Do your cats have favorite songs or artists? I have found that my Savannahs tend to have strong preferences in that department. Nimar did not like to travel, he did not like being in the crate or the car. Unfortunately for him, he had to get over it when he became diabetic because his survival was dependent on him being with us at all times. So we got him the biggest crate ever (a large dog crate on wheels), and added a litterbox to it and did the made chase with a blanket to catch him to cram him in the box.
Once we got in the car, he was usually good for an hour of or so of travel (naptime for him, while his people did the hard work of dealing with the idiots on the road). After that time, he would start to throw a tantrum. Sometimes it lasted minutes, sometimes it involved much cage rattling and gnashing of teeth.
That was the case once when I was doing the 2.25hour trek to WV. There was a full-on feline tantrum in the back of the car. I was making me crazy so I turned on the radio. He upped his volume. I upped mine. Then the song finished and the next in queue was Led Zeppelin. Much to my wonderment, he stopped mid-wail and listened.
And continued to listen, to the whole song. He laid down, but was still alert listening. When the song changed again, he started fussing. I grabbed the handy iPhone and loaded up my own Zeppelin collection and he completely chilled out the minute the vocals started. After a few songs he was sleeping peacefully.
This continued to work, without fail, for the next year or so until we lost him. We tried other things and the only thing we found that appeased the beast was the dude on the satellite radio that taught banjo lessons. Go figure. (I also want to note that turning on K-pop would send him into a mad rage, which was fine because I have similar feelings about it.)
I have not yet figured out Princess Siada's music preferences, but I know that Layla loves John Cougar Mellencamp the way Nimar loved Robert Plant. She was throwing an epic tantrum a few weeks ago while being forced to ride in the kitton basket in the car. Bellowing her little lungs out over the awful injustice of it, when on the radio came some of that heartland rock and she became very silent and went from caterwauling-let-me-out-of-this-prison kitty to a BEST DAY EVER little angel. Go figure.
Of course, at this point, I cannot help but get a little wistful, a little sad, when I hear Led Zeppelin. I still miss arguing with my boy about traveling, even though it was complete drama from all ends, because I meant he was still with us. And one particular song will likely still always bring tears to my eyes.
Yesterday was the princess's first birthday! She was delighted to see the snow coming down from the new cat tree stationed by the back door, and perhaps even more delighted that mom and dad both where working from home due to the excess of the icy mess.
Of course we celebrated the momentous occasion. We had party hats (and now all the cats hate me), special treats at meal time (they forgave me), and a present!
The hats were adorable. I found them online that could be printed out. I scaled them down by about half and they were perfect. You can find them here: https://hubpages.com/holidays/birthday-party-hats
Unfortunately (even adding a tiara to Siada's princess hat) was something of a waste given that they all tried to eat the hats, rather than wear them. I could not even get a photo of Reeses in her lovely lady bug hat before she tried to murder me.
And for the gift? We opted for something the whole house can enjoy. A tri-tunnel! The kittons especially adore cat tubes and cubes, so this was guaranteed to be an instant hit. No sooner was it on the ground than Siada was inside it waiting for prey (Layla and Isis) to parade by.
Happy Birthday, beloved Siada. I hope that I get to torment you with birthday hats for the next couple of decades at least.
Before we got Nimar I joined the old YahooGroups for Savannah cats. I learned so much in my first few years there about diet, genetics, and general feline health, and also had the benefit of getting to know more about the various breeders and the wonderful cats that the other members of the community had welcomed into their homes.
In more recent years, the old style of boards have given way to social platforms like Facebook, which is tremendous given how visual these outlets can be. Now I can see daily pictures of kittens while reading the funny, and occasionally sad, tales from the other participants. I see people there learning how to choose the right kitten and how to care for him or her. I also see people celebrating triumphs as they over come issues with their feline friends or people seeking solace over a loss.
If you are ever considering getting a Savannah Cat, I cannot recommend enough that you join some of these forums now. This will give you an opportunity to get to know the breeders (and see their kittens), become more educated about how to make the best home possible for these cats, and how to avoid scammers.
Online scams are prevalent everywhere, but those looking for "cheap" Savannah cats make particularly easy targets. Trust me when I say that any deal that seems too good to be true absolutely is. If you haunt Craigs List looking for a cat, or bargain shop websites, you are likely opening yourself up to a world of heartbreak.
My recommendation is to first look for breeders that are TICA approved. ( tica.org/en/ ) Look to see if there are reports on sick kittens or unethical practices online (BBB or websites that house information on bad catteries). Join discussion groups and forums and see if the breeders are there. Just because they are not there does not mean they are bad (Select Exotics, who bred Siada and Layla are not active participants of the online groups, but the other breeders there know the cattery and know that it has a reputation of producing healthy, socialized kittens). The reputable breeders are also masters at spotting scammers (who often swipe other photos to populate their own sites and ads with adorable kittens). If in doubt, just ask.
If you know that your timeline for getting a kitten is years away, then by joining the groups you will have a chance to follow the journey of other owners as they raise their kittens and that might help you make up your mind on what breeder you want to talk to when the time comes.
Are you interested in a more old-school platform? SavannahCatChat still has a thriving message board community where you can learn about the breed, share health concerns, ask about breeders (or leave reviews) and get your fill of adorable cat photos!
If you are just hoping to avoid potential scams, you can check out the Savannah Cat Breeders Facebook page which maintains a list of legitimate breeders. If your preferred breeder is not on that list, just ask about them, as there are often new members that need to be added, or someone might just have been overlooked. Remember that these tools are maintained by members of the community in effort to help you find your perfect Savannah companion and to promote the breed in the best ways possible.
Edited to add a Facebook page specifically dedicated to Savannah scams: https://www.facebook.com/groups/svcats/?fref=nf
Siada's full name is Siada al-Amira. Siada "The Princess". And she most definitely is (and she knows it).
She is mostly a benevolent ruler. She adores her people, especially her papa. She can, however, be demanding in the evenings, and will disallow him uninterrupted TV or computer time, because she must perch on top of his belly and under his beard and be petted while she purrs (and suckles on her own nipples, but we mostly try to ignore that bit).
She will yield to her little sister when it comes to treats, but if Layla tries to sit on her favorite seat, she will eat the marbled one's head as a reminder of her lowly station in life. ("Siada, don't eat your sister's head!" is the second most common phrase in the house after "LaylaNO!")
She also could well have been named "Siada, Healer of Hearts" because she was the only thing that prevented complete shattering of my heart, and world, after losing Nimar. Some people would question immediately getting another pet after losing one that was so well-loved, but if you think it is the right thing to do, it absolutely is.
When we got her, it was just two humans and two old cats who have a distinct dislike of spotted felines. Her papa was her cuddler from the moment she arrived, but I was the designated playmate. She and I would play chase through the house for hours. We would "race" where I would get her to sit in place while I counted down to GO and then we would both go running for the next room. Yes, she always won as even as a little kitten she was blazing fast.
And my favorite of all was her "Bitty Kitton Game". She would make eye contact with me from across the room, and then hunker down in a stalking pose. The moment I would look away, she would teleport to another location (often where I could not even see her), and a few minutes later she would leap out of thin air and attack my head. This game was a real pain when she wanted to play it, in the dark, at bedtime and I had no idea an "attack" was coming, but mostly the rest of the time it was nothing short of hysterical.
The best part of it is that she still plays this from time to time. She will lock eyes with me and I know the pounce is imminent. Fortunately, she has learned to keep her claws sheathed and the pounces are no longer full force, so I can laugh and then give chase (or go hide so that she can pounce me again).
So it is happening.
We are ready for another big, beautiful boy. We talked about getting an F2 later this year, but a few things moved up the timeline. One is that Siada will need knee surgery this summer to correct a luxating patella, and she will be laid up for 6 weeks. No one in our house would survive a bored Layla. So getting another kitton now, rather than later, is a decision born of necessity (and me needing to preserve my sanity).
We thought that an F2 would be be perfect, as we wanted the bold markings and potential size. Nimar could be very hard to handle at times, but we are wiser now, and more experienced so we figured that between that and one more generation between our kitton and the wild ancestor might be the perfect harmony. I was even talking to some breeders about the lovely kittens they had this winter. (This is another area where years of experience, and participation in the online Savannah communities comes in handy. I know who the reputable breeders are, and have even seen some of their kittens growing up via photos online. There are many scammers out there, so if you are considering getting your first Savannah, I highly recommend seeking out some of the online forums where you can learn more about these beautiful cats, but also can get an idea of who is producing kittens that have the look or personality that you are seeking.)
And then the other thing happened to move this forward.... I fell in love with an F1 kitton. He is adorable and perfect. Yes, we run a higher risk of having another complete butthead cat (I say that lovingly), but in reality, Layla is such a total maniac that I think she got more than her fair share of the 23% wild that she is mathematically supposed to have. Seriously, her adorable muppet-self is more than a handful.
OIC Spots Savannahs has a litter of F1 kittens and Boy #2 just grabbed me. I talked to the breeder, Teresa, and learned about her cattery and I learned she has been breeding Bengals for decades and she also breeds beautiful F1 Bengals. Nimar was perfect, but his breeder was inexperienced and not as knowledgeable as she could have been. I know better now. Working with Select Exotics was fantastic, because Holly and Dale have many years experience breeding and Dale has an education in animal science that helps with their operation. I enjoyed talking to Teresa of OIC Spots about her kittens and we made a deposit on our new boy. I cannot wait to meet him next month!
Below are the photos that won me over. (Photo credit to OIC SPots, used with permission.) Look at that SHORT FAT TAIL. Just look at it! Tell me you are not in love with that squeezy kitton face already, I dare you to try! I think there might still be one boy left in the litter if you act fast... https://www.facebook.com/teresa.caudell.3/
Yesterday was Furry Friends day at my office. Of course I took my darling little girls. Unfortunately though, we were rear-ended on the way to the office. The accident was minor, but I can say that those are much worse when you have your kittons in the car with you. Everyone was ok and they were asleep during the impact, woke up and then returned to their nap once mama calmed down.
The entire incident made me very happy that we had bought a pet booster seat not long ago for them. It is actually a pretty spectacular little thing. The one we purchased hooks around the head rest and then straps to the seat, but can be suspended above the actual car seat (making it so that if they are in the front seat the airbag will not deploy and squash them). There are hooks in the seat that clasp to the harnesses to keep them secure. I personally was fine with the idea of them running around the car while we go places, but never again after this.
I actually think the play pen will be very useful going forward as well. We can allow the girls to sit outside with us while we are cooking out or camping, we can use it to help with introduction time for new pets (which will be happening soon enough), and for quarantine time when someone is recovering from surgery.
Savannah Caretaker who is honored to do the job.