Savannah Cat Diet Guide To Keep Your Exotic Beauty In Top Shape
At present, there are no breed-specific health issues for the Savannah cat, but there is a heated debate about the best food to provide these beautiful cats to keep them healthy.
Some breeders insist that raw food is essential for Savannahs with at least 32% protein and no by-products (especially for the F1s) or at minimum a very high quality diet with no grains or by-products.
Other breeders dismiss the fuss over raw food and argue that Savannahs are healthiest when they eat both canned and dry food daily.
Recommendations are usually for a high quality protein and grain-free cat kibble along with daily servings of human grade canned meat.
Some of the most successful breeders have had success with canned and dry food for many years.
Introduction To Cat Food
The three types of prepared cat goods are dry, semi-moist and canned with the amount of protein, fat and minerals varying significantly in each type of product.
Dry food is less energy-dense and less palatable to most cats but has the advantage that it can be left unrefrigerated and your Savannah can snack as it pleases.
(Savannahs love to snack rather than eat large meals.) Free-choice dry food is cleaner, easier to handle and is less expensive than other cat food.
Semi-moist cat food contains preservatives to prevent spoilage and other elements to retain water.
The chemical additives in these foods can cause a significant increase in water consumption which can be particularly hard on the small kidneys of higher generation Savannahs.
Most breeders discourage their use for health reasons.
There are two main kinds of canned cat food:
- Rations: contain soy, cereal, meat, vitamins and minerals
- Gourmet Food: more meat, vitamins and minerals and less vegetable matter
Investment in higher quality gourmet cat food is one of the best ways to avoid expensive veterinarian bills. Rations are not recommended for Savannahs as they usually contain grains and are generally of poorer quality.
Gourmet foods contain the higher percentage of meat needed by Savannahs, but even the rodents hunted by the Savannah's ancestors were not all meal. The African Serval would have eaten all of the bones and stomach contents as well as the muscles of their wild catch.
A high quality, canned formulation will imitate this wild meal by adding other ingredients and supplements to the beef, pork, chicken or fish.
Cat Food Ingredients
When choosing a cat food, it is important to understand the importance of three distinct ingredients: protein, fat and minerals.
Some breeders argue that a Savannah cat diet should contain at least 32% protein. While this target seems to favour either raw food or canned food, some canned cat food includes only 10% protein while a dry food may contain 35% protein by dry weight.
Protein digestibility also ranges amongst products from 80% for dry foods to 90% for canned meat diets.
Cats do not need fat as they get their energy from protein and carbohydrates. However, fats add palatability to the food and some fat is necessary for metabolism of fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E and K) and proper storage.
Dry foods are lowest in fat and canned foods are the highest ranging from 9-20%. A natural diet in the wild probably contained about 40% fat but this does not mean you need to add fat to the diet of your house-bound Savannah.
In the past, cat food with excessively high mineral content caused Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease (FLUTD) formerly known as Feline Urological Syndrome (FUS).
Some cat foods are now specially formulated to maintain acidic urine to minimize the risk of FLUTD but most high quality canned cat foods now contain a proper balance of minerals.
Consistent quality is an important consideration when choosing cat food for your beautiful Savannah. Producers of the lower cost foods will often use a least-cost-formula, which results in variations in ingredients as the prices of the ingredients fluctuate.A high quality brand will use a fixed-formula that remains constant even when the ingredients become more expensive.