F1 Savannah Cat for sale....no, not worded correctly. I’ll try again.
Beautiful F1 Savannah Cat who loves her Mummy and her other F1 friends so much but not the serval she lives with....
Not really the ideal sales advert or the ideal solution for either the cat in question or myself.
Owning early generation hybrids and wild cats means that you really do need to be responsive to their needs and change things to suit them where possible. Sometimes when a group have been friends through a juvenile period, after becoming Mothers themselves or even approaching adulthood, the hormones can really upset the balance in a cattery environment, even in large enclosures. We always aim to keep the cats occupied through various enrichment experiences and change things up regularly within their enclosures. Sometimes when the cats take a dislike to each other, they can stay in their “mood” for weeks and even months at a time. You, as a responsible owner, must take the sufficient steps to ensure there is a balance at all times.
Emira our F1 Savannah has always been the most stand-off-ish out of our F1’s and a bit less predictable. She was completely un-socialised when we got her, which meant she was absolutely terrified to come near us. Our advice when we received her was, “here is some Supermarket branded pouches with gravy, she likes those best and kibble along with a couple of mice”. I kept her on the Tesco value sachets and biscuits for the first few weeks as I didn’t want to make her feel even worse. We then moved to what she should’ve been on and that was raw meat. The breeder had also kindly included a blanket – for comfort of smell you would think? No, the blanket was for picking her up with, it was for our 'protection', not for the comfort of the kitten. We were advised not to look her in the eyes and put the blanket over our hands before picking her up, ideally from her backed into a corner so we could control her spitting fit. “She is an F1” we were told. “This is what they are like at 10 weeks, totally wild but will come round through time”.
Emira was our first F1, we were very naïve and didn’t realise that she was far from what a socialised and loved F1 should be like on arrival. Thankfully all our other F1’s were raised in the family home and loved dearly before they came to us. They purred! Purring is something we never got from Emi until she was with us for about 6 months. I wouldn’t give up on her.
After time progressed Emira came round, never really enjoying male human company despite the endless nights of playing without eye contact and reaching out to her without force from my Husband. She has always been so striking in looks and produced lovely kittens for us. She got on with my female serval so well when she was introduced as a playmate as a kitten. They played great together and even slept beside each other in the indoor sleeping house.
After Emira had kittens, she decided she didn’t like the serval anymore. The serval grew bigger and Emira just ‘felt different’. We resisted the sale of Emi for so long and tried changing the cats round, but then it left everyone else upset. She gave my serval a hard time and then as the serval grew, she got it back twice as hard. “I’ll have to rehome her, it’s the only option to rework the balance”, I said to Gordon. “She just hates this serval and I don’t know what else to do”. I asked a breeder who owns Emira’s sisters at her cattery and she said, “I don’t want her. We have enough problems with her sisters!”. I thought, well, at least Emira is not causing any problems when she is not with the serval, so that is a bonus!
F1 Savannah cats are notorious, along with servals for imprinting on one (to two at the most) human. They do this from a young age, within the first few months of their life and that is why getting an F1 no later than 12 weeks is advisable. Getting an F1 after 12 weeks old could be too late and mean that they won’t accept you without a tremendous amount of work, sometimes to no avail. Moving them to a new home can be catastrophic for them and the new owners. I had heard this for years from several breeders, namely of servals and F1's, where they said they would keep all their cats for life…until recently we were told that several breeders cats had been offered for free as an “off-load” to make way for new cats. Along with advice on how never to advertise on certain listings and just to give them away cheap to make it look like you are in demand. They advised me on not selling cats unless they were excellent type and to give away those ones less than perfect, which would ensure your image was perfect because of the way of customer perception. “Everyone is full of shit”, I thought. "I'm my own person, honest, first and foremost and I can make the right decisions for my own cattery". The people who have done this for way longer than us, that preached the best way to care for early generation hybrids and wild cats in the beginning, were doing exactly what they told us never to do - rehoming! You now see their own advice not applying to the person giving it but happy to deceive everyone through hiding the less-than-perfect parts of breeding. I thought to myself, who-ever I decide to home Emi with must have vast amount of experience and be willing to put in the work to bring her round to trusting them. How else could we work out the situation to accommodate, most importantly? But who can I trust?
I reluctantly advertised her. The advert was the largest post I have ever written for an advert on a cat for sale. I boasted about her type, my darling baby, so perfect in every way, the perfect cat. “Doesn’t get along with my serval”, I wrote. I thought this is absolutely killing me.
I received loads of e-mails every day about her. People saw it as a bargain.
“I don’t have a licence but I’ll get one, how much is it?”
“I breed blue puppies because I get £1,000 more a puppy than regular puppies – breed removed- so I’d like an F1 Savannah 'cause they make the most”
“I’ll give you X for her as she is less valuable than a kitten”
It was ALL about money, no-one had a *swear word removed* care about the difficulties in mating F1's. How can I even consider discussing the TYPE of home on offer when we can’t even get past the financial ‘interest’. This isn’t working. To be honest, she is a really friendly F1 now when she is not kittening and I had no concerns with her temperament on a regular day. No-one was really ever going to understand the difference of an F1’s temperament when they have kittens and how to suit/ adjust things to suit an F1 queen which has kittens, when they were more interested in the financial outcome of such kittens. And what happened when they realised how hard it can be to produce F2 kittens or to have live F2 kittens even AFTER a mating has been successful? The thing I most interested in for my F1 was TRUST.
We sat on the bench one evening, as we do, while I have a cup of tea and a chat with the early generation Savannah girls. They know all my stories and secrets. They chat back to me. Emi was reaching up and pawing my face so I would lower it in order for her to reach and give me a head bop. “Ma-ma”, she meowed and I just burst into tears.
I just can’t let my girl go. She is my child and I am her Mother, her world. I have to make this work, there must be another way.
Revelation moment and total re-evaluation of the setup. We pulled together and brain-stormed, drew up plans, put ideas across to each other.
Emira has a new fantastic enclosure pictured above where she now lives happily with some of our other F1’s, her best friends.
The plans were drawn up, the enclosures were all re-worked and within 2 weeks of re-working it all, the equilibrium that we once had, was restored. We now have other enclosures drawn up to ensure that we can move any more girls if required. They are our babies and I couldn’t ever imagine them going anywhere else.
What do you think of your new enclosure Emi?
She just looked at me, just like in this picture below.
"I am home", she said with her eyes, then smiled.
F1 Savannah Cat "NOT" for sale.
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All about Stylisticat, written by Kayleigh McIntosh-Lowrie