When your cat does not urinate in its tray, mostly caused by stress, a few tips:

  • Research the cause and origin of the stress and try to remove it. Or is the cause temporary? Is it the stress of the new home without its mother and its brothers and sisters? My cat Amiga is very sensitive to stress; she urinated on the floor a number of times when the new cat enclosures (with the accompanying noise) were being built.
  • Use more litter trays in the area.
  • Remove the cover of the litter trays. My cats prefer trays without covers.
  • Savannahs are smart. I would not use the following method with kittens, but as far as I am concerned it is OK with adult cats. When the cat sits down somewhere to urinate in a forbidden place and you have already followed the tips above, say strictly ‘NO’ and put the cat onto the tray, even if it has already started urinating. When the cat carries on in the tray, happily say ‘WELL DONE’. This works perfectly with my cat Amiga. When she sits down somewhere to start her business and I say ‘NO’, she will walk obediently to the tray and use it. Afterwards I give her positive attention with sweet talk and cuddles.
  • If the urinating outside of the tray is not likely to be caused by stress, take your cat to the vet. There might be a small health problem (urine infection maybe) that can be resolved with the right medication.

When your kitten hisses, scratches or growls when you approach it:

  • Give the kitten space and time to get to know you. I always tell my children or family: don’t pet the cat until she petsyou first. Once this has happened a number of times, you can try to pet it carefully across its back. First pet the kitten only when it walks along your legs and don’t put your hand on the kitten’s head. Only when the kitten fully trusts you, should you pet its head. Providing food is an excellent way to gain trust of a scared cat.
  • Only start picking your cat up once you can pet it without any problems. Cats who do not want to be lifted up, can be trained to with patience. Lift the cat by supporting its belly and place it somewhere nearby, with at the same time using sweet talk. Once used to short distances, you can try extending the time you lift up the cat, by walking a few steps with it and then placing your cat somewhere. You can also try to lift it up and look out of the window with your cat. It is important that cats get used to be lifted up from an early age on, even if they are not lap cats. This prevents problems when your cat has to be put into a travel basket when it needs to visit the vet. The cat has to experience being lifted up as normal and positive.  
  • My cats love sleeping on my lap, but not all Savannahs enjoy being on a lap. Don’t force your cat to do so. Maybe this will come in time.
  • My Savannahs all are very curious. I only show them the travel basket when they really have to go to the vet. Then the travel basket is a new and exciting object and they cannot wait to go in it by themselves. But this doens’t work for everyone. There are also cats that will quickly realize that the appearence of the travel basket means they have to go to the vet.