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!

scaredy cat


Staff member
Ive been down this road twice...
My f5 female we named sneaky because thats excactly what she liked too do sneak around. We got her at 1 year old and she was not socialized at all. She was meant to be a breeder cat and she was relativly small so the breeder decided against using her so we ended up with her. The day she came out of quarinteen She found a hole in the ceiling of a closet and stayed there for 3 MONTHS only coming out for food and the litter box when we were not looking. Every single day my girl would sing a little song to here and I would talk to her and use a wand toy at the opening of the hole. Eventually she would come out and would stand on a water tank and rub herself against a pipe while we talked to her but we were never able to come close to petting her. We just worked with her every day until she would start walking around the house while we were there. Then she started taking little pets here and there. To make a long story short she is 2 and a 1/2 now and the most affectionet playful cat i've ever seen. she loves being petted and sleeping on us etc...Just keep up with the bonding and hopefully it works out for you. There is no rule of thumb on weather a cat is to old to be socialized.

My f2 male was more or less a wild animal when I got him haha. Still a work in progress but he has made huge strides and now loves having his neck rubbed and sleeping in the bed with us. I spend time working with him everyday day and it pays off.
Sounds like you have the right combination of patience and intuition to win over these tough cases, wonderful to hear such success stories!
So sorry you are having this problem. You will get good advice here. Quick question, did you go through a full quarantine period with him when he
arrived? Did he come straight from a breeder ?
Thank you everyone. Yes I got him straight from a breeder and was told that he "is a bit shy but I think he'll come out of his shell eventually" which seems to be a common quote :sneaky: and I did a 2 week quarantine with him. I mean compared to how he was even after the quarantine, he's a lot more social but it's been 10 months ya know. He's so strange with play, I've gotten him numerous toys including that popular bird one and he never acts very interested in them. He reallllly loved this remote control mouse but I went through 3 of them in a couple months because they die so quickly. He loved that one so much that he kept one of them and it's like his baby, he hides it in crazy places.
And the crate situation is mind baffling, I always have it out and open for him and he hides toys in it and even naps in it from time to time, but the minute he knows he HAS to go in it, it takes a lot of chasing and bribing and time haha.
He is the first savannah I've owned and I made sure to do a lot of research before I got him, so I understand that they usually aren't the most cuddly of cats and don't really care for a lot of "affectionate" handling, I just want to be able to touch him haha. Literally the only time I've ever touched him was when I had to take him to the vet to get medicated for ear mites and the vet helped me wrangle him down so I could hold him still :(
I guess time will tell with him


Staff member
This link is to a piece I wrote based on advice I got when dealing with my own SV in a similar situation to yours.

The tips 'n tricks were especially helpful. You might want to try a semi-quarantine situation wherein you spend time with him in a room where he feels safe and is surrounded by his things. Although he may try your patience at times, it sounds as though he has made great progress. Sometimes it's difficult to see that when you're close to the situation. Believe me, I know. I've been there. FWIW, it took me a good year before I could touch Maliik without him looking like he was being grossly tortured. He is now 3 yrs young and I can comfortably pet him. He even purrs for me occasionally. But even after all this time, there are days when he acts like he did during our first difficult months together.

I found the most success was to keep a calm, centered mindset. My guy is incredibly sensitive to mood and any negative thoughts I harbored when trying to interact with him he'd pick up on and it made him very scared and confused.

Good luck. Keep us posted on your progress.


Savannah Super Cat
I understand your frustration, and believe me, you can share the tiniest of accomplishment here and we will get it! You tell a normal person your cat finally let you pet him one time before running away and they look at you as if you are a nut. We will do a happy dance with you!

We will also laugh with you at the quirks that stay. Take Nyah, I told you earlier I can finally pick her up? Not to carry around and cuddle, that is still a big no. When I do have to move her big rear end by picking her up, when I put her down, she flops to the ground on her side like I broke her each and every time. It is crazy. Also, she feels like I should really appreciate how much she loves me now no matter what I am doing. If I am working, she is on my desk waltzing across my keyboard, sitting on my keyboard, hanging her head over my monitor asking what I am doing, flinging pens off the desk, laying on the file I am working from, it really is borderline obnoxious. If I pick her up to move her off my desk, she yells at me. Yells! And then flops over because she is broken again. Those of us who signed up for the ones who need a little work learn to see humor in many, many places.

Brigitte Cowell

Staff member
I think there is a huge difference between when we say that Savannahs are not necessarily lap cats and don't want to be carried around like a stuffed toy .... and the behavior that comes from not being properly socialized. The latter has nothing to do with the breed. Now, I don't carry any of my cats around the house for the most part (well sometimes my big boy Baz but that's because he's a complete mama's boy) but I can handle each one with ease. Not being able to touch your cat is NOT what we expect in our Savannahs!

N.Williams I hope your boy continues to come around... it is heartening to read rickbmore's tale of his cats... it just shows how much progress can be made if you take off the pressure of wanting results fast and just let them respond to your love on their own time. We've seen this in rescue again and again, homes that can just allow them to be get amazing results in the long term...