When it comes to raising Savannah Kittens into adulthood the philosophy is to "Expect only what you put into a Savannah Cat". If you provide proper daily care and training while young, it will result into healthy well-adjusted adults. If your considering adopted a Savannah Kitten you will need to preform kitten-proofing, obtain necessary care items and pick a quarantine room. As a cat owner you also need crucial details on how to provide proper exercise that is both physically adequate and mentally enriching.
Kitten-proofing your home helps ensure your kitten's safety as well as your own. Kittens are lively and curious, which can lead them into serious trouble unless you take preventative measures. Also, remember that a kitten has a lower vantage point than yours — like a baby who has begun to crawl — and may be attracted to things you do not see when you are standing. It's practically impossible to absolutely kitten-proof your home against all accidents, but for your kitten's safety here are some suggestions.
Time frame of 2-3 Week of personal one on one time with new owner(s). Rushing the introduction process can result in a scared, skittish and unsure feline that can result in bad behavior at your fault not that cat. Quarantine should be located in a medium-sized room. This room should be ideal for the kitten to not be too confined so the kitten does not feel threatened. You will then need to provide proper enrichment items to redirect the cat attention, provide exercise and also to provide an activity to bond with your new kitten.
Keeping all animals separate during introduction eliminates typical routes of bacterial and viral infections. Remember your kitten requires visits to the vets office for crucial vaccinations and exams, while a kitten it's immune system is less than adult making it easy to catch something. Most animals only visit a vet when sick, take care to disinfect any surface the kitten will touch at the vet. Sales contracts between you and your breeder should mandate a veterinary visit within a specified short time after arrival, this allows the vet to discover any issues that may have incurred due to stress of being re-homed or otherwise obtained. The quarantine is also the ideal time to reinforce litter box habits. In the eyes of your kitten you must realize that your home is much larger to them than it is to you. This is why being in a smaller area where they can easily locate the litter box is ideal. Cats should have two litter boxes per feline. The litter box should not be too high for the kitten to climb into and not too small in area as to deters the kitten from going to the bathroom.
Currently we are using Dr. W. Jean Dodd's vaccination protocol. This protocol is now being adopted by ALL 27 North American veterinary schools. Important to note that mom's antibodies are not completely gone till 16 weeks thus shots given earlier may have no effect. Shots are given 3-4 weeks apart, never give a booster shot when a cat shows signs of being sick.
4 Way Shots
FIV/FELV Blood Test
Test all your current felines prior to getting your new kitten! Upon receiving your kitten you will need to test with the FIV/FELV Blood Test or if it is one of my kitten the parents are already tested negative, so negative by parents.
DO NOT GIVE - Leading Veterinarian at Cornell University announced in an October/November publication "In 3 to 5 years an epidemic of FIP will occur due solely to the vaccine" - Dr. Allen Cahill
DO NOT GIVE. The ringworm vaccination reduces the clinical signs of infection BUT does NOT eliminate organisms from the animal. Ringworm is a fungus not a virus, bacteria or worm thus the vaccine is considered to be of no use.
Parasites are a common occurrence in cats as they are easily contracted through drinking water or simple touch of infected surfaces, some parasites can live weeks without a host with prevalence rates as high as 45 percent. The parasites can be worm-like (e.g., stomach worms, roundworms, hookworms, tapeworms) or one-celled (e.g., Isospora, Giardia, Toxoplasma) organisms. We recommend giving "revolution" which is a topical application given once a month to prevent, control, and treat parasite infections. The active ingredient is selamectin, which interferes with the parasite's nervous system. It is an effective heartworm preventive, killing the immature form of the heartworm. It kills adult fleas and prevents flea eggs from hatching for one month. It is also used for the treatment and control of ear mites and sarcoptic mange. Revolution also treats and controls roundworm and hookworm infections.
- Do not assume the exam or waiting room is clean.
- Disinfect the cat's carrier and your shoes after visiting the vet.
- Use a towel to cover the exam table.
- Do not allow routine procedures to be done out of sight.
- If a shot spills onto the cat have it whipped off with alcohol.
- Savannah Cats should be treated like any other cat breed.
- Vets only take one small course in school about feline nutrition.
The following are our current cat foods for pet cats. Not all cat foods will agree with the digestive system of each cat, because of this you will have to monitor your cat. It is strongly suggest to feed a raw cat mixture, be it pre-made or homemade, because raw is the only fully balanced diet. It is understandable that many homes will be able to provide raw due to work and so on. Majority of "wet foods" can cause digestive upset (runny poops), proceed with caution.
"Blue Buffalo Wilderness Indoor Chicken Recipe" is left out at all times in a large heavy ceramic bowel. Do not switch to a kitten formula as it is too rich. Picture shown is the exact bag of food to purchase. Picking out dry food is difficult, this is our current pick.
Growing kittens need every advantage possible. We give a raw treat once a day.
- Raw Treat = Chicken breast or Ground turkey + Mazuri Slab Meat Vitamin + Taurine
Ground chicken or turkey meat with slab meat vitamins. It is very important to note that slab meat vitamins are meant for exotic cats on slab meat, meaning it lacks bone or other vital organs that are required to balance other raw mixtures.
Taurine is an amino acid. Amino acids are building blocks for proteins and essential to the proper functioning of most of the body systems. Deficiency of taurine will lead to a weakening of the muscle cells in the heart, causing a condition called dilated cardiomyopathy (enlarged, weakened heart). Back in the 1970s, thousands of dogs and cats were mysteriously dying due to a form of heart failure called dilated cardiomyopathy (enlarged, weakened heart) eventually discovered due to taurine deficiency. Taurine is a component of bile salts, and its deficiency may cause digestive disturbances. It promotes electrolyte balance in cats. Maintains feline cardiovascular health, gastrointestinal function and normal vision in cats.Taurine is water solvent so excess goes out through a felines urine. It can bee added on top of you felines dry or moist food.
- Feline-Nutrition.org - The Ultimate Feline Nutrition Site
- Feline Nutrition - No bull, Taurine is a must for kitty.
- Taurine Importance By Dr. Jean Hofve
FreshPet Vitals is great for cats as its very bland and easy on the tummy. They are soft bite size bits making them excellent for a reward.
Blue Buffalo Wilderness Chicken. Proceed with caution since canned foods can cause upset tummy. Your cat's intestines are not meant to eat only dry food due to lacking moisture content, however we suggest raw over canned.
Savannah Cats require proper mental stimulation and exercise live a balance life. When picking enrichment toys they must be durable and anti-swallow. The following are the most basic toys that I purchase for my cats. I also suggest large but also durable bird toys that you can hang for a dog crate or cat tree. The top rated enrichment activity we can suggest is the investment into a Cat wheel. Cat Wheels are one of the BEST ways to expect large amounts of energy. Cat wheels are proven effective for all breeds of cat and even small dogs will hitch a ride when the cats not looking!
- Cat Food
- Litter Boxes (2)
- Positive Reinforcement Treats
- Freeze Dried Chicken
- Greenies Crunchy Treats
- Friskies Treats
- Large Ceramic Bowels
- Waterproof Food Mat
- Large Tall Cat Trees (2 per cat)
- Cardboard Scratcher
- Cat wands
- Ball In Track Toy
- Rattle Balls
Cat wheels are the must-have enriching experience every cat needs to get that extra energy spent. There have been more and more tests showing that cats kept inside can become bored and develop cat depression and other psychological problems. These issues can present themselves in many ways such as destroying furniture or not using litter boxes. In field testing our cat wheel has proven to not only enhance the physical well-being of our cats but altered their disposition to be more relaxed and calm. Please note that cats still need one-on-one exercise with cat wands and other enriching activities. Cat wheels should be used as a tool to spend energy in between true exercise/play sessions.
If kept inside only an enclosure is not required to have a Savannah Cat. However no cat of any breed should be allowed to roam freely outside. Roaming freely is dangerous with a high injury and death rate. The Savannah Cat is not a very good hunter even though they may look the part, all cases of the breed found after being lost have been in very rough shape with low body score (Thin). Should your cat desire outside play it is suggested provide walling on a harness or to acquire a outdoor enclosure. Try to get or build an enclosure that has perches and room to play.
Training a Savannah Cat is similar to training a puppy. Cesar Milan once said "I have never met a dog I couldn't help; however, I have met humans who weren't willing to change." This saying can be applied to most cat owners trying to learn how to deal with felines. Patience and perseverance are key.
Walk on a leash requires extensive time, patience and positive reinforcement to achieve.
What age to start harness training? Any age. As soon as you get your kitten and they have settled in you should start with the following steps;
- Step 1
- Start placing a fitted harness on you kitten and allow the kitten to wear it for long period of time inside the home without associate with the leash. The cat may protest by laying down but eventually will learn to wear the harnesses with out struggle. Try associating the harness with play time for positive enforcement.
- Step 2
- Start attaching a leash inside the home. Take a cat wand to entice the cat to walk. Give extra small treats sparingly for positive reinforcement. if the cat becomes scared calmly pet the cat and redirect its attention back to the cat wand. Do not be forceful, that being said don't give up quickly. Patience and repetition is the key.
- Step 3
- Pick an outside area that is without fast moving object or loud noises, preferable an enclosed smaller space such as a backyard. Play with a cat wand. Do not attempt to "walk". Your goal is to give positive enforcement to going outside only. From here you will extend your outside adventures.
- Never allow a cat to walk out of a door even if on a harness, you do not want to teach a cat that walking out of a door will result in outside access.
Personally I use PETCO crystal cat litter as I am picky about never having a smell of "cat" in my house. Typically pet owners put clumping cat litter is put into a large storage tote, preferably the large or extra large size. The longer width, the better. We do not suggest lightweight tidy cat only because it gets everywhere and painfully clumps in-between toes.
Problems using a litterboxes are often a sign something is WRONG. Stemming from either inappropriate box size, box location, cleanliness of the box, litter type/feel on the foot, stress level, insecurity, dirty houses or even illness. Regardless of the cause you need to address the issue immediately to prevent on going issues and also the cats well being.
- Problem: Insecure animal trying to establish that they are wanted or dominating another animal (Including vermin).
- Solution: Put the box in socially important areas so your cat(s) can establish their scent. Provide high vertical space so the cat can get up above the action in your home. When giving this vertical space you also need to give an escape route if you have other cats they may pin a cat up high with no option to get away.
- HIDING BOXES
- Problem: Hiding the litter box due to oder or ascetics.
- Solution: Prevent confining smelly boxes by doing open top tubs. Put the box in socially important areas.
- DIRTY HABITS
- Problem: Dirty box. Imagine going to a public bathroom where some one pooped and didn't flush it...
- Solution: Cleaning the sides of boxes. Clean often. Give multiple boxes.
- SMALL BOXES
- Problem: Small boxes. Most pet stores offer 90% of boxes that are too small for any adult domestic cat.
- Solution: Bigger boxes. Multiple boxes. The box should be wide enough to turn around and long enough to poop twice without stepping in the poop. Get a large storage tub or plastic cement mixing pan as its cheaper and larger. Consider buying a pressure washer to speed up your cleaning time.
I am a clean freak so keep in mind I suggest products that work well and reduce the amount of work involved!
- Check your home for unseen stains that can result in marking.
- Brush out your cat 2-3 times a year, must have coming out of winter
- Natures Miracle to disinfect in/around litter-boxes weekly
- Peroxide Water for other jobs
The Cat Coach
Got a problem? Marilyn has the answer.
Marilyn Krieger, noted Certified Cat Behavior Consultant known as The Cat Coach, is an internationally recognized cat behavior specialist and award winning author. She offers on-site, Skype and Face Time consultation sessions throughout the world. Marilyn works directly with clients as well as through veterinarian referrals. Her intelligent, capable advice solves diverse behavior problems for all breeds of cats. Marilyn, a graduate of University of California, Davis and San Jose State University (MA), is certified through the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants. She is the former chair of the Cat Division and former member of the board of directors of the IAABC.