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Questions for Marilyn, the Cat Coach, on Savannah Cat Behavior

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admin

Paige
Staff member
#1
This forum will strictly be used for members to ask Marilyn, the Cat Coach whatever question they want on savannah cat behavior or other cat behavior.
 
#4
Paige, Ty for coordinating Marilyn's visit to forums. I look forward to soaking up all I can about cats from Marilyn's responses to members' questions. Marilyn thank you for your time in our forum.

My question is ... I have read and found from personal experience that it is almost an affront to look a cat in the eyes. That it is disrespectful and a challenge to them if you do stare them in the eyes. In fact I look slightly away and half close my eyes when petting my domestic cats to show my happiness or being content when sharing my time petting them. They seem to understand this and reciprocate.

I have an 11 wk old savannah F2b male and the "eye" communication doesn't seem to work with him, first he has no problem being looked at in the eye and second it doesn't seem he understands the "half lidded contented" look I give either. Is this because of his youth and he will learn or is this a difference between the way savannahs and domestics communicates meaning I need to learn to talk with them differently?

Thank you again for your time.

Rob
 

admin

Paige
Staff member
#5
Marilyn, I have a question...I am home all day working on various projects. Sometimes I cannot play with Zuri first thing in the morning - it has to wait an hour or two. She whines and moans and taps me and chews paper - anything to get my attention...she just wants to play...she is almost two years old and has not slowed down one bit.

So...is it just best for me to put everything on hold and play with her before I sit at my computer? I try to ignore her, but she is very persistent...thanks!
 

The Cat Coach

Marilyn and Maulee Krieger
#6
Hi Rob,
Eye contact is an interesting topic. It depends on the circumstances, the sense of security that cat has, it's relationship with the person, if they feel cornered... etc... Direct eye contact is a perceived threat when a cat is cornered, feels threatened and/or on the offensive. Also, when encountering an unknown cat, directly looking them in the eye can be a threat. Teeth also...

Cats who are bonded to you and who perceive you as their world are not threatened by direct eye contact (unless they are in a fractious mood). Many times you will note that cats will look into your eyes and then half blink. It's a sign of trust and it's like being blown a kiss.

I counsel people when clicker training cats, to wait for the cat to look up at their eyes before each repetition. It can help cats feel a bit more secure, can help with socialization... doesn't work without the clicker training though...

In a nut shell, your Savannah is communicating through his eyes... and he doesn't perceive you as a threat.
 

The Cat Coach

Marilyn and Maulee Krieger
#7
Hi Paige,
I'm assuming you are the Admin w/the question. I recommend that you play with Zuri when you get up in the morning, just before feeding her. Play with her in a way that imitates the hunt, always using a toy, never your hands. Pull the toy away from her, not towards her. When you want to stop playing, don't just stop, slow the toy down, imitating an animal who is tired, wounded. Finally let her catch it one last time and then immediately feed her. She will eat, groom and go to sleep. Because cats are wired for hunting in the mornings and evenings (though are opportunistic and will hunt other times), playing in this fashion, just before meals is ideal.
 

admin

Paige
Staff member
#8
Ok, I know you have told me that in the past, so I just have to put everything else aside and play with her when I first get up...thanks Marilyn!
 
#10
Hi Marilyn!

Okay- so you've met him in the past- Simon is my nonstandard F1 Savannah and he is a pain in my butt. Oh- wait- wrong forum... He is the love of my life- BUT... Since our 7 month old human baby came home- he has been on a rampage. Oh- he loves the baby- he has no issues with the baby and is a charmer with infants, for sure! Instead, he has taken it upon himself to destroy every stuff animal type toy (and some other toys) that is bought for the baby. It is his most important mission now- even moreso then getting into the toilet paper. Now- mind you- we have other kids and stuff animals are a part of this household. Simon does not touch the dog stuffies OR the other kids' stuffies. He ONLY goes after the baby's toys. Do you think he's jealous? Should we attempt more one-on-one time with only Simon to reassure him? Also- right after the baby was born- we had kittens born too, so Simon was banished from the master bedroom for a time. I know his time with me has been significantly cut into, but last year- during the spring, we had babies around, and he had no issues. So just curious as to what you suggest to get him to stop his rampage ;)
 
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