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Bought a cat but received a nightmare! Please help

Discussion in 'Cat Training and Behaviour' started by Stacey765, Jul 12, 2019.


What next?

  1. Suck it up

    0 vote(s)
  2. With hard work and appropriate response it could be rectified

    4 vote(s)
  3. That’s the way the cat is, perhaps it’s not for you.

    0 vote(s)
  1. Stacey765

    Stacey765 PetForums Newbie

    Jul 12, 2019
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    Was bought an f8 savannah cat as a gift and new very little about the breed. She is about 8 months old now and is becoming increasingly problematic - no issues with aggression, however I feel like a hostage in my own home!

    Behaviours which I’m struggling to cope with:
    • Constant (and I mean constant) yowling to the point neighbours have complained and I now have to sleep with earplugs. I’ve attempted the ignore tactic however have often had to succumb due to the alternative being essentially neglect or starvation. - the only time she is quiet is when she has a mouthful of food.
    • Stealing and destruction/hiding of jewellery or anything silicone/plastic.
    • Constant scavenging despite being sufficiently fed at regular times. She’ll eat literally anything and I’m worried she’ll get into something harmful to her. She now is banned from the kitchen as she’s figured out how to open cupboards and the bread bins.

    Is there anything I can be doing to help lessen these behaviours? I know they seem minimal when listed but they affect every moment of my day spent at home which is when I should be relaxing.

    I am at the point where I am seriously and sadly considering asking the breeder to take her back which is a shame because she is genuinely a sweet natured cat and I am very fond of her as is my dog - her behaviours that I’m struggling with are clearly not malicious or aggressive (apart from perhaps the yowling?). I just can’t bear living in a constant state of heightened anxiety and as I rent a room out can’t expect that a potential flat mate should put up with that either. Any/all suggestions or opinions on whether the situation can be bettered or if I’m just in over my head would be greatly appreciated. I am not a quitter and have been trying my best since recieving her at 3 months to train her properly however I am at a lost and have never had experience with a cat so mischievous.

    She has been spayed which I had hoped would calm her down but has done the opposite. Like I said I am very fond of her but find myself beginning to resent her (which I know is not fair) meaning our relationship is becoming increasingly strained.
  2. spotty cats

    spotty cats PetForums VIP

    Jul 24, 2012
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    The breeder should really be giving you advice, they know their breed and cats better than anyone.
    Lurcherlad likes this.
  3. carly87

    carly87 PetForums VIP

    Feb 11, 2011
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    If she's cavenging to that degree, then I'm afraid that your supposition that she's being fed an adequate amount at appropriate times is not the case. Cats just don't scavenge with that degree of intensity if they are fed appropriately. Are you feeding her a high meat content diet? For her type, this is often the only thing that will settle this. Yowling/vocalising is also something associated with the breed, so you may learn to love it. She's most likely telling you she's not satisfied with something. Hopefully feeding her differently will settle this a bit, but has she got enough to do? Has your house got lots of high up spaces/nooka for her to explore and play in? Does she get regular hard work play sessions with a rod toy? Does she have enough toys to stimulate her when your attention is elsewhere? Does she get enough interaction during the day? Have you approached the breeder to ask their advice? Although, if she allowed a cat such as this to be bought as a gift, I'm not sure how helpful she'll be...
    sandy-cat, Forester, Cully and 4 others like this.
  4. BarneyBobCat

    BarneyBobCat Slave to an AcroCat

    Feb 22, 2019
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    Fellow Savannah owner here - Barney is an F6. He also has all of these behaviours except the scavenging but we have food available for him all the time.

    The yowling is for attention - you need to play with her and get her worn out. She should be gasping for air after a good play session and will then eat some food, groom and go to sleep. We play with Barney around 5 times a day for 30mins and get him tired out - he still gets up at 2am mind you wanting to play. He wakes me up every morning usually by dropping a toy on my face!
  5. Ottery

    Ottery Cat Lady

    Jun 14, 2019
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    I've had Burmese cats for many years, they are similar to Havanas in being vocal, interactive and athletic. I always have more than one, and they aren't indoor cats, so they amuse each other during the day then sleep indoors at night. I have two 9 month olds and if they didn't have each other plus the two older cats, they would be constantly yelling for attention (which they still do, but only occasionally).

    I suspect your kitten is just bored. You haven't told us much about her life so I'll assume she is an only cat (although I see you have a dog) and is kept indoors? The 'stealing', yowling and scavenging sound like boredom to me, she's trying to amuse herself with the only things she has access to. Oriental cats are very intelligent and easily bored.

    If you want to keep her, you would need to change things to make both of your lives more enjoyable. That might be getting her a feline companion, or giving her access to the outdoors, or playing with her regularly with a wand toy to tire her out. I play with my cats once a day for about 15 mins, which is my limit - but that wouldn't be anywhere near enough if my kittens didn't have other types of stimulation (each other, access to an enclosed garden).

    If you aren't able to change things, it's likely her behaviour will continue and she could also develop other types of anti social behaviour as she becomes more frustrated. So have a think about what you could do.
    sandy-cat and moomoowawa like this.
  6. moomoowawa

    moomoowawa PetForums Member

    May 19, 2019
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    This is a bit like the cat equivalent of people getting a Border Collie and then despairing at the dog being "a handful". This is a super active almost wild kind of a breed, and unless you are willing to put a lot of time into playing with the cat and creating a seriously stimulating environment for her, it'll only get worse and I would suggest returning her to the breeder.
    I don't understand why people give animals as gifts.
    Treaclesmum, TriTri, Soozi and 4 others like this.
  7. Jackie C

    Jackie C Cat slave

    Feb 16, 2016
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    I don't know anything about the breed, except I've heard they have a lot of energy. A breed with lots of energy, coupled with her being a young cat, she will have huge amounts of energy. Plus, as she is still growing, she might be hungry as well. As long as she isn't getting fat, you could just give her more quality food. A dense, good quality, high-protein, zero carbs/grain-free food is best. Or you could give her some raw meat. Some cats like raw chicken wings. If she likes them, this would be good for her, as well as taking her time to eat it, as it would take effort. A massive play session before bed, then some more food might settle her.
    I am assuming she doesn't go out? If she's tolerant of it, you could take her out on a harness. Some cats like it, some don't. Or do you have an enclosed back garden, or cat-proof garden? She might like places that are high up as well.
    Treaclesmum, sandy-cat and chillminx like this.
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