Human Imprints

Why choose a Belle Hollow Savannah?

Savannah Kittens from Belle Hollow Farms and Exotics are Human Imprints
“Bottle Babies” 

Human imprinting is the process of raising an animal by hand and without a parent of the same species by taking the animal from it’s natural parent prior to openning it’s eyes. The removal of animals at several weeks of age and after they open their eyes from the parent is early socialization not Human Imprinting since the babies have become aware of their natural parent by that time.

The process of human imprinting has been used for thousands of years in the domestication and taming of wild animals.  Human imprinting represses an animal’s instinctive fear of humans. It has long been known in wild and especially predatory species that human imprinting makes for a more manageable and pliable adult animal. Livestock that are raised as “bottle babies” lack the natural fear or “respect” that most domestic animals have. This is not necessarily a good thing in a 1500 pound horse that decides he or she does not want to be obedient (respect translates to fear in prey species) or a 200 pound sheep that wants to say hello and sit in your lap. It is however an excellent trait in a predatory species that is prone to run away from or strike out at humans in fear.

All our F-1 Savannah kittens are now full human imprints and our F-2 Savannah kittens are partial human imprints. That is, F-1 Savannahs from Belle Hollow Farms and Exotics are taken from their mothers at the moment of birth. Our F-2 kittens are taken at about 5 days. We have found that imprinting higher percentage cats makes a huge difference in their basic personality and in their ability to fit into a domestic lifestyle.

The parent Servals used in our program were taken from their mother about the time they were opening their eyes. This process of partial human imprinting made Jeffree and Radar confident cats comfortable in the presence of their bonded human keepers. Just like the wild parent, our Savannah kitten’s human imprinting represses any initiate fear of humans from their wild parent or grandparent and makes them a more amiable and confident Savannah cat. Although it is completely possible to allow a domestic cat to raise a Savannah, as we have in the past, the close contact of human imprinting helps to allay the natural Serval side of the Savannah personality. Further, since most domestic cats have the capacity to return to their feral side and can be shy when raising kittens, imprinting can make a huge difference in the socialization of kittens. When raising kittens mother cats are naturally protective and this apprehension about people, especially strangers, is relayed to her kittens in body language and tension, which we as humans do not recognize. Our Savannah kittens are much more accepting of strangers than most other early generation Savannahs.

We find partial imprinting of F-2 Savannahs especially beneficial since their mothers, F-1 Savannahs, revert more to their wild half when raising kittens. This can make the F-2 generation Savannah kittens even more potentially shy than the F-1 generation. After all, F-1 kittens when mother raised, are still raised by fully domestic cats. F-2 Savannahs are raised by half wild (F-1 Savannah) mothers and when you throw in hormones these F-1 Moms can be pretty wild and raise their kitten as such.

We are so confident in our human imprinting program! Let us give you the name of one of our current F-1 owners – they will tell you how good their cats are with their families and with strangers, unlike other F-1 Savannahs. An early generation Savannah is a big investment both in your heart and in your pocket book.

Starting out with an exceptionally friendly & pliable kitten is better than trying to make one!