Savannah Cat Chat - THE Place for Savannah Cat Talk

Welcome to the Savannah Cat Chat Forum! Our forum has been in existence since 2012 and is the only one of its kind. We were here, serving the savannah cat community before Facebook and Instagram! Register for a free account today to become a member! Please use an email program other than Hotmail, since Hotmail accounts are blacklisted by many servers and ISP's. Once signed in, you'll be able to participate on this site in some of the forums by adding your own topics and posts. But in order to take advantage of the full features, such as a private inbox as well as connect with other members ad access some of the larger topics, a donation of $2.99/mo or $25/yr is requested. This will allow us to continue running this forum!

New Savannah introductions

MaddyG

Savannah Teenager
#1
Hi All,
I recently brought home a new family member-an F4 Female, 23 months old (retired queen). I also have an F5 SBT male (retired stud) who is 2. I honestly expected him to be very alpha and aggressive (after all, he's the king of the house!), but in fact, the new queen is very aggressive, chasing him and hissing. He's terrified (even though he has about 10 lbs on her!). I'm going to PetCo today to buy Feliway, but i'm very sad and stressed over our current state of affairs.

Are some Savannahs just incompatible with other cats? She's truly a doll baby, such a sweet girl, loving, and cuddly. But she only likes the humans.

Any advice, etc. would be warmly welcomed. I took a look through past posts regarding new introductions, but wanted also to reach out directly for help.

Maddy
 

KMcgown

Site Supporter
#3
Yes, how was the introduction done? I think hissing and growling will happen even with a quarantine but should not be overly aggressive. Can you post more details?
 

Brigitte Cowell

Moderator
Staff member
#4
Welcome Maddy, and congratulations on your new addition :)

As Paige asked, the timing of the introduction may be key here... any introduction needs to be slow even if it is a kitten you are introducing to a household, but two adult cats generally need an even slower introduction to avoid the kind of drama you are experiencing.

This is not a Savannah thing, this is a general cat thing. And yes, some individual cats might prefer to be only cats. BUT, in general, with gradual introduction techniques you should be able to have them at least tolerate each other even if they never love each other!

If you can't find enough information on this forum for introductions (I believe there is quite some), or online elsewhere...then I would suggest you contact www.thecatcoach.com for a consultation as Marilyn will be able to personalize a plan for you and your household that may be what you need.
 

MaddyG

Savannah Teenager
#5
Hi All, thanks for your responses! She's staying down the basement, quarantined, while the F5 has the run of the house (there's a shut door to the basement). HOWEVER, she's a wily sprite, and has darted out when i have come to spend time with her; this is when i've seen the aggressive chasing and hissing - so perhaps it just too early to have such high expectations on my part.... I've immediately removed her from the situation both times, and while her quarantine is not over, i'm considering extending it way beyond two weeks. But I feel VERY sorry for her. She's lonely down there and greatly wants to come up, but it's too soon, and from what i've seen, it's dangerous! My next step is putting the lattice gates up so that they can see one another. Perhaps next week, but maybe that's too soon?

I'm wondering if her aggression has anything to do with her having been a queen? Are they more aggressive due to the mommy/baby instincts to protect/attack? Will Feliway really help? Both times she escaped, she really CHARGED him. She's a fierce one!
 

Brigitte Cowell

Moderator
Staff member
#6
You still don't say how long she has been staying in that basement?

I don't think it is so much to do with her being a past queen, although is she spayed already? Obviously both need to be altered for the hormones to not be playing a part here...

Remember to consider their points of view here, your male is the resident and as such knows the house and the humans and is SECURE. Your female is the newbie, the interloper, and all of this is new and unsettling. Hence she is the one with something to prove and hence is more likely to be the aggressor trying to find her position in the household. Especially if she is a dominant personality, she is trying to assert this from the start.
 

MaddyG

Savannah Teenager
#7
Hi again all,
I figured i'd check in with an update, and also to ask for further advice. So we're at week 4 now. New F4 Female is still living quarantined down the basement, while F5 Male and DSH have full roam of the house.
In addition to visiting her in her quarantine roughly every other hour, we bring her out into the home once a day (more on weekends), so that she can get a feel/smell for the house. As soon as I bring her up, i usually give them ALL freeze dried chicken treats in an effort to impart that seeing other cats has rewards! After this, F5 generally bolts and hides upstairs, but DSH is up for the challenge and sticks around to see what will happen. We generally watch tv with F4 in our laps, or exploring about, and we've reached a point where no hissing occurs among any party! BUT, i must note that F4 Female is in a harness on a leash through this process. Because were i to let her roam unfettered, she would immediately attack the other two.
Is the leash/harness actually making it worse? perhaps making her even more aggressive?
Or, are we making progress?

Help! I'm wondering whether she really would just prefer to be an only cat (and that sort of breaks my heart...)

Thanks for reading.
Maddy
 

MaddyG

Savannah Teenager
#8
Also, i've been using the Sprit Essences (Jackson Galaxy): Peacemaker, Safe Space, and Stress Stopper.
Does anyone have experience with these? Or his spirit essences in general?
 

WitchyWoman

Admin
Staff member
#9
Maddy I haven't found any of the herbal remedies recommended for stress to work but others have so maybe it just isn't working for your cats.

Some suggestions for you to try: if the basement door is a solid door, temporarily replace it with a screen door or put up enough baby gates to fill the space. Let the cats cohabit with that in place for a week or so. And/or switch places with the cats -- residents in the basement, new girl having the run of the house -- for a week or so.

At some point there will have to be clash of wills and perhaps bodies as either a new hierarchy is established or the current one successfully defended. The fur may literally fly for a bit but they have their own societal rules and at some point, you have to step back and let the dominance thing sort itself out. It can get scary but the hierarchy is usually established/defended by a lot of howling and body posturing and perhaps a smack or two. It can months for things to sort out but during that time they should be able to share the same space.
 

MaddyG

Savannah Teenager
#10
Thanks for your response, Deborah. I'm honestly SCARED to let them hash it out....
This little lady is FIERCE and the few times she's escaped she's charged the other two like prey. She beat the tar out of the F5, fur everywhere, bloody ear... it was terrible.

I'm definitely going to swap environments for them - great idea! the two incumbent residents are already trying like crazy to get down into her space since it's loaded with toys and an irresistible cat tree.
I will also try the baby gate solution, though i would not be surprised if she scales the wall, or figures out how to open it :) She's already gotten into all of the cabinets and ransacked the contents (thankfully, it's just cat supplies)

THANKS!