Guide to successfully introducing your kitten to their new home. * this info is specifically for Spotitude F4 kittens litter DOB 11/13/21
MEETING YOUR NEW KITTEN
Meeting your kitten for the first time, don’t be disappointed if your kitten does not immediately jump into your lap, most do not. Kittens are busy in the their own world doing very important kitten things with other kittens. You will have to distract them into playing with you – a wand toy works well for getting and holding their attention. The key is to spend time playing with them, sit on the floor with them at their level, let them sniff you and get to know you, persistently play with them, make it so that you’re so much fun to play with that they just can’t resist. (Update: Turns out after our last few guests that this process now takes about 2 minutes.)
THE RIDE HOME
Your kitten is used to riding, sleeping and playing in the cat carrier, so traveling should go fairly smoothly. There may be a bit of crying, that is normal, but usually they fall asleep quickly. It’s ok to take the kitten out of the carrier to sit on a passenger’s lap but do not let the kitten explore around the vehicle as you don’t want them to end up either under the seat or under the brake pedal, which (lesson learned) is exactly where they’ll head off to.
No need for food, water or a litter box while traveling they never eat or use the box when they’re in the car. Let me know what time you plan to arrive for pick up so I can feed them early leaving them sufficient time to use the litter box.
Bring a cat carrier with you or let me know well in advance if you want me to provide one for you.
It takes a kitten a few weeks to settle into their new home, this is normal. Patience is key, every kitten is different just go at their pace. Setup a smaller kitten proof room ie: a master bedroom works well. The kitten should be quarantined to this room for a week or two so that they can adjust without becoming overwhelmed, get to know you without alot of distractions and so they can maintain good litter box habits.
Make it a room where they can spend time getting to know you and bond with you. A smaller room is better, too big a space or being allowed to free range the entire house will quickly overwhelm the kitten. This can lead to them becoming frightened by the new sights, smells, sounds, or hiding or not using the litter box appropriately because they forgot where it was etc. Again a smaller space is much more comforting ie: this is why you’ll often see cats sleeping in small cardboard boxes.
After the kitten has gotten to know you and is confident in your presence, eating, playing, jumping on your lap and using their litter box then you can bring them out to explore the rest of the house. Go exploring together like you’re both on a big adventure, bring along a wand toy for them to follow, then bring them back to their safe room and the litter box. This helps establish trust that you will lead them back to safety.
INTRODUCING OTHER PETS
If you have other pets, cats or dogs, you will want to initially limit their interactions. Let them get to know one another by sniffing through the door. Slow introductions work more successfully than just putting them together (unless they’re both young kittens). Older adult cats usually take awhile to warm up to a new kitten, it depends on the cat but it can take days to several weeks or even months. Be sure to give your older cat more attention so they don’t get jealous. Expect it to take awhile and for hissing and swatting at one another to occur, this is perfectly normal cat behavior. They’ll need to work out who’s in charge. Giving more attention to the older pet will help the little guy fall in line and ultimately feel more secure.
Introduce them slowly at a distance and watch how it goes, give each cat their own private space to retreat back to. Have each cats food dishes and litterboxes seperate from the other ones so no one is guarding the food, water or litter box. Swap their bedding or a blanket with their scent on it every couple days so they can get used to one anothers scent. If they get along immediately that’s great, but keep access to their seperate spaces anyways as attitudes can change.
With dogs, it really depends on the dog, of course a barking or a hyperactive dog will overwhelm a kitten, just keep an eye on them, take the kitten back to their safe room if it’s too much. Give the kitten a tall climbing post to get away to safety if it feels threatened but still wants to check the doggo out. For the initial introductions try leashing the dog so the kitten can cautiously approach and sniff without fear of being chased. The kittens grew up with and are used to playing with our dog Abilene.
Please feed exactly what they have already been eating for the first month. The reason is a change in food is very stressful on a little kittens tummy, even if they love and devour the new food, rapid food changes in kittens can result in an upset tummy and sometimes either vomiting or diarrhea. It also can make for a finicky cat that won’t try anything new because it got a stomach ache last time.
CHANGE FOODS SLOOOOOOWLY
When introducing new food (dry or canned) you will want to slowly mix in more and more of the new food with less and less of the old food. Ideally this process should take 7-10 days so plan ahead.
Fresh water should be available at all times day and night. We are on a well, so our drinking water is filtered but not chlorinated. If you have city water the chlorine smell may take a bit for the kitten to get used to. If so, mix bottled water with the tap water until they’re used to it.
Cat water fountains are a Savannah favorite.
Dry food should be available at all times.
The kittens are eating the following brands of dry food, I give them all 3 brands at once in 3 separate dishes so they are used to a variety. Choose one or more and do not change it.
Purina Pro Plan Kitten Chicken and Egg this one is their favorite plus it’s the highest in protein. Get the chicken and egg vs the chicken and rice – it’s hard to find in the pet stores but Chewy.com has it.
Earthborn Holistics Primitive Feline they like this one alot as well, overall it’s their 2nd favorite, it’s their moms favorite. This one’s good for long term as it’s high in protein but suitable for them as adults as well. From Chewy.com – haven’t seen it in any pet stores in awhile.
Wellness Kitten they eat it but it’s not their favorite, I have a large bag of it so it’s out there getting nibbled on. This can be found in most pet stores Petco, Petsmart or Chewy.com
The kittens currently are eating canned food 3 or 4 times a day in small portions, but 2 times a day is fine. I vary the times everyday so they’re not set in a specific routine.
Feed as much as they will eat at a time before they wander off. Kittens don’t really overeat so don’t worry about overfeeding them. This amount should increase over time as they grow.
Wellness Chicken or Wellness Turkey this comes in smaller 5.5 oz cans as well. This can be found in most pet stores Petco, Petsmart or Chewy.com. Refrigerate the uneaten food, you can heat it up in the microwave for about 10 secs. but they’ll eat it cold from the fridge as well.
I have been mixing unseasoned cooked shredded chicken into the canned food for added protein not absolutely necessary but it is a nice treat for them.
The kittens are additionally fed cooked scrambled eggs or unseasoned cooked chicken or turkey, chicken gizzards, hearts or livers. Occassional beef or seafood is ok as well but it’s not ideal for cats. Do not feed raw eggs, raw hamburger or whole chicken bones (both raw and cooked bones splinter). It’s best to feed these extra meat treats after they eat their regular canned or mix it in really good so they don’t get fussy and only want to eat the chicken.
If you are interested in feeding what’s referred to as a “raw diet” aka, a “prepare it from scratch yourself diet”, let me know so I can point you to the correct recipes. Preparing cat food is a bit tricky, there’s alot to know about the proper ratios of meats and nutrients – a raw diet is much more than giving them a raw chicken leg. Numerous and serious health problems can arise from improper homemade diets.
Vets are very much against feeding a raw diet as they typically only see the raw diet gone wrong folks and the ensuing health problems. I kinda agree that it is not a great option for pet owners as it’s very expensive if you purchase it premade. If making it from scratch usually it’s made in a large batch 25 or 50lbs at a time and frozen for individual servings. It’s a bit challenging to source all the organ meats and supplements, it’s very time consuming to prepare, you have to follow the recipe very precisely, you’ll need a meat grinder and you’ll have to mix it properly so the ingredients are evenly distributed in every bite. Also after going thru all the trouble you may find your cat won’t even touch it.
On the other hand, Serval owners have to feed their cats a raw diet so they are among the better educated and a wonderful resource regarding the correct recipes. Some Savannah owners swear by the raw diet but it’s not a necessity, normal nutritionally complete high protein cat food is fine.
Dry food should be 36% or higher protein. Canned food should be 10% or higher protein.
Tall climbing towers are a must – Savannahs love climbing so taller the better!
Cat beds. The fluffy grey bed in the picture is a favorite of all the cats, it’s usually the one they all choose to sleep in. Shop around as the same exact bed is sold in every price range.
Cat wheel They’ve all been playing on the Onefastcat wheel www.OneFastCat.com I do recommend getting one as Savannahs are very high energy and need alot of exercise. The kittens have all been playing on it since they were about 5 weeks old.
I sometimes find that some cats are more interested in playing with their humans when they are around and playing on the wheel when everyone’s gone and they’re bored – which really is the point of it. Meanwhile other cats will wait for you so they can run and show off for you.
Kittens and cats for that matter need to feel safe and secure before they run on the wheel so don’t be disappointed if your kitten doesn’t run on it for you right away.
Ziggydo Ferriswheel is another popular brand of cat wheel, it is a bit sturdier but is much more expensive.
Cat tunnels – a kitten favorite!
Wand toys – an absolute Savannah favorite, ideal for directing them to where you want them to go, I would recommend picking them up when you’re done playing so they do not accidentally wrap up in the cord or gut the toy at the end as this kind of a toy triggers a high predatory instinct in cats (ie: it’s like bird hunting and birds are tasty).
Regular stuffed toys – Word of caution – it is very important to remember to check their toys, repair or toss out ripped toys. Many a Savannah has gotten over zealous in playing and ingested the stuffing. This can be a huge problem – if they don’t throw up the stuffing it can lead to a blockage in the intestines and a scary and expensive surgery to remove it.
I have one Savannah that simply cannot have stuffed toys at all as she guts them and eats the stuffing every time. It usually takes a nerve wracking day or 2 for her to vomit the stuffing back up. The rest of my Savannahs never do this, so fortunately most all cats are not like this but do keep it in mind. Btw this is not specifically a Savannah trait, eating stuff they shouldn’t can happen with any dog or cat.
LITTER & BOXES
Kittens start off on a pine pellet litter and eventually transition to a clumping litter as well.
We use a wide variety of scented and unscented clumping litters specifically so they are used to many different kinds. We use the brands sold at Costco or Walmart.
I do not recommend the silica based or corn cob based litters for kittens. Kittens tend to lick all things including litter (which is why they’re started out on the pine pellets instead of the clumping clay litter) I tried the corn cob one once and a few kittens were devouring it (yuck!) Also I thought the silica and corn cob ones were rather messy and tracked easily around the house.
If you’re wanting to use a litter robot also get a regular litter pan as they are not used to the robot one.
For the actual litter box they use – it is an extra large sized normal low sided box from Walmart.
For our adult Savannahs they use large plastic totes as it helps keep the litter contained better.
An odd question that people often ask is yes some kittens “cry” when in the box just to tell everyone where they’re at I guess.
Also alot of Savannahs stand up (rather than sit or squat) when they use the box (you’ll know what I mean if you see it) – lol, not going to post that pic.
Savannahs require the same veterinary care as domestic cats, they do not need an exotic vet. They get the normal vaccinations. Because of their height vets often judge them to weigh more than they do, so make sure they get weighed at their vet visits. Vets unfamiliar with Savannahs may remark that they appear lean or skinny but tall and lean is infact the breed standard.
Savannahs should not be given the pre-surgery pre-anethesia sedative Ketamine. Nearly no vets use this sedative anymore as there are better options. The main issue with Ketamine is there is no reversal agent should a negative side effect occur. Many owners have reported problems with Ketamine and their Servals & Savannahs. Here’s more info on Ketamine from the Savannah Cat Association.
The kittens are dewormed at 2, 4 & 6 weeks with pyrantel pamoate and 9 & 12 weeks with Drontal. You will not need to deworm them any further unless a vet advises you to. Vets usually give a round of dewormer with their yearly shots. Your vet may advise you to bring in a sample for testing but I would say it’s optional and not immediately necessary due to them just receiving the 2 doses of Drontal dewormer.
The kittens receive FVRCP vaccinations at 9 & 12 weeks and a 1 year rabies vaccination at around 12 weeks.
Their 1st FVRCP shot was
given on 01/15/22.
Their 2nd FVRCP shot was
given on 02/04/22
Their rabies shot was
given on 02/05/22
I give the FVRCP shots myself, as do most breeders, as we don’t want to risk bring unvaccinated kittens to the vet. The shots are overnighted to me on ice from Valleyvet.com and refrigerated before use.
The kittens will be given their rabies shot at their 12 week vet check appointment. You will get a copy of that paperwork.
Their vet check appointment
February 1st (at 11½ weeks of age) Their yearly rabies shot is scheduled for February 5th (at 12 weeks of age)
An additional FVRCP shot should be done at about 16 weeks (March 5, 2022).
A rabies shot and an FVRCP shot will be due again in one year
(on about February 1, 2023).
Flea treatment (only if needed) the kittens will be given Revolution topical flea drops which lasts for 30 days, so if you want to continue using you would need to wait 30 days so you don’t overdose them. Ask me for the exact date.
The kitten will be microchipped. I will scan the microchip when you pickup your kitten so you can personally verify the microchip number. The microchip number will be on your kittens TICA registration paperwork. You will need to register the microchip yourself with your contact info at www.foundanimals.org. It is completely free. Be sure to update your contact info should you move or change phone #’s.
Do this early don’t wait. Some vets will advise you to wait until 6 months, but younger is fine in most all circumstances. For example shelter kittens are fixed at 8-12 weeks of age. Personally I think that’s a bit young but 16 -22 weeks is a reasonable age range. Getting a cat fixed early is actually believed to make them grow larger. Early neutering delays closure of the bone growth plates making for a slightly taller cat. Also the younger they are fixed, the quicker they recover and get back to playing!
Occassionally I have people who want to not spay and wait and see if they want to breed them later. This is not a good idea. A breeding cat is a different animal with a hormonally driven demeanor vs. a spayed pet. If you’re thinking about breeding, there’s so many things to learn. Nothing is ever as easy as it seems on the surface. I won’t go into details here, there’s numerous books and websites on the subject that detail what’s involved, if you are truly interested in breeding I’d be happy to discuss it further.
The most important thing to know regarding breeding is that unfixed cats (of any breed) both male and female hormonally mark their territory to attract a mate. The marking smell is stronger than normal cat urine. Female cats can go into heat starting as young as 4 months of age but more typically 6+ months. Females can get pregnant at their 1st heat. Once adult cats begin hormonally marking, it quickly becomes a repetitive behavior that may or may not stop a few months after they are fixed.
Additionally unfixed cats make alot of LOUD insistent catterwauling noise all day and all night long (this would be the first sign a female kitten is in heat or a sign that your male is sexually maturing and will soon begin territorial marking).
Affordable Spay Neuter clinics
Your kitten can be fixed at your regular vet (more expensive) or there are low cost spay/neuter clinics throughout the US, fees at these clinics are usually less than $100. If you are local near San Luis Obispo or Atascadero – Woods Humane Society has low cost spay neuter clinic for $50.
Plan ahead, as they’re usually very busy and you’ll probably have to make an appointment many months in advance. Fees at the clinics are lower because they are subsidized by grants and animal charities. They are a fine option as they do many surgery’s a day so they are very experienced. They do not include pre surgery bloodwork, a cone or pain medication, none of which is usually necessary. If you did want to do pre-surgery bloodwork you could arrange for your regular vet to do it in advance of going to the spay/neuter clinic. A “cone of shame” doesn’t really work to well with a Savannah.
The main issue with Savannahs getting fixed is in keeping them calm and not jumping around afterwards, confining them to a small room for a few days is usually best. For this reason, I usually advise against the pain killer option as it turns them into super cats leaping thru the air in a single bound. (Of course talk to your vet and use your own best judgement with this). Males neutering is about a 10 min procedure, the rest of the day they are monitored by vet, and is not very memorable for them. The female spay is a bit more complicated, (perhaps pain med may be appropriate – ask your vet) but I’ve personally not given them to the girls and they’ve been ok.
Their nails should be trimmed anytime you feel they’re getting long. Kittens nails grow very fast, I usually trim them about every 2 weeks. The kittens are used to it – don’t let them tell you otherwise. Regular nail clippers work fine. Wrap them up in a thick blanket like a purrito burrito if necessary. Watch out for their nail “quick”. If you cut the quick use a styptic stick to stop the bleeding.
Do not declaw it is cruel and horribly painful for the cat. It is an amputation of the last knuckle of the cats feet. Typically the pain from declawing manifests in biting (because they feel defenseless from lack of claws) and litterbox aversion because their feet are in pain and pawing at the litter hurts.
Cat scratches (on people) should be treated with an antibiotic ointment cream to prevent an infection. Cat scratch fever is real.
If you’re concerned about your cat scratching – cut its nails. If you’re worried it will claw something it shouldn’t the answer is simple, put a sisal rope type scratching post next to it and praise them for using it. I’ve had both leather sofas and an over abundance of cats & kittens climbing on them without scratching them at all, but I also have alot of scratching posts…
Cats don’t really need baths unless they get into something. Some Savannahs absolutely love water, some don’t. Either way, you giving them a bath is probably not going to be their favorite thing – so be sure to trim their claws first. Some Savannahs love to get in the shower, which is a bit easier than a bath.
Savannahs are an intelligent, naturally active and curious cat, and they are a bit notorious for their savandalism antics. You will need to kitten proof your home just like you would toddler proof a home, with a toddler that can climb to any height that is. Keep in mind you may need to make adjustments to accommodate their adventures, it’s just the way it is, observe and adjust if necessary.
Things to watch out for:
Random objects that can fit in their mouth. Ie: hair ties, rubber bands, power cords, pen caps, paper clips, small children’s toys.
Drawers and doors they can open
Open windows with screens they can break thru
Open doors they can wander out
Appliances they can climb in
Mini blind cords
Faucets they can turn on (remove the drain plugs)
Chandeliers they can swing from
the list goes on…
Savannahs are not indoor/outdoor cats. Their high energy plus curious nature tends to lead to trouble. Simply put if they get out odds are they will not readily return. Same as with many types of dogs they should not be left unattended outdoors.
Leash walking is a great option for outdoor time, but be warned it will become a habit that they will insist upon. A cat harness or xsmall dog harness works fine. It takes them a few weeks to get the hang of it. Initially when putting on a harness they will just flop around on the ground until they get used to it. Do not let them learn they can wiggle out of it. Immediately taking them outside for their 1st walk is a bit overwhelming, so start by safely practicing indoors with them walking while chasing a wand toy. Once they confidently walk along side you you’re ready to head outdoors. Make the first few outdoor walks short like just around your yard and bring along a cat carrier just in case, if they get scared put them in the carrier so they can observe the threat and get over it. After a handful of walks they become unstoppable leash walking pros.
Alot of Savannah owners make catios for a safe outdoor experience. A catio can be as simple as a dog kennel with a secure roof and flooring so they can’t dig under. It really seems to make a huge difference in their attitude and well being. My cats spend most of their day out in the catios watching the bird feeder.
I’m always available to help. Text or call with regular questions.
If it’s an emergency call and keep calling until I answer. Anytime is fine.