :)

SV Dad

Savannah Super Cat
Patience, his whole world as he knew it has just been turned upside down. As he gets accommodated to his new surroundings, and feels secure, that wonderful kitty will come out.
Congratulations! He looks handsome in his avatar!
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Savannah Super Cat
Yes, let him come to you. Jengo was this way, not hissing but hiding and would run away if you tried to touch him. We spent the first 48 hours with him and let him come to us. He did.

Keep talking to him. Keep telling him how handsome he is, what a great boy he is and how happy you are to have him. Savannah's thrive on compliments. I would grab lots of treats and occasionally throw one where ever he is hiding. If you approach always food and treats for him. Keep offering them in your hand too so he can get your scent. Leave a shirt or something in his room as well so he can smell you when you aren't there.

Keep trying with the toys. Early on Jengo would play by himself but with no one else. I took a wand toy and some spray cat nip on the end and he started to play.

Feliway spray or diffuser is great and helpful. I bought the spray and I sprayed everywhere that helped him a lot. It's helping with introducing our new cat.

Some kitties are just shy and scared at first. Jengo was a trial but here we are over 2 years later and he follows me around talking all day long. :)

Conversely Wiggles our new baby hid for 5 minutes and came out as soon as he saw food and ate, played and loves on everyone. Every cat is different.

One last thing, I made a point to talk on the phone near Jengo all the time early on because I ran out of things to say to him and many times he would approach if I was distracted and talking. Downside, whenever the phone rings he wants to talk to me lol.


Staff member
You've gotten a lot of good advice already.Spend as much time as you can with him, talk to him, read out loud from a book or computer just so he can get used to your voice. Use a wand toy to lazily flick about from time to time or wiggle on the ground, initially away from your body, but once he starts to engage in play (this may take several days) you can drag it over your legs etc. so that he gets used to getting closer to him. Don't make eye contact with him, this can be seen as a form of aggression, but if you do accidently cat his eyes blink slowly and look away - this is a sign of trust.

Don't leave food out for him, rather bring his meals to him, then remove them when he's done. He may not feel comfortable eating in front of you so you may initially not be able to stay in the room while he's eating, but remove the food after an hour or so, this will help him associate you with eating (also one of the best ways to a Savannah's heart ;- )


Savannah Super Cat
thanks for the advice - he's still running away when i go in but he's playing with toys with me so i will keep trying :)

John Campbell

Site Supporter
Staff member
One way to maybe get him to come to you based on the fact that he plays with you with his toys... They like crumpled paper... I am sure you have some junk mail or something you printed that is trash... With him sitting around just hold the sheet up for him and start crumpling it... Then throw it... Maybe that will get him to come to you when you crumple the paper until he has 100% trust in you... It will take a little time.

Chris Elliott

Savannah Super Cat
Make yourself less threatening by laying on the floor. This can easily lead to play that involves jumping over your legs.

And treats. I don't know of a cat that can resist freeze dried chicken...

You will probably have to put it on the ground at first, and slowly reduce the distance to you.


Savannah Super Cat
Playing with toys is a great sign that he is getting comfortable! That's one of the first things that both of my boys took to. Playing and food = friend in Savannah land.

Getting on the floor is great advice, we did with both kitties and especially for our oldest who's shy - it made a big difference.

When he gets closer give him a hand to sniff but don't pet him. He will initiate a rub or head bump when he's ready. We've seen this a lot with our shy boy. We always asks people not to pet him unless he rubs and gives the signal - this will help him build trust with you, he'll be in control of the contact and feel much better. Sometimes the more shy ones are afraid. Also don't try to pick him up. From experience we wanted to hold and cuddle our kitty but he didn't like it and we had to back off. So worth it in the end though, he is very lovey with me now and I can pick up and walk him around the house but that early handling had to be nipped in the bud because it made him more reclusive.

Sounds like things are going great! I know how frustrating it can be when you just want to love your kitty and they want to hide. I promise it does get better, so much better. Keep doing what you're doing!


Savannah Super Cat
This is all great advice, thanks so much! I have been stroking him when I can and yes I am desperate to grab him and cuddle him BUT I will stop stroking him and allow him to initiate contact! He's so gorgeous I just want him to jump on my lap for hugs lol