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My little one


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Hi Kim, there is a thread on it called "savannah kitten behavior" you can also search "Jarvis". He is the only Jarvis on this board :)

In a nutshell, Jarvis came home too young, 8 weeks. Mike and me had never had a young kitten before, and were new to cats. We had brought Diablo home in November 2011, and Jarvis came home in May 2012. Diablo was so easy we thought we had a clue. We didn't.

I had worked for a vet in high school, and we would tame the feral rescue kittens that came in. I tried those techniques on Jarvis. No one had ever taught me good cat manners before. So there I was, picking up the kitten, snuggling the kitten, making loud noises, and when he lashed out, scruffing him. He hates being scruffed, whereas diablo responds well to it. I did this for several months, and got nowhere with Jarvis but a couple of fantastic scars.

We stumbled across this site, and started reading. I asked for advice. At that point, Jarvis had bonded with our new baby, Mickey blue eyes, and with Mike, but not me. He was growling at me, hissing at me, and running from me.

The group suggested that Jarvis was scared, and that my anxiety was making it worse. They were right.

I backed off, and decided I would let him come to me, or not, mostly on his terms. I did make two changes to our routine. I became the sole provider of food for a time, and I offered Jarvis more play. Eventually he realized I wasn't trying to scare him, and started to trust me. We built on that. I started working on simple grooming, together with Mike (clipping nails), and moved up to picking him up and carrying him. I also started paying a lot of attention to his body language, and stopped comparing him to our other cats. There was a lot of hand feeding involved, and still is. Jarvis is food motivated. I pick him up daily, and carry him. I always have a treat for him when I put him down, so that he associates being picked up with getting a yummy snack. I try to listen when he is meowing, or growling, or hissing, and whatever is bothering/scaring him, I try to address if I can. He has not intentionally scratched or bitten me in a long time, and now gets in bed and snuggles with me almost every night. He also whines incessantly for attention, will swat at my iPad, shred my magazines, take my books...

He will always be a cat who jumps at loud noises and is worried by changes to his routine. But he has learned that humans are nice, and as a result is far more outgoing with strangers than I ever thought he would be, and is a love with Mike and me. He even asks for belly runs now. But only in the morning and only on his terms :) he turns 3 this week, and still isn't much for petting, but loves his snuggles.


Oh boy. You did have it rough. Well sounds like you have an amazing boy now, so defenitely worth the work. We are not new to the kitten thing or a scared cat thing. Our first baby was a siamese. He was about 2, but the humane society was not sure. He was taken from the home because he was abused. When we brought him home his one ear had just been stitched up because apparently the owner has ripped it and torn the skin. The humane society neutered him and we brought him home. He was sooo scared, didnt even trust to eat what we gave him, then I guess out of complete starvation he would eat when no one was looking. Just even trying to touch him would make him screech, I guess fear of being hurt. Took him a while, but ended up being an amazing cat who would extend his paws so he could be picked up. He lived a great life and passed away from old age and the usual issues.
Then a few months later we got a bengal. He was the opposite, he pretty much owned us and the house from the minute he walked in. Social, sweet, a love bug, never stopped talking. Broke a million things the first year lol, cause he was clutsy, a common thing with young bengals. Sadly in january, he was diagnosed with lymphoma and they said he had about 2 weeks to live, and we put him down. As I write this, the pain is still very real.
We decide we wanted a new baby, as we have so much love to give, so we went with a savannah. This little guy is sweet, never tries to bite or scratch on purpose. Its been 3 weeks today, and the first week, when he would see us each time we went into his safe room, he would arch his back and back into the wall, scared, nervous, god knows what. So we just talked softly to him and extended our hands to him. Second week we started to see changes, he would sniff my hand, eat out of my hand, and he would start to eat if we were in the room from his bowl, the week before, not a chance. This week I took him to the vet, did a fecal, general bloodwork, and his rabies and a check up. I was concerned it would set him back, but nothing really changed. He was off from the rabies shot, but thats about it.
Last two days, hes been coming day, but as I said, just sitting on the dining chair, but not trying to hide at all. But both days he didnt go back up to eat or anything, so we had to coax him up. Not an easy feat. I was just up there and he took a treat from my hand and was interested in looking at the toys but not interested in engaging at this time. So no forced picking him up or touching or anything. Im just not used to this and never sure if im doing the right thing. Im never this non confidant...but this guy has made me question it all. Like now, we are thinking, do we let him out or leave him be...I honestly dont know. Maybe leave him since its late, and let him out as normal tomorrow and what if he doesnt go eat again...Im confused lol


I should also note that he has not come to us once yet, he keeps his distance and we have to go to him, he will not come to us, not yet anyway, but Im hoping. Not sure if its shyness, skittiness, fear, or lack of socialization. I have no clue!