Savannah Cat Diet
What to feed your Savannah Cat?
We suggest feeding a properly balanced pre-made or home-made raw diet. Providing a balanced raw diet is key otherwise raw is not a healthier option. Properly balanced raw is the healthiest option for your cat. Should you not feed raw we suggest canned cat food over dry food.
What do cats eat?
Cats are obligate carnivores, which means that they rely on nutrients found only in animal products. Cats evolved as hunters that consume prey that contains high amounts of protein, moderate amounts of fat, and a minimal amount of carbohydrates, and their diet still requires these general proportions today. Cats also require more than a dozen other nutrients, including vitamins, minerals, fatty acids, and amino acids. Their systems are set up to metabolize a natural diet high in moisture, high in protein and very low in carbohydrates.
Cats have no dietary need for carbohydrates, carbs are processed and stored as fat. A carb-heavy diet will stress the cat’s digestive system and reduce the efficiency of protein absorption. If the diet does not contain enough animal protein for their daily needs, or they are unable to process an adequate amount of that protein, cats will sabotage the muscles in their own bodies to obtain their daily needs. Additionally, feline satiety is signaled by the ingestion of sufficient amounts of animal protein in their food; lacking it, they will consistently overeat, resulting in yet more carbs being converted to fat.
Cats are unable to synthesize:
Eleven different amino acids arginine, histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tyrptophan, valine, and, taurine.
Niacin. (Cats can create niacin but insufficient to their needs and they must consume it daily.
Vitamins A and D.
Fatty Acid Arachadonic.
Raw Cat Food
Feeding a properly balanced raw diet is the best species appropriate diet possible. Raw is the cheapest option per pound but requires the most planning. Kittens should be fed as much raw as they want twice a day till 1.5-2 years of age (Savannahs grow for a long time!). Adults consume 3%-6% of their body weight in raw but can eat more (Some cats simply burn more energy). If you are concerned your cat is not eating the correct amount please consult your veterinarian, a veterinarian should be able to do a physical exam to asses body condition.
Please visit the following websites for up to date information on feeding raw;
Raw Feeding 101
Feline Nutrition's DYI Raw Recipe
Picture credit to Feline Nutrition’s site!
Canned Cat Food
Seek brands that have a AAFCO-approved nutritional guarantee and adherence to WSAVA guidelines. Avoid canned foods containing peas, lentils, other legume seeds, or potatoes as main ingredients. Limited grain content is ok this includes corn and rice.
What is the WSAVA?
The World Small Animal Veterinary Association is an international group of over 200,000 veterinary professionals. Their mission is to “advance the health and welfare of companion animals worldwide through an educated, committed and collaborative global community of veterinary peers.”
Evidence of scientific formulation
Quality control by manufacturing their own foods.
Research to meet long-term nutritional needs and subject this research to a peer-review process.
Pet foods that carry an AAFCO-approved nutritional guarantee, often referred to as the“AAFCO statement,” are considered to be nutritionally complete and balanced. The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) is a voluntary membership association of local, state and federal agencies charged by law to regulate the sale and distribution of animal feeds and animal drug remedies.
What to avoid in a cat foods?
Avoid a “BEG” diet (Boutique brands, Exotic ingredients, Grain replaced with pulse).
Boutique brands - A boutique brand is one made by a pet food manufacturer who does not employ an appropriately qualified team of experts to study and formulate their diets. These companies often rely on marketing trends rather than testing and nutritional research.
Exotic ingredients- These are ingredients not classically found in pet foods and consist of animal proteins such as kangaroo, buffalo/bison, ostrich, alligator, duck, lamb, salmon, venison, and rabbit.
Grain replaced with pulse- Traditional grains have been replaced with pulse ingredients (legume seeds such as peas, lentils, various beans and chickpeas) and it is these pulse ingredients that are currently thought to be a major contributor to the development of NM-DCM. *
Dry Cat Food
What to look for in dry cat food?
We do not suggest a dry diet for the numerous reasons above. Your cat does not need dry food. Seek brands that have a AAFCO-approved nutritional guarantee and adherence to WSAVA guidelines. Avoid foods containing peas, lentils, other legume seeds, or potatoes as main ingredients. Limited grain content is ok this includes corn and rice.
Feed raw and your cats poop will smell less, in fact often it has little to no smell. Most cats fed a commercially prepared canned or dry cat food have stronger smelling poop. When switching foods a cat can become gassy. Be careful trying out new foods as an imbalance of E-coli can occur that maybe need a round of antibiotics to resolve. Mal-digestion and mal-absorption can result in rancid smelling stools, this can be associated with undigested and unabsorbed fats and starches. Intestinal parasites can also cause diarrhea and gas. Diagnostics will probably begin with a fecal test to check for parasites.
Urinary Tract Issues
Dry cat foods are carbohydrate-laden, low-moisture foods that cause alkaline urine and often chronic dehydration in cats. This can lead to urinary tract inflammation. Cats in the wild don't often have urinary tract problems because they get enough moisture in their food (Rodents are typically 65-75% moisture).
FDA DCM Report
What is the FDA DCM Report?
June 2019, The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is alerting pet owners and veterinary professionals about reports of canine Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM) in cats and dogs eating certain pet foods containing peas, lentils, other legume seeds, or potatoes as main ingredients. hese reports are unusual because DCM is occurring in breeds not typically genetically prone to the disease. Definite causes are unclear, possibly genetic disposition, dietary or both. It is possibly a deficiency or malabsorption earlier in the amino acid pathway, where the cat/dog should be accessing the cysteine and methionine in the foods, or it's a leaching/binding of the taurine in the cat or dog's body by the fiber in legumes and pulses, or both. All companies have had low levels of DCM cases, it is the surge in DCM cases that has raised alarm. For example; Diamond is significantly smaller than Hills and Diamond has 117 cases confirmed by the FDA. Hills has 3 cases confirmed limited only to their grain-free diets. Plant protein in legumes (non-grain) is much higher than grains so, it is difficult to know amount of meat protein vs. plant protein in a food. Lower total meat protein alongside the higher FIBER content of the non-grain ingredients could be an interesting area to investigate.
Can I supplement taurine?
Note that supplementing taurine to a grain free diet will not work because something in the diet is prevent absorption. Taurine is prevalent in hard-working muscle meats like thigh and shoulder meat, tongue and especially heart as well as whole prey and sardines. All supplemented taurine is artificial and made in a laboratory. Most taurine is also sourced from China who is not only the number one exporter but also owns 40 manufacturers of taurine. Considering only 1-3% of imported items are inspected by the US and China has a history of contaminated product. We STRONGLY advise giving fresh (not frozen) raw hard working muscle meats once a week.
DCM Resource Links
Dr. Jean Dodds Responds To FDA Statement
It’s Not Just Grain-Free: An Update on Diet-Associated Dilated Cardiomyopathy
FDA Notice: Potential Link Between Certain Diets and Canine Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM)
Q/A on FDA Possible Connection Between Diet and DCM
The 78-page report of “complaints” submitted by the FDA regarding suspected nutritional DCM is below. These “complaints” as presented have limited notes. This is not complete case information and attempting to draw conclusions is immature at best. It is our believe that this early publication may be either political or possible a attempt to collect more data by making the public aware of a potential problem.
Should I Feed Canned Or Dry Food?
Cornell University, Feeding Your Cat
Raw Feeding Your House-Cat
WSAVA Global Nutrition Committee: Recommendations on Selecting Pet Foods
Dog Cancer Series Facebook (Very educational!)
Rodney Habib Youtube (Pet Food Education)