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The Importance of Your Savannah Kitten's First Year at Home With You

Updated: Jun 30, 2022


At Luxury Savannahs we have personally owned and raised servals and have been breeding Savannahs for over a decade and have been able to experience the personality traits of many individual cats and kittens throughout their many years of life. To the new and experienced Savannah owner, the intrigue and understanding of the Savannah is different with each individual kitten as each kitten has their own unique personality.

You may notice that we frequently mention and emphasize the intelligence and emotional awareness of Savannahs- but there is a recognition beyond what anyone can explain without you experiencing it first hand with your own hybrid furry friend.

A Savannah cat is a hybrid of a wild animal and the early generation Savannahs have the most wild blood: F1, F2, F3. The higher in percentage of African Serval in a Savannah does not mean they will be more ‘aggressive’ at all. The African Serval in the wild has not developed aggressive tendencies for in the wild, a Serval only 'hunts' to eat mice, rabbits, lizards, birds, and small animals. They have never had to become aggressive in order to fight to take down their food. In the wild, the Serval is prey to other larger cats, wild dogs, hyenas, etc. so their personality has developed the instinct of the ‘flight’ alternative rather than the ‘fight’ response. Your Savannah would rather run and hide if there is a threat or danger. This is one reason why Savannah Cats make great human companions, even for people with small children.

It is important to be aware that not every Savannah can be tame. They all still have wild blood- Servals in the wild are not as friendly as I made it seem. They are still afraid of predators and have adapted to be able to be able to defend themselves if cornered. A wild cat or hybrid whether big or small, is still wild, and an unsocialized undomesticated Serval and Savannah can be dangerous if not raised or socialized properly. This is why we are certain that the first year of your Savannah kitten’s life is the most important. We truly believe it starts on the day your kitten is born.

If a Savannah Kitten is not socialized immediately following the days and weeks they are born, a Savannah can be very cautious and distrusting of humans and there is a high probability you will have a cat that will not be able to bond to you fully. This is true to most feral domestic cats and dogs as well.

Choosing a breeder that has your kitten’s health and evolving disposition in regards first and foremost is essential to the many years you will endure with your amazing pet. At Luxury Savannahs we strive to raise your kitten with the most socialization, interaction, affection and understanding so that your kitten will develop a trusting, loving and optimistic nature.

When you receive your new kitten, you’ll expect them to be around 12-15 weeks old. Your Savannah was raised in your breeder’s home and set in motion the building blocks of their independence from their mother and their readiness of the transfer over to your home. Within the next 6 to 9 months, your Savannah Kitten will start to develop a life long connection to the people who most interact with them. Early generation Savannahs will normally bond to one or two people more prominently in a family. It is a bond unlike anything we have ever seen as a pet owner. If you spend the time to hold, pet, play with, feed, encourage, kiss, cuddle, sleep with, understand and touch your Savannah, your Savannah will soon imprint onto you. Imprinting is a psychology and ethology term meaning “any kind of phase-sensitive learning (learning occurring at a particular age or a particular life stage) that is rapid and apparently independent of theconsequences of behavior. It was first used to describe situations in which an animal or person learns the characteristics of some stimulus, which is therefore said to be "imprinted" onto the subject.

Imprinting is hypothesized to have a critical period." The best-known form of imprinting is filial imprinting, in which a young animal narrows its social preferences to an object (typically a parent) as a result of (recurring) exposure to that object.

A Savannah imprints for life. If you have built a trusting and positive reinforced relationship with your Savannah within the first year of his or her life, you will reap the rewards for many many years to come. I cannot explain how you know when the imprinting has been completed, but I can explain to you that you will know when it has happened. We have tried to explain it but it is almost impossible. What I can say is, one day you will become aware that your Savannah will sometimes just gaze at you or into your eyes lovingly, trustingly and with adoration even if you aren’t paying attention. Your Savannah will look forward to seeing you every time you come into the room or come home from work or a long trip. They will wait for you at the door when they hear you come home and be so excited to see you when you enter the home and give you head butts or rub up back and forth against your legs or jump into your arms.

When you have the imprint from a Savannah, they will perk up and run to you when you call their name, let you hold them, kiss their face. (we advise you to hold your Savannah constantly especially in the early stages of their life even if they act like they do not like it- they will grow to LOVE being held and even kissed by you).

Your imprinted Savannah will basically ‘let go’ of any and all worries except to please you and to show you their devotion to you. If anyone in your family spends the least amount of time with your Savannah, your Savannah will not give them the same amount of certainty and may still somewhat imprint to them, but minimally. Your Savannah can love every person in your family and show different types of affection. (Similar to treating you as their parent and your children as their siblings) Depending on the introduction of each person and time spent, your Savannah may eventually choose who they will let hold them. If there is not a lot of people being introduced to your Savannah early on, they will most likely stay away from strangers and observe them from afar. If people are introduced often to your Savannah, and they are use to meeting more than only a couple of people, they will learn to be more comfortable with more people and strangers around and most likely let strangers pet them.

As I stated previously, every cat has their own individual personality. You may have a Savannah that will mature and let any and all humans touch and hold them,. You may have a Savannah that will be more particular of who has the privilege to hold them, that could be the cat's specific personality and not as a result of how it was raised. You may have a Savannah that will not let any new owner touch them or hold them at first, but as you work with them learn to love your attention.

If you have other animals in your home, it is important for your Savannah to also bond to them, but if you do not spend the time and attention to your Savannah that is needed within the first year of his or her life, your Savannah may bond/imprint to your other pets and less to you- so be aware that their time with your other pets should be encouraged but limited to an extent, just at first.

After the first year (and even before), once you recognize the bond you have created with your Savannah, you will see the life-long devotion they have for you. An adult Savannah will be more relaxed and sleep more, hang out more like a domestic cat, have less energy as they did when they were a kitten and not require as much attention as they did when they were younger.

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