SAVANNAH CAT CARE
Bringing Home Your Savannah Kitten
At Wild Tafari, we believe in giving our Savannah kittens loving human interaction early on in their lives from the time they are born and nursing their mothers, until they leave our home, giving kittens the best of both worlds, which in addition, also allows the kittens to learn essential behaviors and proper hygiene from their mothers. This initial socialization, handling, and positive human contact from a very young age, shapes each of our Savannahs into well-rounded kittens that are ready to move on to their new homes and become amazing personal and family companions. Once each Savannah kitten has begun their new life, it is up to you as their new adoptive family to maintain the positive interaction with people and socialization we have begun in our home and form a relationship with your kitten that will further shape their lifetime behaviors.
From the time you adopt your Savannah kitten to the time your new baby comes home can feel like a lifetime, however, by spending the time preparing your home for your kittens' arrival will allow you to help make your kittens' transition as smooth as possible. To help you transition your Savannah kitten from our home to yours, which is a completely new, unfamiliar environment, you will find tips and instructions below to help ease the conversion. Once you adopt, we will also provide you with our Kitten Care PDF that contains additional information, and of course we are always here to answer any questions you may have before and after the adoption of your Savannah kitten.
Preparing for Arrival and Kittenproofing
Because your new Savannah kitten will be coming home to a new environment that has never before been seen, to keep your kitten from being overwhelmed we recommend that you prepare a small room initially where your kitten cannot hide under anything, such as in a spare bathroom, or the master bathroom off of your master bedroom. Your kittens’ food, water, and litter box, as well as other recommend essentials listed further below, should be readily accessible. Once your kitten becomes comfortable in their small room, you can slowly allow him or her to access more of your home, such as the master bedroom off of your kitten’s bathroom. As you allow your Savannah kitten to have full run of your home, keeping extra litter boxes throughout is recommended to prevent any accidents for the first couple of months.
Your home should be kittenproofed for your Savannah kittens’ arrival much as it would be for a human child in the crawling stage of life. Savannahs are an inquisitive, high energy hybrid cat that love to play and household or personal items can often be mistaken for toys. With that being said, it is imperative to provide a variety of stimulation for your Savannah kitten by offering appropriate toys and/or playmates, which discourages unwanted behavior when allowing ample daily playtime.
Tips for Kittenproofing before your Savannah Kittens' Arrival
• Hide any plastic bags, including grocery bags, that are chewable and can easily cause intestinal blockage. Remove small objects such as chewable rubber toys, plastic wrap, ribbons, string, small plastic objects, etc. Check toys on a regular basis for wear and breakage.
• Heavy objects, vases, and other valuable belongings should be removed or placed in an area where your Savannah kitten will not be injured and your possessions will be secure.
• Be sure to keep toilet lids closed and do not allow your kitten near a bathtub or sink filled with water. A kitten could easily be over his or her head in a quick leap.
• When using rocking chairs or loungers, care should be taken so as to not hurt your kitten, and never allow your kitten near a hot stove surface.
• All small crawl spaces should be blocked off, including floor vents. Your curious kitten will quickly find these spaces and want to explore, possibly getting caught where you may not be able to reach them.
• Carefully open and close all doors, including refrigerators, freezers, washers and dryers, being mindful at all times of where your kitten is in your home.
• Lock up medications, cleaning products, and any poisons so that they cannot be ingested.
• Supervise other pets, such as dogs, during the introduction period and never allow unsupervised playtime until you are 100% comfortable and secure in their relationship and that no harm will come to your Savannah, preferably after your kitten has become much older.
Electrical Cords and Dangerous Plants
Savannah kittens, like their wild ancestor the African Serval, love to chew. They are usually attracted to cords for a while once they begin to explore the house. This is typically a phase that kittens go through while teething, and can quickly be discouraged by wiping or spraying “Bitter Apple” or vinegar on the cords. It may be necessary to reapply more than once weekly. In the event your kitten bites through a wire, you should know where your circuit breaker box is located to immediately cut the power. If this happens, do not touch the kitten or try to unplug the wire until the power is cut. Once this has been done rush your kitten to the nearest emergency veterinarian clinic.
One of the most common household hazards are poisonous plants. Some curious Savannah kittens look to plants as if they are toys. Be sure that your plants are non-toxic and do not allow your kitten to chew on your plants. Some common plants are African violets, azaleas, orleander, lilies, and many more. If in doubt, remove all plants from the room(s) that your kitten will be accessing in your home.
Savannah Kitten Essentials
• Litter box
• Non-clumping litter
• Food and water bowls
• Kitten food (only as recommended)
• Appropriate toys
• Comfortable bed and blanket
• Scratching posts
Litter Box Habits and Litter
Our Savannah kittens learn good hygiene habits from their mothers at a young age, and once this skill is learned, kittens are quite consistent in maintaining good litter box hygiene. At Wild Tafari, our kittens are fully litter box trained before they are sent home to their new families. We, along with cat experts, recommend that you have at least one litter box per cat, including one extra. By placing several small litter boxes around your home until your kitten becomes familiar with the layout his or herself, you minimize any accidents from happening. We prefer the Clevercat Top Entry litter box which has a lid with a hole. Each of our Savannah cats and Savannah kittens use it, and it keeps the litter from being knocked outside of the box and making a mess.
We prefer to use a pelleted pine litter. Unlike most clay litters on the market, it has a different (and pleasant!) scent and texture, is non-clumping, and there is very little to no odor as it absorbs the ammonia within the urine. It can be purchased at your local pet store (Feline Pine), or you can go to your local Tractor Supply or farm store and purchase it much more inexpensively as it is labeled as pelleted horse bedding. It is the exact same thing, but you can get much more product for your money. Your choice!
Once your Savannah kitten arrives home, have his or her litter box prepared with the same pine pelleted litter your kitten has been used to for the first several weeks of their life. If you choose to change to a non-clumping clay litter, do so gradually after your kitten has been home for at least a week, when you can then gradually mix the pelleted litter with your choice of clay litter to transition your kitten.
Savannah Kitten Diet
When your kitten arrives home, you should be feeding your Savannah kitten in accordance with the diet that they have been raised upon and the foods that they are used to. If you decide to change your kittens' food, you should NEVER change their diet suddenly, but rather very gradually transition your Savannah kitten to his or her new food over the course of at least a couple of weeks to minimize any tummy upset or diarrhea which could then lead to more serious problems such as dehydration.
Our Savannah kittens will start nibbling at their mothers' wet food anytime from around 4 weeks to 6 weeks of age. We never rush to wean our kittens, but rather allow them to do so at their own pace. As the kittens start showing more interest in wet food, we give them more until they are eating it very well and at each meal. They also have access to their mothers' dry food from which they can free feed at any time.
Upon bringing your Savannah kitten home, we recommend continuing to give wet food to your kitten twice a day for several weeks, or months, after they arrive to your home and also leaving dry food at all times. Some kittens eating more dry food than others at different stages in their growth. When your Savannah kitten first arrives home, they will usually eat a quarter to half of a can of food per feeding. If they devour it within a couple of minutes, you can offer your kitten more. As they grow, increase their portions at each meal. If you plan to change to another brand of wet food, it is imperative that you do so gradually, mixing it with their original wet food at an increasing rate to allow for a smoother transition for your kitten. Also, if you plan to change your Savannah kittens’ dry food, be sure that it is a high quality dry food that is high in protein, grain free, and has a source of protein as the main ingredient and not corn or another grain as a main ingredient.
Our adult Savannah cats are fed a high quality, high protein dry food diet called Taste of the Wild Rocky Mountain feline formula made with real roasted venison and smoked salmon. It provides a minimum of 42% protein and is a grain-free formula supplemented with fruits and vegetables, providing natural antioxidants to support a healthy immune system and overall good health. Our Savannahs devour it! It can be purchased at select pet stores as well as Tractor Supply stores.
Savannah Cat and Kitten Appropriate Toys
You might be surprised at how quickly a toy will meet its demise under the wrath of a playful Savannah kitten! Savannah cats and kittens are very active and playful. As Savannah kittens love to chew, they can be very destructive to their toys and should be given appropriate toys to chew on. There are two types of toys to purchase for your Savannah kitten. The first would be interactive toys that you can use with your kitten such as feather teaser toys, though they should never be left alone with your Savannah for safety reasons. The second type of toys that should be purchased are toys that can safely be given to your kitten to play with on his or her own which would not have parts that could easily be chewed off and digested.
Toys that are Safe for Your Savannah Kitten
• Paper bags, crumpled paper, cardboard boxes
• Tennis balls (small with bells or an inside rattle are a favorite)
• Stuffed animals sturdily designed for heavy chewing dogs
• Cat teaser toys with feathers (supervision required)
• Nyla Bone, dupont nylon products (cannot be chewed an ingested)
Toys to Avoid Giving Your Savannah Kitten
• String, cords or ribbon
• Small foam balls
• Stuffed toys with pieces easily pulled or chewed off such as eyes or a nose
• Feathered toys which should be kept for supervised play only
** REMEMBER TO SUPERVISE YOUR KITTEN AT ALL TIMES IF IN DOUBT ABOUT A TOYS' SAFETY! **
Bedding for Your Savannah Kitten
Your Savannah kitten has been used to being with his or her siblings from birth, constantly having companions to play, eat and sleep with at all times. When you bring your Savannah kitten home, be sure to have a plush, cozy bed, with a soft blanket as well if you prefer, that your kitten can snuggle into. After all, they have been used to staying nice and toasty next to their siblings, and this will help your Savannah kitten to keep warm as well as with their transition to being in a new home. Of course, better than this would be having a second Savannah kitten to keep one another company!
Scratching Post Placement
In general, cats love to scratch. It helps to remove the outer part of their nails, and also to stretch their spine and muscles. Sisal rope posts tend to be a favorite to Savannah cats and also gives your Savannah kitten an alternative to scratching on a carpeted cat post which looks very similar to a carpeted floor in a home. Savannah kittens like to stretch and scratch after napping and eating, therefore we recommend placing their scratching posts a couple of feet from where their bed lies and/or where their food bowls are.
Your Savannah Kittens' Arrival
When your Savannah kitten arrives, be sure to leave them in their pet carrier until you arrive home. Once home, you will want to take your kitten to the room you have prepared for their arrival and allow your kitten to come out of their pet carrier on their own. Some kittens will immediately come out once the door is opened, while others are initially a tad more shy and may require a bit of coaxing. A feather teaser toy is a great way to lure your kitten out of their carrier to begin exploring their new room. You will want to gently place your Savannah kitten into the litter box, and also show your kitten the location of their food and water bowls, offering your kitten some wet food as well. If your kitten does not immediately come out of their pet carrier, it's ok! Your kitten's entire world has just been changed. Simply leave them be, give them some quiet time to relax, explore, eat, drink and relieve themselves before reentering their room.