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My 8 month old is attacking me


Savannah Kitten
As my kitten has been growing he has been getting more and more aggressive with attacking me when he wants attention. I play with him several times a day and i take him for a walk at least once a day and usually spend at least 30 minutes to an hour or two with him outside. But, when we are inside and he decides he wants attention, usually after I have left my apartment and have come back (its been as short ad half an hour), he will start lunging his full body weight at me and start biting my feet and legs if I'm standing or he'll go for my hands and wrists if Im sitting down or trying to go to bed. When he does this NOTHING makes him stop and he's starting to get big so its really getting painful and I've already been accussed of self harm from acquaintances who don't know I have a savannah so it's also getting embarrassing. PLEASE any advice with this at all would be helpful because I'm totally at a loss as to how to make this behavior stop. I absolutely LOVE my little monster when he is being sweet and affectionate but I'm literally afraid of him when he is in this mood. Thank you in advanced!!

Brigitte Cowell

Staff member
First question is have you had your Savannah male neutered? Hormones can make a male cat a lot more assertive and rough in behavior.

Generally, when a cat or kitten reacts this way, it is because they are getting the reaction that they wish for. If he's bored then this constitutes entertainment, but also for some cats they really want to wrestle. That becomes difficult if you have an only cat... I'm assuming you don't have a companion kitty or dog for him? Have you considered adding another kitten/cat for him to bounce off instead of you?


Staff member
If you don't already have some, buy some large stuffed toys and keep them handy. When he gets in one of these moods, use the stuffed toy to wrestle with him. It should be large enough that you can hold it while he does his rabbit kicks and bites yet keeps your hands safe. Also keep some brain teasers available. Search Amazon for "trixie toys for cats". They have a large selection of toys where you can hide treats and the cats have to figure out how to get to the treat. And also, remember he is trying to train you to do his bidding and the best way to handle that is for you to leave the room and shut yourself away from him. He'll get the point sooner or later that when he acts up he gets no attention. A combination of you removing yourself from the situation and using toys to drain the energy should help.


Staff member
This behavior is NOT normal for a Savannah (or any cat) and shouldn't be tolerated. I agree with trying to use a large stuffed toy as a buffer, but if he continues to harm you I would immediately scruff him and either put him in a carrier or in a room by himself. A time-out should only last a short time (e.g., five minutes) because after that he won't remember why he is being disciplined.

Agree also that if he is not neutered this needs to be taken care of asap - the behavior is consistent with an intact male.


Site Supporter
Shango used to do that, but I have mostly put a stop to it now. He would jump up and bite at me (usually breaking the skin a little bit). Definitely don't tolerate or enforce this behavior or it will only get worse. Most of the time I could just grab whatever toy was close by and kind of use it like a shield to block myself. Then once he'd start "attacking" the toy, I'd tell him good boy. When he was going after me, I'd tell him a very firm no and would also say loudly ouch that hurts mommy (whether it hurt or not). If the toy didn't work, I'd leave the room and close the door behind me. Then once he had some time to calm down, I would go back into the room.

When he was younger, I had the most problems in the middle of the night/very early morning when I was trying to sleep even though I always have a long play session with him before bedtime then feed him. While I was sleeping, he would all of a sudden pounce on me. Then he'd bite me wherever he landed at... face/neck area which was rather scary, arms, legs, didn't matter. Usually it was not hard enough to break skin, it was more of a pinch. Of course the pounce/bite would always wake me right up and when I'd pull away sometimes his teeth would scratch me so it looked like scratch marks instead of bite marks. I started sleeping with a squirt bottle under one of my pillows. Whenever he'd pounce on me in the middle of the night, I'd tell him no and squirt him with it and most of the time he took off running and would then leave me alone. I would then hear him running around playing with a toy or on his cat wheel. There were a handful of times when he just wouldn't give up... I'd have a dripping wet cat with a wild hair up his butt intent on pouncing on me. Usually at that point I was so irritated and tired I just gave up and would close the bedroom door. Depending on where he'd run to, I would sleep in the room without him or a couple of times I ended up sleeping on the couch while he played in the room. It's a huge difference having a 4 lb kitten pounce on you vs a 15 lb cat so you definitely want to put a stop to the behavior sooner rather than later.

The pouncing/biting in the middle of the night has now completely stopped, but Shango still occasionally gets nippy with play aggression. If distracting with a toy doesn't work, I leave the room. Then when I come back into the room, I'm greeted by him rubbing up against my legs and giving headbutts... almost like he's trying to say he's sorry.

Savannah's are smart so be consistent and patient and things will get better.