Cats "cleaning house" can be absolutely hysterical at times (especially when they are on the edge of the sofa and just fall off the side while grooming). But never in my life have I seen the Two Feet Up Technique that is regularly displayed by the Savannah girls in our house.
Typically, I see the Feline Yoga Pose, with one back foot pointed to the ceiling, and the other stretched delicately out to the side. Such a mundane approach is not for the likes of Princess Siada and the Layla Beans. They are quite skilled at the Two Feet Up pose, that I have never before in my life seen. Right about now I think this must be how they were taught to tend to their business at Select Exotics School of Kittons, but wherever it comes from, it certainly is a conversation starter. On the surface, it seems pretty simple, but I think that pointing your feet towards the sky and folding yourself completely in half definitely involves some skills I clearly do not have.
Of course, this also now leads me to wonder if this is a documented medieval technique as well and these girls are just honoring their ancestors.
From which school does your feline friend hail, Cat Yoga or the more specialized Two Feet Up?
On April 14, Mr. Malik has been with us a whole year. I still cannot believe how fast time has gone by, just as much as I cannot believe that I am honored to have another loving F1 boy in my life. He is the most social, loving, handsome little dude.
He is also a bit bonkers, but we knew that when we signed on for all of this! How many Savannahs, and for how man years, does it take to make you officially an experienced Savannah owner? I am pretty sure that at some point we definitely cross that threshold! LOL
What else is going on? Well, someone exploded the favorite banana in the bathtub, causing it to leak catnip all over the place (which caused the BigMan to worry about having to shower in catnip tea). They still play with the deflated banana husk though, and I could not find a new one at the pet store so I procured a hot pepper instead.
All I can say is that that is one wacky pepper, getting Layla so hopped up on the 'nip that she totally thumped Malik and drove him up into the cat tree afeared to come down!
They eventually made up though, which was pretty adorable, and he learned that he definitely needs to share the 'nip with Layla.
Siada, of course, just watched their shenanigans in mild amusement. She cannot be bothered with such frivolous games as she is better off spending her time judging the rest of us or just generally being perfect.
Friday was the big day. It marked Siada's total release from her probation. She was cleared in early March to slowly resume "normal activity" (though I am not really sure the vet understood exactly HOW much activity is normal for a Savannah). The Princess was still on lock-down while we were at work (in a bedroom though, not her prison cell). We allowed her more and more "run free" time every week. This Friday was the last day of any sort of containment.
And that meant this weekend she got to take a short walk outside again, the first one since October. I put her little vest on her, and the minute the leash was clipped on she went and say by the front door and waited. I was so surprised she remembered! Walkies is really the only time we use that door at all and it has been months, but she is the smart one of the clowder so she knew what was up.
We told her we will be camping later this month and I think she is already getting excited.
In other news, Siada is not the only smart one. Malik figured out doors and helped himself to a whole bag of cat treats. When I mentioned this, someone asked about Layla being smart, and, well, I said that our darling little BESTDAYEVER Layla finally learned her name. ;-)
For Siada's second birthday we celebrated with an Under the Sea them. The kittons feasted on shrimp and played with new feeshie toys and even dressed the part for the occasion. I am rather amused that the kitton of honor enjoyed the little 'cake topper' more than the toys or the jellyfish that I had made specifically for them to destroy. (And Layla makes the cutest little lobster!)
Because I talked up Malik's first birthday on Facebook, I totally forgot to share it here!
On February 13, our baby kitton turned a year old. Of course, I had to dig up his baby pics and ooo and ahhh over them all over again. I remembered his breeder posting the pics of the new litter on one of the many FB groups, and even though were technically not looking for another kitten just yet (and were never planning to get another F1), I went to her site and absolutely fell in love with his squeezy-sad face and that FAT tail. (Baby photos credit all goes to OICSPots Hybrid Cats.)
It wasn't even long after he was born that the deposit was made and I was waiting (with a little trepidation) on our new family member. F1s are a lot of work. I was hoping he would be half as good as Nimar was, and hoping he would be social, and hoping he would get along with the girls, and hoping he would not beat up the old cats, and even though I was super excited, the uncertainty was stressful.
And even after we got him, it took a little while for him to develop enough of his adorable personality that I didn't think of Nimar every time I saw Malik. And I really do not know when exactly it happened, but the little guy totally stole my heart. I could not have ever imagined such a social, cuddly, loving dude, but here he is!
Since we had a Princess Party for Siada last year, and a Pirate Party for Layla, we decided to do something slightly different and have a ball pit for the kittons! It was really simple in that I just ordered a big bag of ballpit balls from Amazon and poured them in a bin and let all the kittons play. They absolutely love their new toy and we can hear them batting balls around at all hours. I eventually will have to order more, as Malik likes to select one and then totally crush it (and then bat the squashed, fang-pierced ball around), but the entertainment they get out of it is totally worth it.
Things are not so bad right now in Kittonland. Isis is continuing to regain weight, which means that her meds and foods are helping deal with the lymphoma. She and Reeses now have a quiet space to hang out, look out the windows, sleep and not have Malik eat all their toys during the day. They look forward to us coming home from work so that they can get social time, but are pretty much ready to go back to the private suite at bedtime. I initially had great guilt about setting up the house like this, but they actually seem to prefer it, so all is well.
Siada had her two-week post-op check up last week. She is doing great, and everything is healing up well. She now gets to take 2 five minute walks a day (under strict supervision) and gets cuddle time with Papa. I think that is the thing that makes her most happy!
And then there is the knuckle head brigade. Malik and Layla pretty much act like little furry hurricanes that barrel through the house at random intervals. They knock over furniture, steal potatoes and crackers, and generally drive me nuts, but I love them. Layla Squashin, as you can see below, is still a very real event in our house, and even Isis gets her turn at the Squashin (I think she likes it less than Layla does, lol).
I am delighted to find out that my Savannah Scams page on this site has really taken off. I have now gotten several emails from folks regarding it, and how it helped them avoid scams (or emailing me to see if I think something is a scam). I will be posting more updates there this week.
I hope everyone is having a good 2019 so far!
Well, despite some unwelcome issues with our geriatric feline friends, the holiday season was mostly peaceful.
Reeses had a few out-of-litterbox incidents, which I initially thought was progression of her kidney disease (she is stage 3 CKD), but it turns out it was a UTI. We got her treated and she is back to being her excellent self (and is still holding her own against the CKD).
Isis, as I mentioned last month, has been dropping weight, barfing more than usual and has been exploding in the litterbox multiple times a day. She was referred from our regular vet to a specialist (who fortunately was also Nimar's doc), and is now being treated for small-cell Lymphoma. She is on special food and some medications and in just three weeks has gained a half pound! I am so very happy about that. Also, no more barfing and all else is also now functioning normally. For a 16+ year old lady, this is really good news. Her appetite and energy are great and she can even jump on the bed again without using the cat stairs. I have to count all of this as a blessing.
On the Kitton Front, Siada went in this morning for surgery on her other knee. The first one has healed fantastically, but the left knee is now much worse than it was on initial diagnosis (it slips out regularly), so we are getting that taken care of now. Of course, that means I am a total stress case today, but she is a Champion, and should be fully recovered in time for camping season.
And what about the rest of the crew? Well, I can say that the Kittons had a great holiday playing with their new Ripple Rug that Santa brought them. This thing is probably the best $40 I ever spent on a cat toy. The three Savannah's love darting in and out of it, rolling in it, and beating each other up on it. I think Layla even declared it the BEST DAY EVER when they unwrapped it!
Let me set the scene for this story. We have an accordion door leading to the back hallway, and at the end of the hall is the external door. Papa installed the folding door to set up a sort of a mantrap there (or kittontrap, as the case may be) to prevent these knuckleheads from dashing outside. It worked amazingly for about 11 months and then stopped 'clicking' closed. To counter that, he added a hook on each side, and we just have a hair tie on the handle that an latch onto the hook to keep it shut.
This weekend I was sitting there and heard someone rattling that door. I looked over my shoulder and saw Malik battering ramming the door until it popped open (and now I understand why it is broken to begin with). He pops the door open and then widens the gap with his paw, but cannot manage to get through.
Me: Malik, no!
Malik: But I cant get through it.
Me: You are not supposed to be in there.
Malik (slamming harder at the door): Cant. Get. Through.
Me: Malik, NO!
At this point, Malik wanders off, and, foolish me, I turn back to what I was working on.
A few minutes later, he and Layla parade past me and head towards the door. Malik proceeds to pop open the door, and Layla leap frogs over his back, through the gap, and into the damn hallway. After I recover from this brilliant display of teamwork, I go over, open the door and let Layla back into the kitchen. It was then that I discovered the reason this was so very important. One of the straws they play with had gotten pushed under the door. I returned it to the Butthead Brigade, closed the door again, and went back about my business.
Layla (racing around with the straw): BEST DAY EVER!
And this is take two for this post because I just lost every bit of the lengthy piece I already typed up. Needless to say, this will now be much shorter and far less eloquent.
Siada blew her knee out (the one that had surgery) Sunday night. Not even sure how she did it. She was in her stroller, jumped about something and then was all wonked out after that. We gave her time to sort it out (prior to surgery she could stretch her leg and reseat it), but come Monday it was no better so off to the ER we went.
There was a steady stream of critical cases right after us that had priority (which is fine as I know Nimar was that critical case more than once and others got bumped down the list in his favor). After several hours of waiting, Siada was sitting on her Papa and leapt off. She landed wrong, which ended up "fixing" her knee. She proudly paraded (with a slight limp) around the facility after that. I guess not many people are used to seeing a princess kitton on a leash, based on the stares she got. We opted to return home rather that continue to wait at that point.
The next morning Papa called the surgeon and they said that if she was walking and the kneecap was in its proper spot that we could just wait till our appointment Friday to take her in. Yes, the girl made it almost the whole 8 weeks with zero issues and had to blow it at the very last moment!
As it was, Friday was a very exciting day for all of the kittons as they got to go visit the dentist. Not their dentist, but ours. We have seen the same dentist since before Nimar, and he knew someone at one time who had a pet serval so was always asking about Nimar and then his successors. He wanted to meet them and even blocked off time on the schedule for the kittons to visit him and staff (and his wife who came over as well to meet them). They had a wonderful time climbing all over the waiting room, eating the Christmas decor and making new friends. It was a bit of a shock though, I think, to the elderly client who arrived just as we were about to leave. I don't think he was expecting to see a giant Malik sitting there!
After that we went to the appointment with Siada's surgeon. Her x-rays were great and her luxation is reduced from a Grade 4 to Grade 1 and that might further improve once she uses the leg more and regains strength.
She gets lots of free time now, but is still heavily watched and is not allowed to do anything drastic for the next month. I don't think she was listening to any of that part because she tried to lead the Savannah 500 Friday night at the cabin. I wanted to get really cute photos of them all playing together this weekend, but, alas, they were all too excited to sit still for it and all I got was the blurry one I used with this post.
Now for the less pleasant news. The old gals, Isis and Reeses, had their senior appointment this past Wednesday. For having Stage 3 kidney failure, Reeses is still doing pretty good. Her numbers are up a little and she had a UTI (which has since been treated) but for a 16 year old lady, she is doing alright. She still has a great appetite and can still jump on the counters with no issues.
Isis, on the other hand, has been losing weight. She also still eats really well, and is happy to see us come home from work, and joins the Savannah parade that follows me from room to room, but her white cell count is up and she clearly has digestive issues. We have some special food for her and now have an appointment with Nimar's specialist. I have been worried about this girl a lot, lately, and am reminded that old cats will break your heart at some point. I am hoping that this appointment will give us some good forward direction for her continued care. Please keep the beautiful lady in your thoughts.
My kittons are very diverse in both personality and looks. We have a fearless bossy Siada, a loving silly Layla and a Malik practices daily to be the best butthead he can be. I can tell which one of them is making a mess in the next room just by the sound of the thud them make when jumping from a forbidden counter to the floor. And yes, I can even tell who just made that awful smell without looking.
What I did not realize though, is that not everyone is schooled in how to differentiate between kittons! When I share photos online there is a series of questions about "which one is that?" and often friends (who are more learned in the ways of kittons) will chime in with identifiers ever before I can.
In an effort to make everyone a pro at this, I submit the following guidelines below. (Perhaps we should even have a certification course in "Kitton ID"?)
Note that in all of the comparisons below that order will be Siada, Layla, Malik.
The Savannah breed standard aims for a very servally type cat, so the eyes are ideally medium sized and have a slightly hooded brow, with the top of the eye having a bit of a boomerang shape. All eye colors are allowed. Servals typically have browish or greenish eyes, but blue-grey and gold are also possible.
In the Kittons, Siada has very pretty eyes. They yellow-gold with green around the pupil and very clear and bright. (They bely her wicked intelligence and can strike fear into the hearts of her enemies, or at least Malik!) Layla's eyes are huge, round and more green than gold, but not the gooseberry green of a Bengal or an Isis. (These orbs look at you with adoration!) . Malik has the hooded eyes of a serval that are brown like Nimar's were, with only the tiniest hint of hazel in their depths when looking at him in full sunlight. (Alas, his hooded eyes often give him a wounded-puppy look that pretty much means he will get whatever he desires.)
A Savannah's face should form a triangle in profile and also if you look down at it from the top with the muzzle the point of the triangle. The bridge of the nose should either be straight or have the slightest concave curve to it.
Siada's face is all triangles, with a beautiful line to her jaw and a delicate muzzle. (She will even lift up those dainty muzzlepuffs to you for kisses!). Her nose is long and has the slight curve mentioned above. Layla has a short, blunt face, with a wide muzzle that is more reminiscent of a Bengal, or cute stuffed animal, than a Savannah. (That is ok though, that mouth is built perfectly for carrying theived bananas through the house!) And of course Malik, being only one step removed from a serval, has a very triangular face, as well as the long nose with the slight slope that Siada has. (He is handsome and he knows it all too well!)
Nose (arguably one of the cutest parts)
The standard is wide across the top, with a slight downward turn at the end. Yup, this babies have perfect noses! In Savannahs, these snufflers can have a variety of colors, including pink, red "leather", black or even black with a pink stripe!
Siada has a dark, heart shaped nose, that she turns up over chicken that is not properly minced enough for her pristine tastes. Layla has a red leather nose, perfect for sniffing out the bananas. Malik has a puffy pink nose that you just must kiss, even if he thinks otherwise.
"Remarkably Large" that is the description in the official breed standard. They should also be wide at the bottom, sit high on the head (some servals have ears so close together they almost touch at the base), and noticeable ocelli ('night eyes') on the backs of the ears is desirable.
These babies all have big ears. Heck, Siada was specifically chosen for her ears! Malik has very servally ears, that we wide, with very round tops and that sit quite close together. Siada's ears have very slight points at the top and the very tiniest of ear tuffts if you look closely. Layla's ears are somewhat between the two and while not quite as large, they are, in fact, quite adorable. (Bonus of baby kitton ear photos!)
Below you can see the striking contrast of an F1s ocelli, with the F3 girls who only have the slightest shading on the backs of their ears. (Layla and Siada in the left photo and Malik and Layla in the right.)
Can you tell them apart yet? Maybe? If not, Part 2 of the Definitive Guide to Kittons (covering the build, feetsies and fur) will be coming soon!
Savannah Caretaker who is honored to do the job.