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My Savannah is not super active...

Hi everyone!

I adopted a Savannah mix about a month ago. His name is Simba, and he is almost 8 years old. When we first brought him home, he had a huge problem with peeing only on our beds and he didn't have a BM for five days. After a vet visit, we discovered that Simba is starting to have fused vertebrae, which definitely explained his urinary issues. We have that all managed now, but I am starting to become concerned with his behavior.

Simba is not an active cat. He prefers to knead blankets and sleep on top of me, whenever I am sitting or laying down. He doesn't climb, doesn't scratch, doesn't play with any toys or look outside at our huge trees - basically anything we were told a Savannah will do, he doesn't do.

Should we be concerned? Or mindful that it's been a month and Simba is still transitional?

Thank you!

KJ and Simba

Brigitte Cowell

Staff member
I would imagine that the vertebra issue might really affect how much your poor kitty wishes to move! It can be very difficult to estimate cat pain to know...

I have had some success with acupuncture in my pets, and currently it is acupuncture that keeps my beagle moving as he has severe back issues and has been at times unable to walk because of it. You might also investigate glucosamine supplements and maybe there is a pain killer that is cat safe? Did your vet have any suggestions when this was diagnosed?

It's also important to realize that cats are individuals and what is reported as a breed trait is not for 100% of the cats belonging to that breed. On average, Savannahs are very active and interactive cats, but a number of other breeds went into its development and maybe not all are as active hence they might inherit a different personality for that reason. Additionally, you call him a "Savannah mix", so obviously Savannah is not all that is in your cat (and if this label came from anything other than a breeder the Savannah part might not even be true!)...

My feeling is that no matter what, you need to establish if Simba is in pain and do all you can to help him and then see if that increases his interest in activity...


Staff member
One other factor to consider in addition to Brigitte's excellent advice is Simba's background. Did he come from a home with proper enrichment? Was he neglected? Did he have toys? If he had a normal loving cat enriched home, he just may be a laid back boy. If he did not receive sufficient love attention and enrichment, it will take him a while to catch on to what it's supposed to be like to be a happy cat.


Savannah Super Cat
One of my F2s has never been a super active cat. He does wrestle and play with toys and scratch, but he really doesn't run or jump much.


Staff member
I would say age may audio have something to do with it... Back pain absolutely... My 6yo Savannah boy does not freaky run or jump add he did when he was a kitten... Every cat is different...


Staff member
I agree with what Brigitte and the others have said - my first thought also was that the fused vertebrae are limiting his activity both because of the physical limitations fused vertebrae can cause as well as the pain that they can inflict. Maybe you can talk to your vet and see what he can recommend. I also agree that acupuncture is a viable option.


Eddies a ham!
Mojo:cool: is on pain medication for his back, he doesn't bounce around like Eddie:ninja: does, he doesn't have a good appetite but never was a "foodie", please be aware of the pain factor when it comes to back injuries, yes it would affect the "potty" processes (especially dependent on location of injury) & the confusion:eek: the pain causes the cat trying to be what he is....a cat. barefoot Mojo has Miralax daily because of the pain meds to combat constipation. We rearranged shelves & bought even more so he can sit/lay up high, he has 3 "warm" beds, an easy use litter pan, an extra water fountain, & a great vet that sees him monthly...


Eddies a ham!
Guess I should've asked "What is a Savannah mix?".... Simba is Transitional not only from his move but because (Yay!) he has an owner that KNOWS his back/legs hurt, his movements are being limited (by nerve damage/pain?), he just wants security against the confusion...You say 'He prefers to knead blankets and sleep on top of me, whenever I am sitting or laying', I say "Great job!". Apparently you took care of the potty issue. Assuming you adopted Simba not knowing about the fusion taking place, are you emotionally/financially prepared to deal with his medical problems? I adopted Mojo for my husband...big cat for a big guy...& now they rest in their favorite spot every evening, they eat treats together right there, Mojos litter box is right beside their recliner, a water fountain on the table beside them.... it's going to break his heart but the vet has already told us quality of life; maybe another year. Good luck, Love that you kept him after the diagnosis, enjoy such a sweet loving SV for as long as you both enjoy it. If you find yourself unable to deal with Simbas diagnosis & ongoing problems please let us know, it wasn't something you expected to deal with & no one will judge you harshly if you ask for assistance considering the ongoing $ & vet trips these problems create.
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Site Supporter
He prefers to knead

I miss that so much - when Sasha was a teeny weeny baby, he would climb up my lap and knead away. Now that he's growing into a big boy, he's acting like a real teenager!!! He's still a love-bug but no more kneading !!!