I want to preface this post with a request that no one take what follows as a sign that a Savannah is guaranteed to wreck your home. I mean, they can get into things, make messes, and sometimes be destructive, but so can a normal cat who claws the sofa or shreds the TP. Puppies chew all the things (I even had a dog once who ate the passenger seat in my van and turned the spare bricks behind our house to dust). Toddlers write on the walls and squirt hand lotion all over the floor. Older kids try to build a swimming pool on the bedroom floor on the second story with a trash bag and gallons of water (oops). Hell, even I manage to get raviolis stuck in my keyboard and regularly make coffee stains and seem to have this cloud of shattered glass and ceramics that exists in my wake.
But back to Savannah specifics (because Savandalism is a real thing), Nimar was a chewer. The good thing was that he mostly only chewed his Kong chew toys (which he loved). He would carry one to his plate and eat some food, chew a toy, eat some food, chew a toy. We were going through a toy about once a week with him after he got sick (and was chewing more aggressively). Aside from that and cardboard boxes, he really was not a destructive cat.
Siada is even better, she works hard at chewing up boxes, but aside from that her desire to use my shoes as a scratching post is about the worst damage she does (as long as you don't count flipping over a whole pizza that one time). And Layla, well, she isn't much of a destuctor, but she falls off tables regularly. I am really only worried she will do damage to herself with her goofball antics.
And this brings me to Mr. Malik. He has perfect litterbox habits, never claws the sofa, properly reduces boxes to piles of confetti, will only turn taters into hashbrowns if I leave them within his reach, but he also has an issue with foam. He hates it. I have no clue what foam ever did to him, but his life's mission is to remove it from this earth. He never chews feather pillows or normal fluff filled pillows, but Papa's foam pillow was an enemy, until I put a heavy linen pillowcase on it. He bit it twice to test (taste?) it, but has since left it alone.
He also likes to add air conditioning to the bedding. Fleece blankets have to exist between layers of cotton bedding (which sometimes also 'develop' holes). The whole thing was really bizarre to me until I saw someone on one of the Serval forums that I follow pose the question "When does the destruction of blankets phase end..." The first response was, "hahahaha, they live up to 25 years".
So THAT is where he gets it from.
I had a brilliant idea though, that I am hoping solves the hole-ridded bedcover issue as the weather grows colder and I desire to keep all the heat next to me. He didn't like the linen pillow case, and I have a ton of linen scraps from decades of crafting medieval garments, so I decided to make a patchwork quilt out of linen.
This idea is pretty brilliant as it should yield a durable, Malik-proof blanket, and use up at least one of the bins of linen scraps that I have been hoarding for decades. The only problem is that he really, really wants to help me make the dang thing.
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They tell you a lot of things when you look at Savannahs, about how they steal things, about how they chew things up, about how no cardboard or paper products will be safe, about them drooling on dirty socks or raiding the cupboards... But I don't recall being warned about potential microwave oven fires as being a direct product of Savannah ownership.
And yes, it really is.
See, Malik is a thief. He steals the bread, the chips, the cupcakes (a whole plastic bin of them), the muffin mix, and potatoes. He loves five pound bags of potatoes.
This thievery results in many items being forced to live their lives locked in the microwave oven. Last night I needed to nuke something so removed the bread, the fresh brownies, the butter, and the taters. What I failed to notice was that mushed far back into the deepest recesses of the appliance was a nearly-finished bag of Doritos.
Do you know what happens when you nuke a plastic foil back of powdered-cheese-coated corn products? The answer is it catches on fire. Spectacularly.
After a few moments of panic, a set of metal tongs and a sink of water later, the fire was out. I now think i need to come up with a better safe-place for often-thieved goods. Perhaps I should just empty the catfood cabinet and hide it all there. ;-)
Following the brief trip in the new camper, I was completely inundated with work and then on my annual vacation for a couple of weeks. I missed my crazy kittons so very much while gone, but I also, almost forgot that most weeks out of the year that I live in a total zoo.
"Almost" forgot because occasionally there is a phone call that really serves as a good reminder of what Savannah life is like.
My vacation is always at a large medieval reenactment. At these events there are many varieties of activities from battles, to medieval dances, to feasts, to opportunities to learn new arts. There are also different things that happen that sort of bring bits of medieval life to our modern world. These involve things like royal courts or ceremonies. As it happened, I was at once of those more solemn events when the tale I am about to share took place.
This specific affair is based on a medieval knighting tradition. It was fairly late at night (around 10pm) and I was in a beautifully decorated medieval encampment, surrounding by people in fabulous medieval clothing, waiting for my turn to speak to someone who would soon be knighted. While waiting, the current Princess of the group, was discussing other important matters with me when my phone (set to vibrate and hidden away in my pouch) exploded with messages.
Text. Text. Call. Call.
Fearing that there was a family health emergency (my brother was in the hospital at that moment), I begged pardon from her Highness and looked at my phone. It was my boyfriend (who also, incidentally, is a Knight in this organization, and I thought he would have an idea of where I was and what I was doing at that moment and know what was going on even though he was not at the event). I answered it, desperately worried there was something wrong with one of the cats.
Him: Didn't you get my text????
Me: No, I am at a vigil. What is going on??
Him: MALIK HAS A BAT!
Me (thinking): I am 5.5 hours away, what am I supposed to do about this???
Him: Malik has a bat in his mouth and he won't let me have it and he is growling and won't let me near him.
(I find out later that apparently the spotted terror was running around with the body of the bat in his mouth, with wings hanging out the sides, like some sort of goofy cartoon.)
Me (thinking): Of course he won't let you have it. He is very proud of his kill!
Him: $&@#*#%$!!!! He is growling and took a swing at me. THE BAT IS GOING TO BITE HIM.
Me: There is a steak on the top shelf of the fridge. Give him some of that in exchange for the bat.
(At some point I hear the phone being set to speaker and laid down. I hear the fridge open and I swear I heard a flop noise... did he totally just throw a whole steak at the cat???)
Him: $&@#*#%$!!!! HE IS CHEWING THE STEAK WITH THE BAT STILL IN HIS FACE.
(Yes, this is the part where I am laughing so hard I am crying.)
Him: I need a container in case I get this bat. Where the hell are containers?
Me (thinking): Same place they always are. (Though I did provide directions to the containers, while trying not to laugh out loud.)
Him: $&@#*#%$!!!! I have to go. (He then hung up on me)
(At this point I was sort of sitting there mystified, and was still wondering what exactly I was supposed to do about the whole thing. Ten minutes later though, the phone rang again, so I stepped to the side to take the call.)
Him (out of breath): I have the bat.
Me: Fantastic! How did you get it?
Him: Malik crunched down and it stopped moving and he lost interest and let me have it.
(I learned later that somehow him getting the bat from Malik also involved duel wielding tongs and part of my loom????!!!!!)
Him: So I have the bat and I called Animal Control and they dont want it.
(A few years ago, Nimar caught a bat in the house and it was during a bad rabies year so Animal Control came to the house within 5 minutes to claim said bat for testing.)
Him: They said if all the cats are vaccinated, to just get rid of it.
Him: So the bat is in the refrigerator.
(Wait, WHAT? Why the HELL is there a bat in my refrigerator!!!??? How does this even happen???)
Him: I am stressed out and tired and have to go.
So now I was sitting there wondering why on earth was there a bat in the fridge. Was it even in a container? WHY WAS THERE A BAT IN THE FRIDGE???
Apparently there was some logic to that, but I still cannot fathom what it was.
And guess what? The next night when I was messaging him about how great the dinner he had prepared for our camp and sent up with me was, he messaged me back that he was glad that we all liked it and BTW, the BAT WAS STILL IN THE REFRIGERATOR. And Malik knew it was there. AND OMG, apparently I can never, ever leave my kittons unattended again!
As much as I love my vacation, I totally missed these crazy characters. Malik grew so much in just a few weeks. Look at those legs!!! And of course, they were all so happy when I got home. They missed the mama snuggles.
(And, just to note that I started to type this up a few nights ago, and while doing so, Layla strolled right by me with an entire bunch of bananas in her mouth. So yes, I do, in fact, live in a zoo. But I would not have it any other way!)
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...)
I have learned that there are several types of cat breeders. One would be those who raise the cats in-home and under-foot. These are usually breeders that have a small number of litters each year and who often breed for certain traits. These kittens can benefit from full-time contact with humans. There are also larger breeders, with elaborate catteries and full-time staff. Select Exotics (where my girls came from), are the latter (and if you go to their site, you can see that they have an impressive facility and a number of people who work to make sure the cats are healthy and socialized). There are also "backyard breeders", a slang term for uneducated or unethical breeders.
For the moment I want to congratulate all of those in that first group, the in-home breeders, because I seriously do not know how they manage to get anything done with a house full of Savannah kittens. You must have nerves of steel and epic levels of patience.
Dinner last night was pretty epic. On coming in the house Siada attacked the bags of groceries, puncturing a container of yogurt and trying (but failing) to swipe her papa's steak. The groceries went into the kitchen (with that one lime Chobani making a detour to the trash) and I started to cook. Normally, Siada sits on a cooler next to the counter where she can watch me. Last night she opted to jump onto the counter about once every two minutes. After me putting her down and telling her "No" for the 93rd time, she decided that she needed to teach Layla how to accomplish this feat as well.
Why would she do this, I wondered? Oh yes, she wanted a diversion so that I would not see her tipping over the colander of peas in the sink. Fortunately, half were still in the sieve and I could use them in the pasta dish (as soon as I removed Layla from the counter yet again). I oped to piled dishes in the sink over the abandoned peas so that I could (hopefully) eat my dinner while it was still warm. As we sat at our food (in the living room) I hear clanging and banging in the kitchen and rush in to find Siada at the sink with one paw reaching around below the piles of dishes. She was up to her armpit in ceramics jostling and stretching. Occasionally she would pull out a paw and look at it and YES! There was indeed a delicious pea in the middle of her pad or impaled upon a nail. She would eat it and begin her pea hunt anew.
Of course, they were exhausted after dinner and slept for several hours before the antics started again. And me? I was exhausted as well. I think Savannah kittons should come with a wine subscription. Maybe all of those in-home breeders have one, and that is how they survive the daily Savandalism in their homes.
(Note, I would not change any of this for the world, with exception, of course, being to remedy the lack of wine!)
Savannah Caretaker who is honored to do the job.
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