Savannah cats are a mix of domestic felines and African wild cats.
They are the largest domestic cat and most intelligent too, to the point that they can be taught simple tricks like jumping through hoops! Keeping these intelligent, active cats as pets can be a challenge, but they’re surprisingly adaptable with most other pets.
A Savannah cat gets along well with other domestic cats and in fact, behaves pretty much as other shorthair cats would. However, when introducing a Savannah to other pet cats, it is a good idea to do so gradually. Allow them to spend a lot of time under supervision before leaving them alone.
Savannah cats get along well with other domestic cats, in fact even enjoy their company since they are very active and have a channel to expend their energy in play rather than in destructive behavior which results out of boredom.
If you are introducing Savannahs to pet cats, you already own or are bringing in a new cat after owning a Savannah there are some steps you can take to make the new addition’s transition and adaption easy.
1. Be sure of the cat’s generation
Savannah cats are rated by a filial system that tells how removed from the wildcat genes they are. F1 is the closest to its wild ancestor and F4 are the furthest removed while still being considered a true Savannah.
Cats beyond F4 are too far removed from the Serval ancestor to be considered true Savannahs.
F1 cats are loners and more aggressive than the F4 cats. F4s are friendly, affectionate and trainable and are considered domesticated, which earlier generations are not.
It stands to reason that the earlier generations will show stronger wildcat genes, and so may not the best fit for a family that already has or plans to get more pets.
F5 onwards are not considered “true Savannahs” and are more domestic cat than Serval. However, always keep in mind these hybrids do contain wildcat genes and have been accepted as a pet breed over the last thirty-odd years.
They are not as domesticated as the cats that have lived in our homes for thousands of years.
2. Socialize your Savannah
If you’re getting a Savannah as a kitten, it is advisable to socialize it early in life. A kitten that is used to different environments and being around different species of animals (cats, dogs and birds) is less likely to take exception to them within the close confines of a house.
Socializing is easier and faster if your Savannah is the only cat brought into your house at the time.
If you’re getting two of them at the same time, they would definitely prefer each other’s company to start with, in which case getting used to and friendly with humans and other pets in the house may take time.
3. Introduce them gradually
Savannahs do have some wildcat genes in them, while some domestic cats may not be very sociable. In either of the cases, there may chances of aggression shown and it is prudent to allow short interactions until the two felines get to be friends who don’t fight.
While introducing them under supervision, make sure there is an escape route for the cat that is feeling threatened. This may be the Savannah or the other cat. In extreme cases, it may take weeks for the two cats to socialize, but by and large things aren’t this bad.
4. Give your Savannah some “me time”.
While Savannahs are social creatures that like being around other pets and their humans, we must remember they are descendants of Servals, which are loners and are territorial.
Being surrounded by humans and pets would keep this social hybrid cat happy but having wildcat genes means they can be a bit unpredictable at times. Give your Savannah some time alone, with toys or cat trees to keep them occupied.
If it is agitated by the proximity of other cats whether they are big or small, remove the hybrid from the area and put it in a room where it will be alone and safe, but with enough items around to prevent boredom, because a bored feline (especially a bored Savannah!) is a destructive feline.
5. Provide plenty of co-play opportunities
Cats need mental and physical stimulation to be healthy and happy. Different breeds require different levels of stimulation, with a Savannah needing quite a lot.
Provide your cats with toys they can play with together, initially under your supervision. Cat wands, raccoon tails, balls and motion toys are great for getting your cats used to each other in a playful, non-threatening environment.
Make sure you’re present at all times until they get used to each other, at the least tolerating the other cat if not being friendly.
6. Give the relationship time
Cats are known to be moody and this could translate into them being difficult when it comes to making new friends.
Don’t foist the newcomer onto the senior pet of the house, neither of them will appreciate it. Gradually introduce one to the other, keeping moods and fears in mind.
If they’re not taking a shine to each other from the start, give them time. Be patient and keep at it. Short durations of interaction multiple times a day and affection shared equally between the cats should go a long way in bringing harmony to your life as a pet parent.
If initial meetings go south, you could always use a spray bottle and a sharp yelp to break up a fight in the making.
7. Separate the litter boxes
There are very, very few cats in the world that will happily share their litter boxes. Litter boxes are personal spaces, and cats are possessive of their personal spaces.
Don’t make your Savannah share a litter box with another cat, it’s not a sensible idea and can make the two cats think of each other as the “space invader,” which will not end well.
A lot of experts and people who have raised cats for years say it is a good idea to have an extra litter box in the house. This will prevent territorial spats between the cats.
Two cats, three litter boxes. Simple.