Savannah Cat Care

Addressing Behavior Issues
Nutrition and Feeding
Savannah Proofing Your Home
Quarantine and Acclimation
Veterinary Care 

Addressing Behavior Issues

General

A good rule to remember is not to let your new Savannah kitten do things you wouldn’t want a full grown cat to do.  Savannahs respond well to boundaries.  Teaching them acceptable behavior at a young age, is much easier than after poor habits are formed.  A humane way to reinforce good behavior is to use a squirt bottle while FIRMLY telling the kitten “NO.”  Repetition and consistency will be your keys to success.  Be patient, Savannahs are smart and will catch on rapidly.

Another method of teaching good habits and discipline is “scruffing” your kitten.  Mother cats carry their kittens by the “scruff” of the neck to remove them from danger and teach them boundaries.  Kittens naturally “go limp” when picked up by the scruff, so continuing to perform this natural method will not only help you communicate with the kitten in a language he/she already understands, but also provide you with yet another tool for better control during vet visits and the like.

Savannah kittens and cats have strong inquisitive personalities and it is possible at some point you may be challenged.  If you find you are at your wit’s end, don’t lose your cool with your obstinate child!  Resort to a short (10 minute) “time out,” using a small carrier (without a lot of room to move around in.)  Remember that Savannahs are extremely intelligent and if you are consistent in your disciplinary methods, your kitten will quickly determine that his time playing is interrupted each time he/she exhibits the offending behavior.

Litter Training

Your kitten has been litter box trained.  Here at The Kasbah, we use wood stove pellets instead of commercially manufactured litter.   It is hugely cost effective,  easy to clean and safe for young kittens because it doesn’t clump so is not harmful if ingested, like some products that can turn into cement in a young kitten’s lungs or intestines.

We recommend placing several small litter pans in various areas of your house until your kitten becomes very familiar with your home.  A dear friend once told me that a small kitten trying to find a litterbox in a new home is like a two-year-old child looking for the rest room in a museum.  You get the picture…

If your kitten loses his/her way and eliminates inappropriately (anywhere but IN the box), you should confine him/her to a smaller space with a clean litter box to reinforce good habits, and then over time, gradually allow the kitten more and more freedom, provided no accidents occur.

Biting

Kittens in general DO NOT understand that humans don’t respond to them like their litter mates, and initially, they may nip at you in affection or play.  It is VERY important to have a NO TOLERANCE policy to this behavior from the very start.  If your kitten bites you, DO NOT jerk away.  Instead, quickly push your finger INTO the kitten’s mouth,  activating the gag reflex, and thus forcing the kitten to spit your finger OUT.  It won’t take long for your kitten to learn that using you as a chew toy is NOT a pleasant experience.

 Nutrition and Feeding

All cats and kittens at The Kasbah eat high quality premium kibble.  your kitten will arrive home to you either eating Royal Canin “Baby Cat” or 4health™ All Stages Cat Formula (available though Tractor Supply Company).  Allow your kitten access to  so that he/she may free feed at any time We do advocate a raw diet, but realize that not all clients want to be bothered with the preparation and therefore, we leave this decision up to the Buyer.

It is very important to note that any sudden changes in diet can cause your new kitten to become very ill, particularly during the first month after arriving home.  In the event that you do elect to alter your kitten’s diet at any time, you must transition to the new food very slowly (over the course of 2-3 weeks), gradually adding more new food and reducing the amount of the regular food until the old diet is phased out completely. 

 

Savannah Proofing Your Home

Electrical Wires:

Be forewarned that kittens love to chew!  Please use extreme caution if your kitten plays near wires. If wires are a problem, treating them with Bitter Apple Spray will discourage this dangerous behavior.  Locate your circuit breaker box, so that in the event of an emergency, you can quickly cut the power.  If your kitten does bite through a wire and is experiencing electrical shock DO NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES touch the kitten or attempt to unplug the wire!  IMMEDIATELY shut off all electrical power and THEN rush your kitten to the nearest Emergency Hospital for veterinary care.

Safe Toys:

Toys are also a concern.  Young kittens can play with a variety of toys but as they begin to grow, sturdier toys must be provided for unsupervised play.  You will find that small dog toys are a safe and wise choice.  (We found out the hard way that the rubber “Kong” toys are not good choices, but Nyla Bone makes DuPont nylon products in a variety of shapes and sizes that cannot be chewed or ingested.)  The best play of all is interaction between owner and kitten.  Cat ticklers are a great way for your kitten to get exercise and bond with you.  Inspect all toys regularly and discard any that are broken or showing too much wear.

Mandatory Quarantine Period

Traveling and adjusting to a new home is very stressful on animals, and this holds particularly true for your new young kitten.

Although your kitten was thoroughly examined and certified healthy by our licensed Veterinarian prior to arriving at your home, we obviously cannot control events that may occur during transit; including exposure to other animals and other miscellaneous sanitary conditions.  Therefore, despite our best precautions, there is always a small chance that he/she may not arrive on your end in the same perfect health.  Because of this risk, we require you to have your kitten thoroughly re-examined (including fecal testing) by your Veterinarian within 72 hours of arrival.

In a further effort to minimize the risk of illness to your new kitten (or other animals in your home), we also require a mandatory quarantine period of at least 2 weeks, prior to introducing your new arrival to the other pets in your family.  In addition to reducing health risks, this adjustment period also affords your kitten the chance to bond with you before meeting the other animals in your home and helps reinforce positive litter habits.

 

Veterinary CareVaccines:

 

Your kitten must receive annual routine Veterinary Care which includes the administration of vaccines under most State, City and County ordinances.  Make absolutely certain any vaccine administered to your Savannah Cat is KILLED VIRUS ONLY.  Failure to inform your Veterinarian of this requirement could result in an adverse reaction or possibly even death.  Also please DO NOT vaccinate for FELV (Feline Leukemia Virus) or FIP (Feline Infectious Peritonitis) as it has been reported these vaccines either have very bad side effects or may even predispose cats to contract the very diseases they are purported to prevent.

Anesthesia:

Some traditional methods of anesthesia can cause harmful reactions in Savannah Cats.  Instruct your veterinarian to use isoflurane Gas.  NEVER allow your veterinarian to administer a preoperative “cocktail” containing Ketamine to your Savannah Cat.

Claw Removal:

We at The Kasbah realize that living in harmony with your new pet may require removing his/her claws.  There are several surgical procedures available to accomplish this objective and it is important to understand the differences between De-Clawing,  Tendonectomy and Claw Removal.

  • De-Clawing:  Regardless of whether the surgery is done with a scalpel or a laser, this procedure amputates the first digit of the toes.  If that is not enough to deter you, consider the additional risks.  Cats subjected to the surgery frequently develop joint issues later in life and post surgery must adjust their center of balance.  Placing more weight onto their heels causes additional and unnecessary strain to their joints.  HIGH RISK.  NOT RECOMMENDED.
  • Tendonectomy:  Severs the tendons which control use of the claws.  Claws must still be clipped and can frequently catch on things and rip out if not fastidiously maintained.  Post-surgical risks include loss of use of the toes and feet.  HIGH RISK.  NOT RECOMMENDED.
  • Claw Removal:  Involves making a tiny incision in each toe and removing the claw ONLY.  Recovery is speedy and although there is a small risk of the claw growing back, this is more common in animals with very thick claws and is not frequently observed in cats.  The ONLY method RECOMMENDED by The Kasbah.

Blockages:

In rare cases, despite your best precautions, your kitten may ingest something harmful which can cause a life threatening emergency.  If you think your kitten has eaten something harmful that may create a blockage, seek medical attention from your Veterinarian immediately.

Poison Control Hotline:

If you believe your cat has ingested a poisonous substance, contact the National Poison Control Hotline at (888) 232-8870.  The cost of this service is billed on a per incident basis ($35.00 the last time we checked) and must be billed to a credit card at the time of consultation.  Be absolutely certain to write down your case number, as your veterinarian will require this information in the event any specifics require verification prior to administering treatment.

Human Foods Which Cats Can’t Eat

National Animal Poison Control Center

Cornell University’s Common Cat Toxicities

Cornell University‘s Poisonous Plants Informational Database

Medical Treatment Authorization Form

 

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