Nimar was our beautiful overlord, the Emperor. This weekend, a new King has joined the household. I am absolutely delighted to have an F1 in my life again, and, honestly, I am still trying to process that whole concept. I do, however, want to talk about the differences in our first few days with Nimar vs. the first few with Malik.
We picked up both Nimar and Malik from the breeders' homes in Ohio. Nimar was more than twice the age of Malik when we got him. And he was a bit wild-shy around strangers (perhaps even the breeder). She had to chase him all over the house to catch him when we got there, and she tried to trim his nails before we took him and he was having absolutely none of that. He rode in the crate the whole way home expressing his indignance of the situation.
When we arrived at Malik's breeder's house, he was bouncing around the living room. He would not immediately come to us, but within mere minutes his curiosity got the better of him and he investigated the new people. We even got to pick him up! We all watched him play while Teresa, the owner of the cattery, filled us in on his diet and habits and talked about his siblings (who also had just gone to their new homes). Then we packed up his little spotted self and headed for the car.
He did fight like a little demon in the crate for the first ten minutes. Loud chirps, alligator rolls, thrashing about. And then he was so kitten-tired (that is an extreme form of tired that just makes you fall over asleep) that he curled up with his new wooly mammoth and fell asleep for a few hours.
After that, I let him out of the crate, put the harness on him (the small Hyendry harness we had left from Siada and Layla) and offered him food and water and a potty (none of which interested him). He was, however, excited to explore the vehicle and was very content to sleep on my lap for the duration of the ride.
At home, he readily explored his new space. He would be jumpy with a sudden move or noise, but also readily accepted us as his people. He would rub on our legs, chirp to be put on our laps (where he would climb up to perch on shoulders). If he did not want to be held he was, of course, a ball of wriggling claws and fierce noises, but when he is ready to cuddle, he enjoys being close to us.
By contrast, my beloved Nimar spent most of day one behind the toilet. We had to coax him out with toys, and lure him to us with feather wands. You could not pick him up at all, and it was a couple days of very hard work to get him to let us really pet him. Once he decided we were ok, he eventually stopped being skittish and gave up the headbutts at every opportunity. I understand this is not at all uncommon behavior with early generation cats, but brining Malik into our lives is much like bringing in Siada and Layla who clearly wanted to be close to people, to cuddle, and to be annoyingly right-in-your-face from the start.
I think that perhaps this is due to a mix of really good personality and good socialization on behalf of the breeders we worked with this time around. The experience they have working with hybrid (and wild) cats really shows.
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/
Let's try this again!
Work interfered heavily with my life in December in January, making little time for updating the crazy antics of my gals. Siada and Layla have bonded well, though Siada can be a total brat at times. Layla just acts like a puppydog and follows her (or any one else) from room to room to cause trouble.
And Layla is getting big. She will be 6 months old in two more days and just hit 7lbs (Siada is only 8lbs at nearly a year old). I think the most common phrase uttered in the house is "LaylaNO" or its companion exclamation "NOLAYLA". My BF was even yelling at her in his sleep last night! Siada gets into trouble, but is not as rambunctious as her marbled cohort. Siada is fearless, but also smart, which helps mitigate the level of drama coming from her. Layla is very haphazard (such as getting on top of the curtain rod and then wondering what to do once up there), but also an absolute lover. Her personality reminds me more of Nimar than anything else.
What is most amazing though, is that Isis, who is long known to bot be a fan of Savannahs, decided very quickly that Layla was just so cute that she would accept her. No hissing, no growling (which both Siada and Nimar got), but there is a great deal of curiosity and Layla sometimes trots after Isis the way she does the rest of us.
Reeses of course, has no interest in these other cats. This old gal was recently diagnosed with stage three kidney disease. We have switched her food, and are taking in for regular bloodwork and so far, she is holding her own. We will do our very best at loving her and giving her special time and treats as long as we can.
And Layla has already gotten her spay! As with Siada, we used the Suitical suit which helped so much with keeping her calm for at least a few days during recovery (it did not work as well to sedate her as it did, Siada, but it definitely was better than a cone and it gave us a few days ease with the whole procedure).
To read more about Siada in the Suitical, you can go here: https://themerryrosette.weebly.com/blog/recovery
Quite a few folks on my Savannah forums are using the suits now. I think most have had good success with them, but the one question that always comes up is size, and what size to purchase. When Siada went in for her spay, she was six months old, but very petite for a Savannah. She wore the XXXS (on the left below). I think this would fit most similarly aged kittens going in for a procedure. Had we waited another month, I might have had to extend the straps on the bottom to make it fit, because she was long and tall even though small.
Layla is a bigger kitten, we got her the XXS (on the right below) and while it was a little loose in the body, the length was good at the smaller setting. Even a larger Savannah kitten would probably be just fine with that size.
There are, of course, more updates. Lots of them, including one about BK#3, and that will be coming very soon!
Savannah Caretaker who is honored to do the job.