It is very important to know how to take care of your Savannah cat and Moonlight Savannahs is here to help you with the process.
Moonlight Savannahs has provided an extensive list of instructions here to help you make sure that your cat has an amazing home.
Keep reading to learn more about our tips for taking care of your new Savannah cat! Please contact us if you have any additional questions.
Proper Savannah Cat Care
Dry cat food is a staple for all cats. Your savannah should be fed a high-quality grain free/ gluten free dry food. All cats are obligate carnivores, and cannot digest these items. A high quality and high protein food will leave your cat with small solid waste in the litter box and they will have easy digestion without gaining excessive weight. While canned food is not necessary for adult cats, if you choose to use it be careful not to over-feed your precious cat. If you decide to feed your savannah a different food than what it is used to, please make the change a gradual one in order to avoid upset stomach in your cat.
Young kittens will benefit from a high-quality, high protein canned food at least once per day in an amount appropriate for his/her size. They will need this extra protein as they are growing. They should also always have access to their dry food and always have access to their water bowl. After arriving in your home, your young kitten should be given one quarter of a 5-ounce can of wet food per day, or one half of a 3-ounce can. You may gradually transition them to dry food by mixing in some dry food with the wet. Cats will convert to dry food at different rates. Dry cat food is generally more nutritious for your cat in the long run, since wet cat food contains a high percentage of water.
Moonlight Savannahs will be happy to provide recommendations on cat food. Enrichment
Your savannah cat will soon grow very attached to you and your family, demanding lots of attention. They are known for having a dog-like personality and seem to have boundless energy; they may even play fetch with you. They love to play and chase feather wands or jump after small toy animals on a string. Your savannah may even enjoy playing in water. Savannahs are very intelligent and often learn how to open doors and drawers and can get into quite a bit of mischief if left to their own devices. Some owners find it beneficial to “child-proof” the home so your kitten or cat doesn’t get into too much trouble. You should monitor your cat’s toys to make sure there are no small pieces they can chew off and swallow. For example small bells or string if swallowed can cause intestinal blockage in your cat.
Savannahs can jump rather high, typically 6-7 feet and you may find they like to be atop the highest piece of furniture they can get to, such as a bookshelf or the refrigerator. Savannah cats love to play and run around the house so you may have to put fragile items where they cannot knock them over. If you will be absent from home for several hours each day (such as for a job) you may want to consider a playmate for your new cat.
Savannahs will enjoy going for walks with you also, but should only do so with a proper walking jacket and leash. Savannah cats should never be allowed to roam freely outdoors. They may not return to you. Savannahs will enjoy outdoor time but their access to the outdoors should be in an appropriately-sized and enclosed pen.
Your savannah kitten does not require specialized vet care above what any other cat would need. However. There may be a few minor differences to consider. The most significant difference is a hybrid cat’s reaction to anesthesia. Some hybrids may have adverse reactions to injectable forms of anesthetics and therefore should have gas-anesthesia instead. Therefore, ketamine should not be used if your cat requires a procedure done with anesthesia. When you pick up your new baby, he/she will be up-to-date on all age-appropriate vaccines, wormed, and will have had an FeLV and FIV test (also called a SNAP test). You will be given a certified health certificate from my veterinarian.
Savannah cats like their litter boxes to be clean and may even prefer to have two. It is usually a good rule-of-thumb to have one box more than the number of cats you have. Most savannah breeders typically use a pine pellet litter instead of clumping litter. If you plan on using a litter other than what your new kitten is accustomed to, making the transition gradually will help to prevent “accidents.” Once your kitten starts to explore the entire house, it may be a good idea to put one or two additional litter boxes in a couple of places at first until your kitten is completely used to your home. At Moonlight Savannahs, we use Feline Pine, which is a pelleted pine litter with a different scent and texture than clumping litter. Moonlight Savannahs will provide you with a small bag of this litter when you pick up your kitten. If you decide to use clumping litter, wait one week and then start mixing in the clumping litter with the pine to make it easy on kitty to convert to the new litter. Once your new kitten is completely comfortable and familiar with your home, you can remove any excess litter boxes. However, it is still recommended by most breeders to have one additional litter box over the number of cats in your home.
Clay litter is very dusty and many breeders feel that it is not safe for our cats. It is well-known that cats and kittens constantly clean themselves and will ingest litter that is on their body. This may eventually cause intestinal blockage as the litter can clump within kitty’s digestive tract. A cat can also breathe in the dust of clumping litter, which may cause respiratory problems.
Hybrid cats in particular are very high-energy and extremely curious. They want to explore everything and will try to get into things you might not want them to. This is especially true of young kittens. From the first day you bring your new baby home, you will want to keep him/her away from any plastic bags, including grocery bags, as these can be irresistible “toys.” These items can be chewed and swallowed which may cause intestinal blockage. Remove all very small objects including, rubberbands, hair “ponies,”tapes, plastic wrappings, cellophane wraps, ribbons, string, and yarn. You should also frequently check kitty’s toys to make sure they are not overly worn or broken, if they are then they should be replaced.
Make sure kitty cannot access any medications, household cleaners, and known poisons. These can all be fatal to cats. See our section on toxic plants.
Objects such as vases, glass items, jewelry, and other valuables should be placed in areas where your savannah cannot get to them. Toilet lids should be kept closed. Sinks and tubs should not be full of water when your savannah is near. Especially when still a kitten. It is common for savannahs to enjoy playing with and in water, but if this is the case, make sure it is not too deep for him/her to handle.
Care should also be taken with rocking chairs, electric/mechanical lounge chairs, and hot stoves. You will want to be sure all small spaces that kitty can sneak into are inaccessible to him/her, including floor vents. Kittens will want to climb into a vent if it is open and you may not be able to reach him/her. You will also want to be careful opening doors to the outside-kitty will run out and may be difficult if not impossible to retrieve. Make sure kitty will not be able to climb into washers, dryers, or refrigerators if these could be left open.
Although it is usually not an easy task to train cats, savannahs are very intelligent creatures and will learn the difference between what constitutes acceptable behavior from non-acceptable behavior. Savannah kittens may try to play rough, biting or growling at toys. This should be discouraged, usually a firm “no,” followed by a light tap on the nose may be necessary. Your kitty may also learn that he has misbehaved by placing in him/her in the carrier for a short “time-out” session. If your kitten experiences this kind of “punishment” a few times, he/she will learn that it is associated with an unwanted behavior. Since cats, and especially kittens, do not like to be confined, they usually learn quickly from this. Another popular method to deter unwanted behavior is the use of a squirt bottle. Since most hybrids like water, adding a hint of vinegar to the water bottle may be needed to deter behavior. Again , since savannahs are very intelligent, and if you are consistent in your approach to “training,” your kitten will readily learn what he/she can or cannot “get away with.”
Bringing your kitten home
Whether you decide to drive home with your new kitten or fly in a plane is your choice. Neither way is more stressful for a kitten than the other. If your new kitten is stressed, it is likely from being separated from the home he has been used to for his first couple months of life, and his brother and sister kitties that he’s been with since birth. Once he/she gets to know you and your family members, kitty will become comfortable and very attached to you!
Before bringing your new savannah baby home, there are a few things you should do to prepare. It may take a little time for your new baby to become acclimated to his/her new home. When you first bring your new baby home it is best to quarantine him/her in a small room of your house without other pets around. You may want to pick a room that doesn’t have places he/she can hide under if possible. Open the door to the carrier and let your kitten come out on its own. Have its food, water, and litter box close by. This makes it easy for your new kitty to get to know you and the “new” house on its own terms. Often, new kittens will jump out of the carrier right away. If your kitten seems too shy to come out he/she may be coaxed out with a feather wand or other toy. Allow your new kitty to explore the room at his/her own pace. Place your kitten gently in the litter box and let him/her know where the food and water bowls are located.
Moonlight Savannahs will provide information on what your new kitty has been eating while waiting to join you and your family. We will give you information on the kitten/cat food that we recommend and also provide you with a sample when you pick up your new baby. If you decide to switch to a different food once you are home it is best to make this change gradually. When you first bring kitty home, offer him/her a small amount of wet kitten food. Dry food is a staple for all cats. Moonlight Savannahs recommends always allowing your kitten access to dry food. Dry kitten/cat food should be grain-free and gluten-free since cats are obligate carnivores they are unable to digest these items. A high quality, high protein dry food will help your cat to have easier digestion and smaller solid fecal matter.
Some breeders support using a raw diet for savannah cats. If you plan to incorporate a raw diet, please educate yourself on this matter. It takes serious commitment because you must ensure your kitten/cat is getting all the ingredients required for proper nutrition. You will also need equipment required to grind the food and supplements needed together.
Once your kitten is familiar with this first room allow him to gradually explore the rest of your home. But before exploring other parts of your home, you will want to bond with your new baby first. It is important to bond with your new kitty before he/she is introduced to other pets in the home. Getting down on the floor with him/her will put you on kitty’s level allowing your new kitty to play with you. It will not take long for your new baby to become comfortable with you. Using a toy to play with the kitty is an easy way for them to get to know you. Kittens typically can’t resist toys. They love chasing feather wands and jumping for them when you wave them through the air.
If you have other pets in your home, it is important to quarantine your new savannah for at least two to three weeks. You will want him/her to have become comfortable with and bonded with you first. Quarantining your new kitten will also protect him/her from becoming sick. When a kitten is transitioning to a new home, it can be somewhat stressful for him/her. If stressed, a kitten’s immune system may be weakened, making him/her more susceptible to “catching a bug” from another pet. A kitten with a weakened immune system will not be able to fight illness as easily as an adult cat.