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I Don't Want To Have To Give My Savannah Kitten Away!! Please Help Us!!!

Elara

Savannah Kitten
#1
Hello Everyone : ) My girlfriend and I are really in need of some help. Here's the story!

I have an f-4 Savannah female who is now a little over 6 months old. I got her the day she turned 3 months. She is really cool and exotic looking as she should be, but my girlfriend and I think we may have messed up, or something else is wrong. All the amazing things you read about a Savannah cat aren't really a part of her. She isn't affectionate with us really, no headbutts like they do, she doesn't come sit with us, doesn't come to get pets, if you pick her up she can't wait to go, if you try to make her sit with you its not happening lol, she pretty much just is doing her own thing (wich we know cats do) but also have had other cats in life and this is different, She sleeps on the end of our bed, but thats really the only time she comes around.

This might be why. We have a beautifull dog and another cat as well. A Canadian Sphynx hairless cat, They are both love machines, snugglers, cant get enough of us, love getting pet and being close, you know.. the whole story. When we first got Elara i had read about keeping savannahs quarantined for the first few weeks of the new home, however the cattery she came from had dogs and other cats and stuff she had already been exposed to, se we just decided to let them go and see what happens. Aside from some wrestling between the 2 cats where there was some hissing and meowing, and just what we thought to be normal cat wrestling and play, they all seemed to get along pretty good! it wasnt long at all before Elara was suggling, sleeping with, and grooming both the other cat and the dog! Now she loves the Dog so much, always laying with him, doing what we call "suckling" on his neck and grooming and licking him.. all of those types of things. Now this is Very cute and has taken up alot of our camera's storage space… but we really wish she was like this with us, which she is most definitely not. Trying to get affection or and snuggling time just even hang out time is pretty much impossible. Why is that?? The more i go back and read reviews on savannah cats all i read is the things that they do! and that she doesn't.

Im scared that she's bonded to the other pets in the house (which is a really good thing too) but not with us. And that it will now always be this way because of how we just let her into her new element when we got her. Her behaviour is good though, this is only a problem of friendship and affection, she gets along with the other animals, theres no serious fighting or destruction of things.. just some wrestling and mostly hangin around the house. She is however relentless with trying to get food and going on the counters for it and harassing us when we eat lol, I think those things are pretty normal, Basically if you don't have food, this girl is not coming to see you, definitely not being excited when you get home and coming up to say hi or be close to you, not following you anywhere, not sitting with you while your doing something, really just not caring i guess is the best way to say it.

Is this fixable?? Or improvable? How can we improve our bond with our beautiful kitten?
My girlfriend has just dropped the bomb on me saying that "She doesn't really like her" anymore and talks are starting to form about the options that we may have. This is a huge problem because the LAST thing that we want to even think about doing is finding a new home for our cat. I researched Savannah cats for over a year before deciding to make this kind of investment, and she is just not what we expected. We also understand that Savannah cats are each individual and can be unpredictable and be unexpected ways, but she seems to not be the reasons why people choose to get these cats.

If you have any help you could lend to us it would be hugely appreciated. I don't want to have to start over with a new kitten and do it differently, unless i can find some guidance out there somewhere its an option i might have to consider. I want a savannah cat in my life, there is no question about that, can i make her the right one??

Sorry for the long email we are really just reaching out right now. Hope to hear from you if you have a free minute.
 

WitchyWoman

Admin
Staff member
#2
I think you're correct about the mistake you made in not quarantining her. We harp about this all the time here -- if you want the animal to bond with you, you have to do the quarantine. You are at least taking responsibility for the mistake. I think you also should take the responsibility to try to remedy it by either taking measures to restart the bonding process or learning to live with a cat whose relationship with you may never improve. Having said that, she is still young and could change as she matures without intervention but then you're gambling on the outcome. I once had a DSH female that bonded with my male DSH and wouldn't have anything to do with us for 3 years. Then all of a sudden she decided that humans were also good companions and became a snuggle love.

You can either do this by putting her in quarantine or trying it with her loose in the house but I'd do the quarantine first -- you said she's food motivated so use that to your advantage. Get her to eat out of your hand and while she's doing that pet her. If she doesn't tolerate it at first, keep trying. Take her into another room away from the other pets to play with her and use food as a motivation to get her to engage with you. Don't force her -- coerce her. Have patience. It could take a month or more to establish a relationship but please try.

How about a consultation with Marilyn Krieger (the cat coach) http://thecatcoach.com. I'm positive she'll have some techniques you can use to help remedy the situation.
 
#3
Well, your post seems to contradict one another. If she's a lovely kitten, but just doesn't like your girlfriend or have a great bond with you, why would you even consider sending her away? If she was miserable-- sure, to improve her life, it might be worthwhile. But otherwise-- cats are like people. They like who they like and their opinions may change over the years. My oldest cat in the house is 14 and she's become senile and really doesn't care for anyone anymore. Would I think of sending her away because of this fact? No. Instead, she lives in one room of the house and she's happy there. So I'm happy. Is it ideal? Would I love for my old lady to hang out with the rest of us and to show her loving personality to the household again? Sure. But that's life.

Deb has given great advice-- go back to step one and work with your bond with her. At this point in time, I'd suggest you stop even thinking about rehoming her.

Also, who is her breeder? Have you spoke with them about your feelings?

Oh, wait, wait, wait-- I didn't see this part...

We also understand that Savannah cats are each individual and can be unpredictable and be unexpected ways, but she seems to not be the reasons why people choose to get these cats.
Since when are Savannahs any more individual or unpredictable than any other cat? You just told us you failed to quarantine her, you failed to work towards developing a bond. Don't blame your kitten for your mistakes. Just fix them :)
 

Brigitte Cowell

Moderator
Staff member
#4
I think that you know what the problem was, you messed up by not doing the quarantine. We usually are very clear that this couple of weeks of seclusion is NOT just for disease purposes, it is to ensure that the kitten bonds to the humans first before they meet the other pets as they will do EXACTLY what your kitten has done, bond strongly with them and you are playing catch up. I'm glad you can see where it started to go wrong.

I don't know where you read (or maybe you were told by someone) that you can pick up a Savannah and it will be happy (they are way too busy) and that you can "make" her sit with you. There's very few cats that you can make do anything, cats are very independent thinkers and need to WANT to do that. I suspect that the grabbing of kitten and trying to hold in position etc has added to the issue, she doesn't want to be near you so you can grab at her anymore!

I believe that you can still work with her BUT it will require more work starting from this position. I don't know if your girlfriend is onboard with that if she's talking about giving the kitten away? I find that a bit horrifying to be honest, but also appreciate that she is being upfront about where she is at in this situation.

You need to go back to the beginning and start again. Elara needs to be separated from the other pets and you need to be the only creatures she gets to see. Boredom can do a lot for a kitten, she's going to be more interested in you when she doesn't have other friends to play with. You become the bringer of all good things, the food, the play, the treats... definitely being food motivated is a plus. Only let her eat when you are sitting beside the bowl. Feed her treats from your hand and gradually work to reaching the other hand out and petting on her body (not her face) while feeding with that other hand. Only touch briefly and act like it is no big thing. You likely need to desensitize her to your hands and make her realize that you touching her does NOT mean she will be grabbed and held. Over time you can work on being able to pick her up and hold her but right now I would work on creating trust again and a bond of affection.

I would say though, if you both are not willing to put in some work now, it may be better for Elara to be rehomed while she is young and adaptable...I only say that as someone that has done rescue work for years and have seen owners letting a situation get worse and worse for years before giving up on the cat. I do agree with Deborah on the recommendation to consult Marilyn the Cat Coach...she can give you a personalize plan to work with, she's really good!
 

Eddies

Eddies a ham!
#5
Ouch. I hope you understand the "Breeder-rage" :offended:in here & see the advice that's been given as well. If you decide to re-home your SV please realize the Breeder gets first choice. In your own words you messed up and are asking for help to fix your mistake while stating the girlfriend doesn't like the SV...:eek:
 

Elara

Savannah Kitten
#6
I really appreciate everyone's feedback up to this point! Thanks! We're going to try the quarantine with her for a few weeks and see how she develops. As far as us re-homing her i want everybody to understand that is absolutely the LAST LAST thing we want to even think about, and is 99% not going to happen, We just want some advice on how to improve her. We have time to spend with our kitten, If you guys saw how well trained and incredable my dog is you would understand, that we understand how to relate to animals and want to be there for them and spend all the time necessary that they need. Elara just seems to have made a bond with the other animals and not with us, so yes she seems happy when she's doing that, wich is great! but we feel we also need to be happy. As for the trying to Make her do anything or Makng cats do things they don't want to i get that too lol, the problem is she never wants too, it would be like if your guy's savannah's never hung out with you.. never.. feed them and see ya till next time,, That is the problem and all we wanna do is improve it! Keep the advice comin please please please!
 

Elara

Savannah Kitten
#7
my girlfriend is in a "love/hate" relationship with Elara lol, she doesnt want to re home her either, she loves animals proably more than anyone on earth, and we're trying and trying, she has a cat and loves him to death, and we love our dog infinitely, we just want elara to show us SOME affection and want to be with us at least sometimes! I hope you dont see us as bad people we love her! We just feel like she's not our "friend"..
 

WitchyWoman

Admin
Staff member
#8
we just want elara to show us SOME affection and want to be with us at least sometimes! I hope you dont see us as bad people we love her! We just feel like she's not our "friend"..
I understand completely. I've told the story here many times of my Maliik (avatar pic) who took 2 yrs to warm up to me. I twisted myself into pretzel shapes to establish a relationship with that cat. He will be 4 this year and I can pet him and snuggle with him a bit but he has only voluntarily approached me ONCE in nearly 4 years for affection. I have to go to him and only when he's resting and not busy with other stuff. And I kept him in quarantine for 2 months (he had some health issues) before introducing him to the other SVs and he still bonded to them better than to me. So yeah, it can be tough. But I know he likes me because he gives me love eyes and tolerates my touch and that's probably as good as it'll ever be. i love him regardless and accept him on his terms. That is the challenge with animals, and humans alike, sometimes we have to settle for less than we would wish in a relationship, buy there are rewards to be had nonetheless.

Best of luck with the quarantine. Please update us with your progress.
 

NikkiA

Site Supporter
#9
It took our F3 boy, Jarvis a long time to bond with me. He bonded with Michael, my husband, right away, but not only did he run from me, if I got to0 close he scratched or used his teeth.
We did an initial QT on him when he came home in 2012 (at 8 weeks) for 10 days, and he bonded with Michael, then bonded heavily with his best friend Mickey (F4) in the fall of 2012. We already had D, who is my boy, at that time, and Jarvis bonded with him too.
I chose to leave him be, and listen to the people on this board rather than doing anything drastic.
That was may 2012-may 2013, give or take.
Right now, he is laying next to me, meowing because I am typing and not throwing his ball for him (which is on the FLOOR- he is not great at fetch). He meets me at the door every day, whereas before he would run and hide. Now he wants to say hi and gives me a head but.
Does he liked being picked up? No. Does he like being touched? Not much. But he will tolerate it, and he no longer uses claws or teeth ever (turned out he was using them out of fear).
Give it time. Your girl may be like my guy, and just a little slower to warm up. Even if the kitty isn't happy with you touching her, it is still a happy kitty. Sometimes we just have to accept them for who they are.
 

Lesley

Site Supporter
#10
I agree with everyone here. Take a step back and go through QT again. Talk with Marilyn for advice. Be patient and keep talking to everyone here. This is a young cat. Things can improve.