One of the many reasons pet owners decide to bring home a cat is the convenience of having a litter box. Knowing you can leave the house and not have to worry about your cat having an accident is comforting. However, you may be wondering if your exotic Savannah cat will also use a litter box.
Savannah cats are very intelligent and will easily adapt to litter box training, especially if you start from the moment you bring them home. Many Savannahs are litter trained prior to leaving the breeder. The challenge will be finding the right sized litter box for your Savannah.
Although many Savannah kittens and cats are litter box trained prior to leaving the breeder, it is still important to learn how to properly address litter training. All Savannahs are different and may have different needs, including box size, location, litter type, and the number of boxes available.
Savannah Cats And Litter Boxes
Like many domestic cats your Savannah will also take well to using the litter box. Felines are naturally very clean and neat animals, which is why it is important that you maintain their litter boxes on a daily basis. Regular maintenance will benefit you and your Savannah, preventingunpleasant odors as well as unwanted accidents.
Many breeders will suggest larger covered litter boxesto accommodate for your Savannah’s large size. Savannahs have the potential to weigh up to 30-35 pounds and reach up to22 inches tall, and thereforethey will need something a bit larger than that of the average cat. If you are bringing home a kitten you can slowly upgrade over time based on your Savannah kitten’s growth.
The online market offers many options for your Savannah including large storage container style models. These offerhigh walls at the sides, preventing litter from escaping while also making it easy to clean with removable lids. Other options include custom made boxes that best fit your Savannah and your home’s aesthetics.
If you like a good DIYproject and want to save money, you can make your own litter boxes out of storage totes. These are great because they come in a lot of different shapes and sizes to fit anywhere in your home. You can easily cut an opening on one of the sides or even thetop of the lid. Some cats even learn to sit on top of thelid opening as though it were a toilet.
The DIY storage tote method provides high sided walls to prevent any litter from escaping and to retain odors. Since Savannahs, like other cats, like to see their surroundings while in a vulnerable position (i.e. when using the bathroom), you can also buy aclear tote and paint the lower half. That way your Savannah can see out and around it’s box, while the painted lower half hides the litter.
More Than One
A good rule is to also provide multiple litter boxes for your Savannah, especially if you live in a larger space. This gives them plenty of options for using the bathroom and will help prevent accidents outside of the litter box. This is especially important if you have a multi cat home, where you should provide at least one box per cat. This will prevent territorial conflict and marking.
Additionally, you want to ensure that you have the proper litter for your Savannah cat to prevent messes as well as pain to their paws. Many fine grain clumping clay litters can build up in between your cat’s toes causing them pain and irritation, which can lead to them going outside of the litter box.
Many owners will use all-natural pellet or crystal litters. You can buy all-natural litter for your Savannah cat at nearly every pet store as well as online. Pellet litter is usually made from either recycled paper, pine, or cedar and helps prevent dust and debris as well as being large enough not to stick to your cat’s paws. Crystal litters are usually silica based reducing any risk of allergies as well as dust.
Training Your Savannah Cat To Use The Litter Box
Cats in general have a natural desireto go to the bathroom in sand or soil making it pretty easy to teach them how to use a litter box. If you are bringing home a kitten then you are in luck, as their mother has probably taken care of litter training for you! Most young kittens will learn from their mothers where to relieve themselves, but when moving to a new place they may need areminder.
When you bring your new Savannah home, whether kitten or adult, it is important to remember to let them begin exploring slowly. Giving them a full run of the house, especially a large one when they first arrive, can be stressful and confusing. It can also increase the chances of them not remembering where their litter box is, leading to a higher risk of them having an accident.
For the first week it is probably best to confine your Savannah to one “cat proof” room where you are comfortable leaving them alone. This will serve as their personal space where you can place a litter box suitable for the age and sizeof your Savannah. Kittens often start out with something with low sides and uncovered. Lower sides make it easier for the kitten to access their box.
Give Them A Good View
Adult Savannahs, as stated in the last section, should have high sided litter boxes that are spacious and if possible easy to have a panoramic view. Leaving them in their designated room with some monitored play time outside of the room will get them well acquainted with their new surroundings and location of their litter box. There should be little to no issues getting your cat to use their box.
Once your Savannah is successfully using their new litter box, you can begin to let them have more free rein over your home. As they become more comfortable in their surroundings you will begin to notice places your Savannah prefers. They will often rub their faces and paws on favored areas, leaving behind their scent and thus marking the area as their territory.
Take note of these spaces and consider putting your second litter box in one of these locations. Even with just one Savannah it is still recommended you use at least two litter boxes, especially if you live in a larger home. For a Savannah living in a small apartment one box will do, but if you have multiple cats it is recommended to have at least one per cat.
Now, there are times when your Savannah may have an accident and go outside of their box. Most of the time the issue will beeasily solved by some simple changes in surroundings or habits. As mentioned before, Savannahs are naturally clean and rely on you to keep their box tidy. More often than not a cat going outside of the box is the result of a dirty box, so be sure to scoop once a day.
Other reasons your Savannah may have an accident could be due to stress. Note if there have been anychanges to the environment or your cat’s behavior. Are there certain spaces they no longer go? Is there anew human or pet in the home? Any of these things can cause your cat to become overstressed and have an accident.
Make sure your Savannah has plenty of high spaces like a cat tree or shelves that allow them to get above things. Cats feel comfortable when they are able to overseeall of their surroundings, giving them asense of security. The more comfortable they feel in their home the less likely they will have an accident.
Having a new cat around can also cause stress-induced accidents which is why multiple boxes is a plus, but you should also introduce your new companions slowly. Fast introductions of new cats, dogs, or even humans can cause your Savannah to go into “territorial” mode and urinate in unwanted locations.
More Serious Problems
Additionally, going to the bathroom outside of their box could be your Savannah telling you there’s something much more serious going on. Sometimes feline illness such as a UTI or kidney infection can cause cats to go wherever it is convenient. Look out for signs such as blood in the urine and be sure to take them to the vet right away to address the problem.
Older cats may also start to haveissues with arthritis in their hind legsand in some cases their front paws, making it more difficult to use the litter box. In this case, along with proper pain management,you shouldrevert back to using a low step litter box. Something that is going to be easier to get into but still have high surrounding walls to prevent urine from escaping is best.
If it is not a medical problem and you have already addressed any possible changes of environment or other stressors, you can begin retraining your Savannah to use the litter box.This requiresgoing back to square one of confining your Savannah to one small room or even a pet crate. You want the space to be large enough for them to move comfortably but not wander around.
Usually in a week or so your Savannah will relearn to use their box and be allowed to walk around the house again. If they do have another accident put them back in confinement, and eventually they will associate their accidents with isolation. It can be a tough lesson, but it will get them to relearn to use the box.
Savannah Cats And Toilets
Surprisingly enoughtoilet training cats in general is a pretty popular topic, and cat lovers everywhere want to know more! Toilet training sounds like a pretty convenient way of getting rid of all the stress of the litter box, including the smell. However, it is important to weigh the pros and cons to decide if toilet training is right for your Savannah.
Most cat experts will agree that, while convenient for the owner, toilet training goes against a feline’s nature. Cats are naturally inclined to dig, relieve themselves, and bury the “evidence”, this is part of their biology as a cat. Requiring them to use the toilet forces them to stop these natural behaviors and can even cause anxiety or stress.
Other things to consider are that your cat now has to readjust the way it sits when using the bathroom. This can cause issues later in life by putting strain on their lower spine as well as their hip joints. Older cats would be especially susceptible to these issues causing them pain while using the toilet. If you do have an older Savannah,it is not recommended that you try to toilet train them.
Because it does go against their nature, teaching your cat to use a toilet is more of a forced practice than that of litter training. This could cause some Savannah cats to not take well to the toilet transition and may even lead to going to the bathroom wherever they please. Although highly intelligent, there is always a chance your Savannah is just not meant for the toilet.
As a pet owner you should also consider the fact that if your Savannah is toilet trained it will be harder to monitor their waste. This is important as your cat’s waste can often be the first sign of illness.Having them use the toilet will make it much harder to determine if there is something wrong with your furry friend.
How To Do It
Knowing what you know now, if you still want to proceed with toilet training your Savannah, there are a few simple and easy steps. First, you want to start slowly moving your cat’s litter box closer to your bathroom toilet, little by little. The further away the litter box is from the bathroom the longer this process will take. Sometimes it can be weeks before you make any progress.
If you already have a litter box in your bathroom this will be much easier. Once you are able to have it right next to the toilet with the cover off, be sure to alsoleave the toilet lid open and the seat down.Next, you want to place the litter box directly on the toilet seat to get your Savannah used to the toilet. Eventually, you will remove the box in hopes your cat will go without the box.
There are also plenty of online resources and videos available for pet owners looking to toilet train their Savannahs. Additionally, many online marketplaces and pet stores offer toilet training kits. The kits are specially designed to work better with your toilet rather than having a bulky litter box. Kits will also include instructions and sometimes videos too to make things easier for you.
Savannah cats will use a litter box like any other cat, but it is advised that you give them more than one to choose from, especially if you have a bigger house. Using the right size of litter box is key, and so is using the right cat litter. You can also toilet train your Savannah cat, and while it is not advised, it is an alternative to using litter boxes.