Layla Squashin' Time is a very real thing in our household. It just happens and no one knows why. The adorable marbled kitton will be sleeping peacefully and Malik will decide, out of nowhere, that it is clearly, most definitely, time to utterly squash the Layla.
This has happened since the beginning of time, and yes, he started small with nudges and cuddles and then, in mere weeks, the full-on squashing began. And as for poor Layla Beans, she is so sweet of temperament, that she just lets it continue. I can only hope she manages to not get flattened too much as this little boy continues to outgrow her.
I readily admit that all cats are the Best Cat. I love my kittons fiercely and love my friends' cats and even friends' cats that I only see in photos on Facebook. I even love little cats that are sleeping on beds in 1600s English farm houses at museums.
I think what I most love though about our Savannah's is how incredibly affectionate they are, and how impressively they show it. These are not aloof feline's, who might or might not consider you worthy of their time. These are personable kittons who seek you out to shower you with their adoration.
Let us talk about the Princess herself first. She is definitely demanding, and bossy, as befitting her station. But she gives kisses to all the people. She even bestows her love on people when she first meets them (assuming they interest her, lol). She also will take up permanent residence on your lap or chest and keep you pinned for hours as you bask in her princessness and feel honored that she chose to make your furniture. She also absolutely loves to go to bed with me at night. She races me there and gets very animated over giving head rubs and cuddles and sometimes even gives up some belly. (This is also why we have a crate that can be on the bed with us at night while she is in recovery as it was clearly traumatizing her to not be able to sleep with her people.
Layla is a funny one. She loves her people (all people, really) and is happy to climb into any lap that is available. She will waller on the floor and let you get her marvelous belly (and unlike most felines, the belly is never, ever a trap). She is sweet, adorable and very sincere in her affections. She also cannot wait to give you a headbutt. This often results in her prematurely headbutting. She will see you approach, and she gets super excited and will headbutt the wall, the furniture, even the floor in her preemptive attempts to deliver affection.
Alas for her, she has even headbutted her way right off tables, stairs or the sofa before because she shares her love without thinking. Papa said recently that he hopes she never gets loose outside because if someone found her they would think she had a neurological condition the minute she started flipping her head over to headbutt the nearest item in her joy to see a person.
Alas, I have no videos of this little guy's quirks. But I can say that there is really nothing on this earth like the loving you get from an F1 Savannah boy. This little guy is like Nimar in that he is my constant shadow. He also, like the girls, loves to spend time in our laps.
He delivers his affection in two main forms. The first is headbutts. He has a rock hard skull and can be a little battering ram with that noggin. And, like Layla, he sometimes is premature in delivery and whack his head into a wall or the underside of a cabinet. The funniest form of his joy though, is his "humpsies" (this is when a cat arches its back and rubs on your legs). Malik delivers humpsies in several forms.
Several people have asked me how Siada is doing, so I thought I would give the lengthy answer here.
She is doing well. The 2 week follow-up went great. We had some concerns about a small bump about a centimeter from the incision, and the surgeon said that it was tissue over one of the pins. He said she is exactly where she should be in her recovery process. She walks with a heavy limp, but is finally putting a little weight on that limb. It is pretty crazy, actually, how quick she can still scoot around the room.
So the good thing is that she is going very well, but the bad is that we still have 6 more weeks of crating. She is allowed out twice a day for 5-10 minutes to walk around but otherwise, it's in the crate. We are doing our best to make sure that she doesn't left out, bored, lonely or sad over this. We have the stroller I mentioned previously at our house and use it to take her from room to room with us in the evenings. This allows her to sit with us while we play computer games or when I do the dishes or other work. She seems to enjoy it. The stroller is perfectly serviceable for our needs, but Papa decided that it was not sturdy enough for outside walks and for use while camping, so he ordered a more heavy duty one to take camping.
I bought the travel kit on a total whim and am so very glad I did. The crate is essentially a pop-up tent. It weighs nothing and folds completely flat. It is not super sturdy, but has so far survived a couple of wrestling matches between Malik and Layla (both on, or in, it). All of the accessories were a bonus (it has a tarp lined litter pan, a mat that has a vinyl side and an absorbent side, a collapsible water dish, toys and a carrying bag for the accessories. This would also be fantastic for a long road trip with a cat.
And because the world needs more cat pics, here are two of Malik and Layla playing in the camper and one of Siada getting some quality time sitting on Papa (which I am sure is helping with her recovery). Also, please note that yesterday was the Reeses-aversary! On October 24, 2004, she was adopted from Rude Ranch at the local Pet Smart. Alas, she preferred to nap on her holiday so the image at the far left below was the best I could get of her scrumpy little self.
I love so very much that you want to sleep on me. I love even more that you are considerate enough to not try to sleep too close to Siada, because I do not need a nocturnal brawl on top of me. I do wish, however, that you would consider some other location that is not my throat. You are far too big now to drape safely across my windpipe.
I hope that you will take this into consideration if you want me to continue living long enough to feed you each morning.
Your favorite person
PS - I dont need your extra fluffy tail up my nose either.
Sweetheart, please give me warning the next time you decide to have the BEST DAY EVER and to try to make the leap onto the top shelf of the closet, while I am sitting on the floor under it looking for something. Your epic miss, and desperate attempt to save yourself, brought down the entire top shelf of winter clothes onto my head.
This was not my best Monday ever.
BEST MAMMA EVER
I think you need to go visit the sorting hat again. I am pretty sure you are a Slytherin.
The concerned Ravenclaw in your house
Today Layla is a year old! She opted for a pirate party and everyone had fun with the new birthday scratcher. Later there will be some lamb cat food and a yummy steak for the kittons to consume. Layla wants the world to know that yes, birthdays are indeed the BEST DAY EVER!
This weekend we finally got to take a real trip with the kittons in the new camper. The trip up there was interesting as Layla and Malik were a little unsettled for the ride. Siada has ridden in the truck before (and she was born fearless), so she was fine, but I had to take turns holding everyone for a bit until they calmed down for the rest of the journey.
The new Grand Designs Imagine camper proved to be as perfect for camping with feline companions as we had hoped. There was loads of room for them to romp and chase and even enough space for playing with feather wands with them.
We opted for this product over other available options as we always travel without own mobile internet source that stays in the RV at all times, that made this device ideal over those which typically cost more and require a monthly service contract.
It took only a few minutes and my iPhone to set up the Temp Stick. I now have an app that I can use to monitor the temperature and it is set to send me alerts if either the temperature reaches a certain point, or if the power goes out to our internet source. I checked the temp many times throughout today and am exceptionally pleased with my purchase. (The other item that I read great reviews for that I considered is the RV Pet Safe monitor. Had we not already had a hotspot, I would have purchased that model and their cellular plan.)
There was one thing I did not plan on, that was somewhat bizarre in close quarters, and that was Siada launching into Feral Kitton Mode at 4am. Her papa had gotten up for something briefly and it woke myself and her Princessness up as well. I saw it in her gaze and knew what was coming as she scanned around the room looking for a target.
ME: Siada, baby, no, not right now.
SIADA: Engage Feral Kitton Mode!
ME: No girl, you will wake everyone up.
SIADA: Must.... go.... feral..... (locks eyes with Malik)
MALIK: Oh crap (jumps onto the counters, followed by a wild-eyed Princess, off the counter again, over the dinette, behind the recliners where a WWE match ensued, leaping out onto the chairs, the top bunk, the bedroom)
ME: <sigh> (heaving my tired carcass out of bed to stop the rampage) Siada, you need to leave him alone, someday he will be bigger than you.
SIADA: I will go feral on your ankles!! (and she did)
ME: Come here little Malik, that girl is picking on you (rescues him from the blankets draping off the edge of the bed and then shove him under the blankets and give him a fuzzy blanket, he suckles on the, as a pacifier)
SIADA: (says nothing because she is already curled up asleep on the recliner)
LAYLA: BEST DAY EVER (as she jumps on and off the top bunk repeatedly for no apparent reason, shaking the entire trailer with each landing)
ME: And this was a good idea why???
No more fresh air for this kittons ever. Since five AM it's been a non-stop Savannah rampage. Everything that could be knocked over or knocked off has fallen victim to the herd. I have been pounced, attacked, abs even my blanket for was breeches by Siada, who was leading the raid in person.
I gave up on sleep when I heard a rumble and saw Malik perched on top of the bedroom door. I give up as they can apparently fly...
(ETA - As I was posting this Malik decided he did not like the smell of my coffee and serval smacked the liquid in the cup and now I am cleaning up the table, the stack of mail and my laptop...)
Siada has no fear. I think it might be genetic, or magic, or something. Nothing scares her. Layla, on the other hand, is a bit jumpy. She isn't skittish and she definitely is not one of those cats that disappears whenever company comes over, but she far is more cautious than her cousin. Malik is a bit somewhere in between the two. He doesn't charge in the way Siada does, and once confronted he will display his full kitton prowess to his enemy, but he does have reservations about certain situations.
Or about a presumed enemy, which in this case is The Snake.
The Snake originiates with Nimar, who used to go through toys at an alarming rate. We had to start buying large Tuffy toys meant for pitbulls and other big dogs. They were the strongest things we could find and he still went through an average of one a week. Days before we lost him, we found a snake made of fire hose and bought him that. He was feeling less playful at that point and only nipped at it once, but he seemed to like having it on his bed in the computer room and it has been laying there ever since. Siada wrestled it once or twice as a baby, but Layla and the big girls never gave it a second glance. Malik smacked it a few times when we first got him (see video below), but mostly it just sat there biding its time, just waiting to terrorize F1 kittons.
It is interesting to note that Malik's more recent reactions to The Snake entirely depend on its position. If the snake is flipped over onto its back, Malik pays it no heed. But it is looking at him, all bets are off. It gets the very best of serval smacks, as well as a few spits, hisses and growls. For the most part, The Snake just lays forlorn on its back on the floor and everyone walks past it and goes about their lives.
Well, recently Papa made the mistake of moving The Snake from the floor to the table and all hell broke loose. Apparently it looked at him funny and he went completely nuts. The fuzzy little guy saw it and sprang from his seat to my arm, to my leg and then he and his adversary hit the floor and the spitting and smacking began in earnest.
MALIK: It's looking at me!
SIADA: It's a toy, you derp.
MALIK: It's eyes, they are trying to steal my soul. I have never seen anything so horrible!
SIADA: You are 60% serval, act it.
MALIK: But it is LOOKING AT ME.
(Furious bout of serval smacks, followed by growls and Malik flees the room to sit at the far end of the next room staring, in horror, in the direction of the computer room.)
LAYLA: BEST DAY EVER, MALIK LEAVED ME ALONE!
(Papa hides the snake.)
MALIK: Not going back there. Ever.
SIADA: Your food is back there.
MALIK: Don't care.
LAYLA: BEST DAY EVER, MORE FOOD FOR ME!
SIADA: Your litter box is back there.
MALIK: Don't care. I will poop in the sink. I can NEVER go back.
Two days. It took TWO DAYS for me to reintroduce him to the back of the house. Heck, he didn't even want to leave the second floor for a day and would not even go in the computer room for one more beyond my coaxing him down the stairs. And when he finally made his way to the back of the house, he looked diligently under every piece of furniture for The Snake. Finally though, he was convinced the vile beast was eradicated and he could return to his normal evenings of perching on Papa as he plays computer games.
SIADA: This is why I am in charge...
Why has it been so quiet here? Well, we had to take delivery of Siada's new Princess Palace! The RV that we had was tight on space for active Savannah kittens, and given that the kitties enjoy camping it was prudent that we got a camper better suited to their antics.
After much research we opted for a 2019 Grand Design Imagine 2800BH. Thanks to a large slide-out, there is a great play area. The bunks, bed, and (sheesh, Siada, that is where the waffle iron goes) shelves, give them places to go rest or hide (not that this crew is prone to hiding). The storage area under the bunks is also pretty massive, and can easily house two litter boxes. There are also large windows that allow them ample view of wildlife (or, in our case, of the driveway because the campground we were taking a test trip at was flooded and we ended up testing out the camper at home instead).
And don't their fur coats match the camper interior exceedingly well? (No, that wasn't planned, but it is perfect!)
What I discovered as I was researching campers is that people love to make modifications to their mobile homes. I really did not think this is something that would appeal to me, but the idea of making a more cat friendly environment actually makes sense if we are going to travel more with our herd. (The camper did come with one fantastic built-in pet mod, with that being a drawer under the fridge that opens up and has in it trays for food and water for critters.)
Savannahs love to go high, and our cats all have claws (as they should), so we did need a scratching option for them inside the palace. I found a door mounted cat tree that is perfect. It is built for a regular house door, so we had to take the top piece, remove molding and the door hanger (they simply unscrew) and chop about 5 inches off the top, and then replace the molding and hanger. It took longer to work out the math (and triple check it) than it actually took to cut down the piece to make it work. I will need to take it back apart in the future and flip it so that the platforms face the other direction, as the second from the top bumps into the bunk a bit more than I would like, but even as is, the bathroom door is still functional and people can come and go easily.
Now I am very much looking forward to our next trip, and hope that the weather will not prevent us from taking the camping kittons out on new adventures!
Kittens grow quickly. Savannah kittons grow very, very quickly, especially early generation ones. We joke that you can actually watch them grow. Malik is no exception. He has put on over 2lbs in the 5 weeks we have had him. (He is 5.36lbs at 14 weeks old.)
Savannahs, like some other large breeds such as Maine Coons, can also often grow for three years. Just when you think they are done, they might have another growth spurt. I actually think that Siada, at almost 15 months, is probably pretty close to being done though. Her weight has stalled out at just under 9lbs. She will likely continue to fill out a bit, but I think she will continue to be the very leggy, yet petite princess that we have today. Layla is still growing a bit and at 8lbs is almost Siada's weight. She is so muscular though, and doesn't have the lean Savannah build that Siada shows off so well, but she is a powerhouse when it comes to leaping.
Malik, well, I am pretty sure Malik will surpass Nimar's size. At 18 weeks when we got Nimar, he weighted 4.5lbs. In less than two weeks, he was 5.5lbs and continued to grow for three years hitting his peak at 21lbs (he was up to 23lbs at one point, but was a bit, um, fluffy at that weight). People actually thought he weighted a lot more than he actually did, because he was so tall (something not uncommon with perception of size in Savannahs). Malik though, he is getting big. In about two more days he will outweigh Reeses...
I sometimes wonder if Nimar did not have the best diet as a baby. He, in theory, should have weighed more when we got him, though he did not seem too thin nor malnourished. Malik was raised on raw food with a good supplement, and he continues that as well as quality cat food (I will talk at length about diet in another post). He can shovel in the food like crazy and it is hard to keep up with him! You can see below that he is almost the size of Layla (who is well over 8lbs), even though he does not yet have her muscle mass. He is very nearly her height as well.
Someone unfamiliar with Savannahs recently asked me if I was sure Malik was really a first generation (because I keep posting pics of him cuddling with me). One look at him and you can see the serval traits like crazy. Those ears, the coat, the size! Yup, my little mostly-serval is absolutely what he is (and that is mostly a huge pain in my rump, lol).
I have a chart at home with weights for the cats over the last few months, mostly because I am tracking the weight of our older girls as they start to have old-cat problems. I might need to make a graph of Malik's growth just for fun ;-)
Of course this whole post reminds me of the meme that people love to share to my wall (and that is ok, as I laugh every time I see it).
Savannah Caretaker who is honored to do the job.