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What Do Savannah Cats Eat? Nutrition Facts & FAQ

Savannah cats are hybrid cats developed by crossing African servals with domestic cats. They’re known for their long legs, big ears, and gorgeous spotted coats. These beauties tend to be on the large side, with some males tipping the scale at more than 25 pounds.

Savannahs often live relatively long lives, with some still zipping around in their 20s. Most have black, brown, silver, or smoke coats highlighted by black or brown spots. These cats love to chase things; they have tons of energy and extremely high prey drives. Although they have wild ancestry, most Savannahs enjoy being around people.

When it comes to diet, Savannah cats require a bit more protein than the average housecat, but they’re usually fine eating a high-quality, high-protein, low-grain commercial formulation. Some breeders recommend supplementing Savannah cats’ diets with extra protein from meats such as chicken.

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Do All Savannah Cats Require the Same Type of Food?

Yes. All Savannah cats have heightened needs for protein due to the breed’s tendency to become taurine deficient. Taurine is an amino acid that cats require for optimal immune and cardiac functioning, and it’s only available to cats through the consumption of animal-based proteins.

The breed also does best on a non-grain diet, with many having a particular sensitivity to corn. Savannahs still have the digestive system tendencies of their wild ancestors that didn’t eat kibble with corn or pea fillers, so these gorgeous hybrid cats often have trouble digesting cat food with grains. Earlier generations (F1 and F2s) are often more inclined to experience grain-triggered digestive difficulties.

Feeding kittens chicken supplemented with essential vitamins and nutrients appears to be common among breeders. And many suggest adding a bit of extra meat to your Savannah’s diet to ensure your cat gets enough protein.

According to the American Association of Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) guidelines, cats require a diet consisting of at least 26% protein and 9% fat to thrive. And Savannah cats require substantially more protein than the average cat to remain healthy.

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Image Credit: Kolomenskaya Kseniya, Shutterstock

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What Types of Commercial Formulations Are Best for Savannah Cats?

Because Savannah cats have such high protein needs, they require high-protein formulations. Ultimately, you’ll need to serve a high-protein, no-grain formulation.

How Often Do Savannah Cats Need to Be Fed?

Give your cat dry food in the morning, and measure the portion to prevent them from gaining weight due to overfeeding. Feed your cat an appropriately sized serving of wet food for dinner, and top that off with a few treats and a bit of meat for good measure every night.

Limit your pet’s consumption of human food as it often contains ingredients such as onions and garlic that are toxic to cats. Human food is also high in fat, salt, and calories, making it horribly unhealthy for kitties.

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Image Credit: Kolomenskaya Kseniya, Shutterstock

Can Savannah Cats Eat Raw Meat?

Yes. Savannah cats can eat raw meat, although the jury is still out on whether or not cats benefit from raw food diets. Commercial products make it easy to feed your cat a well-rounded, nutritionally sound raw diet. Just look for high-protein, grain-free products that feature an AAFCO statement of nutritional adequacy, which signals that the product contains sufficient protein, fat, and calories, as well as all core nutrients, such as specific amino acids and vitamins.

Keep in mind that there’s no scientific evidence that raw food is more bioavailable than high-quality cooked proteins. Nor is there evidence suggesting that raw diets have any benefit when it comes to feline health or longevity. Raw diets are sometimes associated with an increased risk of developing gastrointestinal problems, including vomiting and diarrhea linked to E.Coli and Salmonella exposure.

While Savannah cats can eat raw meat, there’s no scientifically-backed reason to feed them an exclusively or primarily raw meat diet. Safe raw feeding requires special safety measures, including thorough hand washing before and after handling any uncooked meat products. You’ll also have to disinfect all cutting boards and utensils that come into contact with raw meat.

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Image Credit: webandi, Pixabay

What About Homemade Raw Options?

While homemade raw options give you control over what your pet eats, they can be difficult to manage. Not only is there a chance your cat won’t tolerate the meal, but getting the ingredients right and ensuring your cat gets all the nutrients they need can be quite challenging.

If you’re thinking about switching your cat to a homemade raw diet, consult with your veterinarian for guidance. They should be able to connect you with a feline nutritionist who can work with you to develop a healthy homemade option for your cat.

Keep in mind that you’ll most likely need to supplement your cat’s diet with several vitamins and minerals and that raw food diets are often more expensive than high-quality commercial options. Homemade diets also require much more legwork than commercial kibble and canned food, so make sure to take the convenience factor into consideration when making your decision.

Are Savannah Cats Dangerous With Other Pets?

Savannah cats are far from dangerous, as long as you’re not a mouse or a gerbil. Savannahs aren’t known for playing nicely with small mammals since they still have strong prey drives. Savannahs don’t do well in homes with gerbils, mice, and other small mammals. And aquarium fish aren’t safe around these cats either—Savannahs typically love water and aren’t above engaging in some creative indoor “fishing.”

Savannahs aren’t overly aggressive. They’re not inclined to chase small children or fixate on visitors. They enjoy being around people even if they don’t always want to be held. But a Savannah cat allowed unsupervised access to the outdoors is likely to prey on local birds and wildlife and may even stalk smaller neighborhood cats and dogs. The International Cat Association (TICA), the largest feline breed registry in the world, recommends that these kitties stay safely indoors unless leashed and supervised.

Image Credit: totinaster, Pixabay

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Final Thoughts

Savannah Cats are hybrid felines, which means they have special dietary needs as their digestive systems are still closely related to those of their wild African serval ancestors. While Savannahs can eat commercial kibble and wet foods without problems, for the most part, these active, athletic cats need special formulations as they have high protein needs and difficulties digesting grain.

Veterinarians recommend feeding these cats high-quality, high-protein, grain-free food. Many breeders suggest supplementing your Savannah cat’s diet with a bit of high-quality meat, such as chicken, to ensure your pet receives sufficient protein.

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Featured Image Credit: glacierman, Flickr