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!

Purchasing an older cat

Tina Kinsley

Savannah Super Cat
#1
Hi there, I'm new to the forum, and I just wanted to make sure I'm making good decisions for my new (old) baby.

I'm adopting a retired HP F1 queen next weekend. She is 10 yrs old but healthy, and friendly and affectionate once she knows the person. Since I'm going to be unavoidably stuck in California for a few more months, she'll temporarily be living at a relative's house in Michigan.

Originally, I was planning to have my sister take her in and acclimate her, however, she has two younger children who are VERY loud--the whole family is loud, actually--a smallish place, and a male DSH kitten there as well; I'm concerned that all of that on top of the move will make her a very unhappy girl. My sister is starting to express some nervousness about how this will all go as well, so I think better to home her in a place that is calmer overall.

So, my mother has offered to house her for me. She has a larger house and can give a room over to the new girl for as long as she needs it to become acclimated. She has several other cats and two dogs, but this cat has also been living with both cats and dogs, and although she's the boss and asserts herself, she does fine overall with the mix.

So here are the questions I have--number one, since she will have to move again to my house when I get back, would she be better off just staying in her room so that she doesn't have such a huge transition for move 2? Housing her in a quieter home will make it easier for her overall in general, right? Or, would it be better to let her have free run of the house once she's ready? I don't want to keep her locked up in a small room if it won't be a real detriment to move number 2.

My stepfather is going to construct the mother of all cat trees for her, and will create a cat run so she can run all over the room, and obviously she'll get human time and tons of toys and play when she is ready for it, so she will have things to do in the room and ways to be entertained and to entertain herself.

I have had a cat really have a drastic personality shift before when he had to deal with children who wouldn't leave him alone--he really had a change for the worse in his overall skittishness and aggressiveness after that, and given that she's an F1, I don't want to have her experience a similiar traumatic experience.

Any words of advice are greatly appreciated. I eventually want a kitten at some point, but this girl is a beauty and needs the right home, which I think I can provide. One other thing, I currently have a neutered Cornish Rex who is the MOST mellow, non aggressive loving lapcat ever, a bomb could go off and he'd barely blink, so I think he'll get along with her just fine, and since F1s don't tend to be lapcats, there shouldn't be any jostling for position. I hope!

Thanks in advance. I love this board, I can't believe I just found it!

Tina
 

Brigitte Cowell

Moderator
Staff member
#2
Hi Tina, welcome!

If your sister or mother has never had a Savannah before, let alone an F1 Savannah (and I believe F1s are a different cat to the subsequent generations in many ways) let alone a rehomed adult F1 Savannah... I foresee this being very difficult for them. I run Savannah Rescue along with a small group of other enthusiasts and so have handled the rehoming of a number of adult F1s over the years. I also took on a year old F1 and so saw a little of how they can react.

It really is very important that you can give them their own room and own space for as long as they need it. For some cats it might be a couple weeks for some it might be months. F1s are way more intense and determined in their reactions than the average cat... so they don't like and dislike they love and hate. Most likely this F1 female is going to HATE being rehomed. She's going to hate being separated from "her human". She's going to be angry and hissy and growly...and because of their size and appearance, an angry F1 can be a very frightening prospect to the uninitiated!

Although you say she's used to living with other cats, she is NOT used to your sister's or mother's cats so likely will be aggressive and scary to them. They have not seen a cat like her and I know that they appear every bit as scary to a cat as to a human. It sounds like she is used to dominating too..

If you are going to be in CA for a few months more, have you considered bringing her over there for those months? The transition in housing might be easier than the transition in owners. I'd estimate that my F1s here are more attached to their humans than our home. They don't like change of course... but in any of the proposed scenarios this kitty is going to have changes.

You need to be aware that you will most likely see a personality shift in this cat on rehoming, at least temporarily. No matter what she is like in her current home, she will not be like that in her new home for some time, it might be some months before she settles in. Some do adapt but even the F1 I bought that was a year old when she came here was very very hissy and upset with us for two weeks before deciding I was her new human...and then took five years to accept my husband as well.

I am a big believer in being prepared for the worst-case scenario...then you can be pleasantly surprised when it is easier than you thought. We always prepare our adopters for what an F1 might be like so that they are not shocked when it happens... and sometimes it just goes much easier. But regularly it is a long hard process requiring a lot of patience, love and persistence. Rewarding in the end, but not an easy process when you are dealing with an intense and strong-minded kitty! Good luck!
 

Tina Kinsley

Savannah Super Cat
#3
Brigitte, thank you!

I wish I could bring her here but unfortunately, I have a ton of traveling until I get back to Michigan permanently, so won't be around nearly enough to make that work.

I read my mom your reply and she said, "Can I get Brigitte's phone number so I can call her?" LOL! I recommended she join this board and the sv rescue group. :)

I know this is not going to be an easy process, but I'm patient and determined and I love this breed, and I'll do what it takes to make her a happy kitty, even if she hates me initially. I may have a lot of questions during the process, and I'm just glad I have such a great place to get answers. Thanks again.

Tina

I'll get some pics up of her as soon as she's settled. She's a beauty.
 

Patti

Admin
Staff member
#4
I have to agree with everything Brigitte has said, and my burning question is this: does the breeder who is selling her to you know what your plans are? I would discourage a 'double' rehoming if there is any remote possibility of avoiding it. Is there any chance at all that the current owner would be willing to hold on to her for another few months until you return to MI? What happens if this girl bonds to your mother - are you going to rip her away from that which is familiar once again after she has just established trust with another human? Lots to think about here...
 

Brigitte Cowell

Moderator
Staff member
#5
Tina, if your mother emails me I can give her my phone number, it's also listed on savannahcat.com but I try to limit how many places it is listed as otherwise I could spend all day every day on the phone. Email tends to work best for me as I can answer it late at night, especially as I am in CA so in a different time zone for her also. But I know a phone number can be best for emergencies too and am happy to be a reference for her :)
 

Tina Kinsley

Savannah Super Cat
#6
@Brigitte: can you PM me your email, or shall I have her join here and shoot you a message? I REALLY appreciate the offer. She won't abuse it, I promise. I'm sure she will prefer emailing so that she doesn't feel like she's intruding on you.

@Patti: I did discuss my situation with the breeder; he thinks she will be fine (apparently she's bonded with more than one person over the years and has been very adaptable). The situation isn't ideal, I agree, but he isn't willing to hold onto her until next summer. If she bonds tightly with my mom (and I know that's a possibility), then I suppose I will have probably have purchased a cat for my mom. :uh oh: I would never rip her away if she bonded tightly to her. I know it's a risk, but I also know I can give this cat a wonderful home (as can my mother if she decides she's her new human).

Again, I cannot tell you how much help you all are. I really am grateful.
 
D

DocMac

Guest
#7
@Brigitte: can you PM me your email, or shall I have her join here and shoot you a message? I REALLY appreciate the offer. She won't abuse it, I promise. I'm sure she will prefer emailing so that she doesn't feel like she's intruding on you.

@Patti: I did discuss my situation with the breeder; he thinks she will be fine (apparently she's bonded with more than one person over the years and has been very adaptable). The situation isn't ideal, I agree, but he isn't willing to hold onto her until next summer. If she bonds tightly with my mom (and I know that's a possibility), then I suppose I will have probably have purchased a cat for my mom. :uh oh: I would never rip her away if she bonded tightly to her. I know it's a risk, but I also know I can give this cat a wonderful home (as can my mother if she decides she's her new human).

Again, I cannot tell you how much help you all are. I really am grateful.
The people on this list are life-savers, psychologists, good cop/bad cop, and so willing to help! I'm so grateful I can read their answers and hear their advice.