Cats in general are carnivores but the study of Savannah Cats exerts a uniquely powerful influence about their DNA.
Evolutionary gene alterations in the hybridization of Savannah Cats have reduced the ability of the Savannah to digest carbohydrates and has increased their muscle strength and agility, making them better hunters like their Serval ancestors. This gives a variety of important factors into feeding your Savannah Cats and Kittens.
In an earlier wild and exotic cat genome study, scientists learned that genes involved in vision and sense of smell are evolving rapidly.
The common house cat shares over 95.6% of their genes with a Siberian tiger.
So a fun little fact: because the Savannah is a hybrid of a Serval and a domestic breed, your Savannah, depending on the generation, may have genes of both the Serval and a Siberian tiger.
As carnivores, Savannah Cats require meat to survive. They also5 have several additional unique dietary requirements that can only be met with a meat-based diet.
It is important to understand that Savannah Cats must eat animal meat and organs to meet their nutritional needs. Luckily science has helped Cat food companies to improve their recipes to add more protein and essential vitamins to their products.
Cats in general lack the specific enzymes necessary to use plant proteins as efficiently as animal proteins. Amino acids are important for your kitten and cat's health as they are the building blocks of protein. The proteins derived from animal tissue contain a complete amino acid profile. You cannot have your Savannah Cat on a completely plant-based grain-only based diet for the proteins do not contain all the amino acids critical for the health of an obligate carnivore.
Humans, and even dogs (to a limited extent) have the physiological ability to turn plant proteins into the missing pieces needed for a complete amino acid profile. A cat's body isn't equipped for it whatsoever.
Why Your Spotted Friend Needs so Much Animal Meat
Savannah kittens require 1.5 times more protein than puppies.
Adult Savannah Cats need two to three times the amount adult dogs require.
This is because while other mammal species use most of the protein they consume for growth and body maintenance, cats use it for those purposes and also as a source of energy.
When other animals are fed a low-protein diet, their bodies conserve amino acids to manage the deficit. But a cat's body must continue to use protein even when there's not enough in the diet.
Savannah Cats have a higher requirement for certain specific amino acids found naturally in animal tissue. This is why we always suggest, although your Savannah Kitten may be fed a high protein wet or canned food diet, it is important to also give them raw or cooked chicken, turkey or feeder mice/bird sometimes as well.
One of the most important minerals in a cat's diet is taurine, which is found only in animal muscle meat, particularly found in the heart and liver. Taurine deficiency can cause serious health problems in cats, including cardiovascular disease and blindness.
Savannah Cats Also Have Distinct Dietary Vitamin Requirements
All Cats including the Savannah Cat have a special requirement for vitamin A, which is provided naturally only in animal tissue. Cats lack the intestinal enzymes necessary to convert beta-carotene found in plants to the active form of vitamin A. Vitamin A is essential for vision, bone growth, muscle growth, reproduction and the health of epithelial tissues.
Cats also require five times more dietary thiamine (vitamin B1) than dogs. A thiamine deficiency can result in a poor-quality coat, loss of appetite, hunched posture, neurologic problems including seizures and even death.
Since vitamin B1 isn't stable in commercial pet foods and levels drop significantly the longer the food is stored. The issue is if using a supplement.. most B vitamins come from China.
Your Savannah cat must also consume vitamin D in their diet because they cannot synthesize it through their skin! The liver and fatty tissues of prey animals are rich in vitamin D.
Cats must also receive arachidonic acid, an omega-6 fatty acid, from their diet.
Your Savannah Needs a Moisture-Rich Diet
One more distinctive biological feature of your beautiful Savannah Kitten, is their need to get most of their water intake from the food they eat. Although your Savannah may seem to drink more water than a normal cat, most cats in general are not as responsive as other animals to sensations of thirst or dehydration.
Because cats do not tend to drink constantly, this can result in chronic mild dehydration, a condition that will ultimately result in disease, especially of the lower urinary tract and kidneys.
Can My Savannah have Grains?
It is important for your Savannah to also have the ability to consume grass and have some grains once in a while such as wheat, corn, oats, barley and rice (unless allergic) Grains are still important in your cat's diet. There is no conclusive evidence that whole grains are harmful to your cat. A lot of dry cat foods contain grains as fillers, but they do have great digestive properties with fiber, some vitamins and minerals and essential fatty acids as well. We suggest to have a good quality dry cat food available for your Savannah Kitten and Cat throughout the day.
What About a Raw Diet?
A Raw Diet is an exceptional way to feed your Savannah Cat. Some breeders and cat owners use the Raw Diet as a main source of feeding their kittens and cats.
We do not stick to a complete Raw Diet here at Luxury Savannahs but we do give our Cats and Kittens a lot of raw to enjoy in addition to the wet and dry cat foods we provide.
Follow the link to our blog post on:
How to make a RAW DIET at home.
Canned/ Wet Food:
Keep in mind when feeding your Savannah Kitten canned/wet food that you pay attention to their stomach. If your kitten has upset stomach, gas, or bowl issues when eating a certain brand please replace that brand with something else.