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Eevee's Adoption Story

This is the story of how Eevee our hiking cat came into our life. Eevee was surrendered to me (Jordyn) when she was 6 months old (around December of 2018). At the time I was working and volunteering with rescue groups. I currently had Cheshire and Alice who were 8 months old and Jade who was 6 months old. I was very interested in getting an exotic type of cat but I didn't want to purchase a cat ( we as a family are firm believers in adoption). Now we do not have anything against legit and knowledgable breeders, but working in the vet industry we see so many back yarding breeding cases gone wrong and surrenders/adoption has always been a core belief for us.

For those not versed in Savannah cats here is some information regarding them before I continue on. Savannah cats are a hybrid cat crossed between the African Serval and the domesticated cat. They are divided in to categories ranging from F1-F5 (F stands for filial generation or breeding line) F1 is going to be 100% African Serval; F2 would be 50% serval and 50% domesticated cat; F3 would be 35%-12% serval; and F4 would be 25%-10% serval (Eevee falls into the F4 catergory). The range depends on the breeding line and now most of these cats are also bred with bengals to ensure the wild traits and coat patterns are present (Eevee is also part bengal!). These cats are highly intelligent, highly sociable, and require lots of exercise and enrichment. While these cats are highly sociable their temperament can range, like any animal with a high prey and energy drive if they do not have an outlet they can lash out and become aggressive. These cats are also very vocal, most constantly talking and or meowing; these cats require an owner that is willing to put in a lot of effort and time into them.

Now that you understand more about her breed we'll get back to Eevee's story. Around November of 2018 one of my colleagues sent me a post from an online thread looking to re-home their Savannah cat. I decided to reach out and see if I could help. After discussing with this owner and seeing pictures and video of Eevee I had already fallen in love. The owner was looking to re-home her because he had taken a new job and was not home for long periods of time and felt she deserved better. He explained that she had anxiety since she was home alone most of the time and had started to eat less and less. He was looking for someone to take her that would be willing to put her needs first, he said many people had reached out to him looking to breed her because she was a Savannah. I explained that I had 3 other rescue kittens all in her age range and one of my first tasks would be to get her spayed and work with her anxiety. He thought I would be a great fit and we arranged a time to meet for me to pick her up! I packed up my car and drove to Orlando to go get my girl (about 2 hours from me). The exchange went well and her previous owner was extremely nice (honestly somewhat embarrassed about the situation), he said her name was Eevee because she looked like the Pokemon! Which I kept because I am a huge fan of it and she does look like the Pokemon! Now before I continue I want to say I have no hate for this owner and I have never thought he did anything intentionally to hurt Eevee, I fully believe he fell into the sad trend of social media. Cats especially exotic looking ones have become a trend that people take part in when they gain popularity online. All cats whether exotic or not are not simple pets, they do not like to be left alone and are very social creatures. This idea is not often portrayed very well, most of the fancy cats also have very extensive health or behavioral needs that require time and money. So again no hate to this owner and think it can be appreciated that he figured out before it was too late that what was best for Eevee was a new home.

So after I had her packed up I headed home, and she proceeded to meow the whole car ride. To help with the introductions to my other cats I took one of their blankets and put it in Eevee's kennel.

First night with me

Cats are very scent based creatures by doing this it can speed up the acceptance time because they associate her with being part of the pack since she had their scent on her. Finally we got home and it was time to start introductions. I started by introducing to one room at time, she was honestly not interested. The first thing she did was jump on chest and start licking my face. After a few hours I introduced my cats, Cheshire just sniffed her and moved on. Alice, who is my oldest female, started hissing and Eevee's reaction left them shocked. Eevee obviously had never been around other cats so she paid no mind to them and walked right past them. Alice was in shock that Eevee did not care, this was for the best kept the cat spats to a minimum for the months to come. Jade who was used to being the baby of the family was very dramatic about this whole situation and ran up to me jumped into my lap and started crying. I couldn't help but laugh, eventually Jade and Eevee would become quite the pair.

For the next weeks to come it was about getting Eevee settled and teaching her how to be a cat. She had no idea how to play, I would show her toys and try to get her to play but she would just give a confused look. A lot of her time the first weeks were spent watching my cats play and interact with each other. It was saddening to me as it's hard to see a baby cat of her age not understand what playing was. The other issue with Eevee was her anxiety, leaving the house was a huge issue for her. The first 2-3 weeks of owning her I took off work and started by leaving the house for small increments of time. I used treats and kennel training to help soothe her anxiety. Most of you are probably like kennel training? I though that's just for dogs. Savannah cats are very similar to dogs and when they get overstimulated having a safe place to decompress is a great training tool. The first few weeks of having her I used the kennel to teach her it was safe to sleep, how to calm down, and how to feel safe when I left. Another task I was working on was increasing her food intake, her anxiety made her uninterested in eating. I had to get her to a certain weight to get her safely spayed because she was underweight at the time. She even had to wear a sweater to keep her warm!

By week three of having her I was exhausted mentally. I questioned whether I was doing the right thing. I had kept her meltdowns to 1-2 a week, occasionally getting bit when she would get overstimulated or leave the room. But she proved me wrong when we hit a month together. I woke up to her and Jade cuddling! You can imagine I was ecstatic, this is the first time I saw her interacting with them. It only got better from there, she started playing with the other cats. I would find them playing chase and wrestling together more often. She even started taking care of Cheshire with the other females (Cheshire is my

Eevee and Jade cuddling for the first time

only male cat and is somewhat mentally challenged. He cannot take care of himself and has been this way all his life! I'll make a special post about him). It was then I started to wean her off of the kennel, and within a few months she didn't have to stay in it when I wasn't home. I would come home to her cuddling with her siblings. I did get her up to the goal weight and got her spayed, which we successfully got through the dreaded cone.

After Eevee became more comfortable she started venturing outside. She would bolt outside any chance she got! And to prove her Savannah skills even jumped from my second story to the ground smoothly like it was nothing! It was then I went online got her a special harness and started leash training her. She took to walks very quickly and learned that her harness meant she was allowed outside. It was her favorite time and if left out she would drag it around screaming at me to take her out. Time went on like it always does and eventually Ann came into our lives. To say Eevee liked her would be an understatement. She would follow her around, she loves the way Ann plays with her (video of them playing below!) and liked to sleep between her legs( Ann is a lot warmer then me and Eevee is a sucker for anything warm)! Eventually we decided to try and take her new places outside of the complex and well the rest is history. Eevee took to the hiking very well, honestly she thinks she's the queen of the woods. Having all the cats together obviously means there are days when the female cats have their spats but it comes with having them all together. To prevent issues we have cat cameras and have a special Eevee kennel that she uses to decompress (she literally goes in and closes the door herself when she wants break from everyone!). While she has her quirks which we all do she definitely adds her spice to the pack and was one the best Pokemon we caught!

-Jordyn, Ann, and Eevee

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