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The 5 Best Dry Foods For Savannah Cats

One of the challenges you may face owning a Savannah cat is finding a high-quality kibble that still supports all the special dietary needs of your special hybrid cat. Dry foods are notorious for containing fillers and other unwanted ingredients, so it is important to do your research. 

The 5 best dry foods for Savannah cats are:

  1. Orijen Regional Red: Biologically Appropriate Cat Food
  2. Nulo MedalSeries High-Meat Kibble Limited Ingredient Diet
  3. Canidae Grain-Free Pure Ancestral Freeze-Dried Raw Coated Turkey & Salmon Dry Cat Food
  4. Stella & Chewy’s Raw Coated Kibble
  5. Tiki Cat Born Carnivore

These foods have been specially selected by Savannah cat breeders as well as owners for their well balanced and natural ingredients that will satisfy your Savannah’s wild roots. We’ll take a closer look at each one below, before discussing more about what you should and shouldn’t feed your Savannah.

The 5 Best Dry Foods For Savannah Cats

1. Orijen Regional Red: Biologically Appropriate Cat Food

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Right away the packaging tells you this food is biologically created for cats and contains all-natural ingredients. As far as dry food goes this is as close to raw you will get without needing cold storage. Additionally, this food contains 90% high quality animal ingredients from credible sources, uses no unnecessary fillers, and is grain free.

The Ingredients

The top 12 ingredients are: deboned beef, deboned wild boar, deboned goat, deboned lamb, lamb liver, beef liver, beef tripe, wild boar liver, deboned mutton, beef heart, whole mackerel, and deboned pork. These fresh meat ingredients are then followed by species specific meats such as goat, beef, and lamb. Many of the meats in Orijen are dehydrated raw ingredients retaining all their nutrients.

Whole Prey Food

Orijen is considered to be a whole prey food as it provides all parts of the animals that felines naturally consume in the wild. As a hybrid species, this is especially important for Savannahs who share their genes with the wild African serval.

However, this food is quite expensive, and the price and will run you about $70 for a 12-pound bag. This is not to say it isn’t worth the price given its high-quality ingredients, but for some Savannah owners this may be a bit steep.

Different Recipes

While overall this food appears to be of the highest quality when it comes to dry kibble there have been some complaints by consumers that their US recipe does differ from their Canadian recipe. In 2016 Orijen opened a new kitchen facility in Kentucky where the recipe notably changed due to the difference in Canadian and American pet food regulations.

A main complaint from consumers in the United States is that the Kentucky formula contains higher concentrations of legumes (beans) than the Canadian recipe which is considered to be a poor source of protein for cats. Additionally, some have complained the change in recipe due to where the ingredients are sourced have caused problems with their cats such as vomiting and diarrhea.

Despite a low percentage of negative reviews about the new recipes Orijen has yet to be recalled in the United States for causing hazardous health issues for pets. Overall, they have maintained their high-quality name and still come highly recommended by Savannah and pet owners alike.

PROS:

  • High-quality ingredients
  • Very well balanced

CONS:

  • Quite expensive
  • Varying recipes by location

2. Canidae Grain-Free Pure Ancestral Freeze-Dried Raw Coated Turkey & Salmon Dry Cat Food

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Canidae is a very close second place when it comes to a biologically appropriate kibble for your Savannah, offering about 70-80% animal protein. It also comes in a variety of different types including chicken, turkey, lamb, salmon, and duck. Like Orijen, this food does use raw ingredients, and in this case, they are freeze dried and used to coat the dry kibble.

Canidae prides itself on providing high-quality cat food at a reasonable price compared to Orijen, and it will cost you around $35 per 10-pound bag versus Orijen’s $70.00 for 12 pounds. This is incredibly reasonable considering this food’s high-quality ingredients.

The Ingredients

The top 14 ingredients are as follows: Turkey, salmon, lamb meal, chicken meal, turkey meal, peas, dried egg, duck meal, potatoes, sun cured alfalfa, chicken fat, natural flavor, flaxseed, and freeze-dried pheasant. As you can see this food has plenty of variety for your Savannah – and it will be tasty too!

While not really something that will affect your Savannah, there have been some customer reviews that have mentioned this kibble has a strong scent. Many have said it has a strong fishy smell which can linger, which is great for your kitty but maybe not so much for you! If strong smells bother you this food may not be the best choice, or you may just have to relocate your Savannah’s food bowl.

Other minor complaints are that some cats just don’t care for the food, and recommend that you try a smaller trial bag to begin with. In general, starting out with a smaller bag mixed with your Savannah’s current food is a good rule of thumb. Additionally, this food contains peas and potato which for some is seen as an unnecessary additive to boost protein content while saving on animal protein.

PROS:

  • Good price for the quality ingredients
  • Plenty of options when it comes to flavor

CONS:

  • Quite strong smelling
  • Some filler ingredients

3. Nulo MedalSeries High-Meat Kibble Limited Ingredient Diet

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If Orijen is out of your price range, then Nulo MedalSeries’ chicken or turkey recipes are great options for your Savannah cat. The cost of an 11-pound bag is around $40. Nulo offers less variety than the Orijen brand, but it is still a protein-packed food free from grains, fillers, preservatives, and unnamed animal sources.

Nulo boasts that “On average, 83-90% of the protein in our MedalSeries diets for cats comes from animal sources, which provides your cat with the ideal amino acid profile!” Additionally, they use whole food carbohydrates like sweet potatoes and chickpeas which keep the carbohydrate percentage low. This food has been approved for all life stages of your Savannah – from kitten to senior.

The Ingredients

The top 12 ingredients found in this food are: deboned chicken, chicken meal, yellow peas, green lentils, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols & citric acid), whole flaxseed, miscanthus grass, chicken hearts, chicken livers, natural chicken flavor, salmon oil, and chicken cartilage.

You can also rest easy knowing that Nulo foods have never been recalled for any reason. While their ingredients are not all locally sourced and come from North America, New Zealand, and France, they are heavily inspected for quality and health assurance.

Smaller Selection

While still a perfectly viable option for your Savannah, Nulo offers less variety compared to the leading brands, using mainly poultry and fish. You will not find any Nulo MedalSeries cat foods that contain lamb, beef, pork, or other similar varieties such as what you find from Orijen.

One common complaint from Savannah cat owners is that Nulo contains pea proteins, which is a controversial ingredient, with some claiming it serves no real nutritional value. For some, added pea protein is just a way for the company to boost the protein percentage on the packaging. But overall, this is still a high-quality dry food for your Savannah.

PROS:

  • Good value for money
  • Reliable company
  • Suitable for Savannahs of all ages

CONS:

  • Not much variety in flavor
  • Contains a lot of pea protein

4. Stella & Chewy’s Raw Coated Kibble

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Stella & Chewy’s is a well-known and highly rated brand with years of experience and customer satisfaction, which is why we rank it in the top five best dry kibbles for your Savannah cat. You can also take comfort in knowing that this company sources their animal proteins from free-range and wild-caught sources, avoiding using factory farmed animals.

Ingredients

This food also hits the sweet spot of affordability without sacrificing quality ingredients. It costs around $30 for a 10-pound bag. It’s very comparable to Nulo in terms of ingredients, which include whole chicken, chicken meal, lentils, peas, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols), chicken liver, natural chicken flavor, chicken gizzard, fenugreek seed, and salmon oil.

Overall, Stella and Chewy’s offers 65-70% animal protein which is still a significant amount compared to other commercial brands. Additionally, all ingredients are sourced and prepared in the United States, where the company is based.

This food overall does not seem to have any real complaints from consumers other than those who view peas and lentils as unnecessary proteins and not part of a cat’s natural diet. Another consideration would be the lack of variety of animal proteins available as they are limited to poultry and fish. Additionally, the percentage of animal protein is slightly lower than other brands.

PROS:

  • Responsibly sourced animal proteins
  • Good value for money

CONS:

  • Lower level of animal protein than other brands

5. Tiki Cat Born Carnivore

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This food offers 80% of its proteins from animal sources and uses no GMOs or other unnatural ingredients. Its carbohydrates are made up of whole peas and chickpeas versus corn and other hard to digest grains. Tiki Cat has been rising in popularity for its healthy food practices and reliable ingredient sources.

Tiki Cat’s top 12 ingredients are as follows:deboned chicken, chicken meal, herring, salmon meal, herring meal, dried egg product, peas, tapioca, natural chicken flavor, brewers dried yeast, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols and citric acid), and chickpeas. Overall, this is a well-balanced food that offers easy digestibility, high protein, and clean ingredients. 

Heavy On The Fish

Tiki Cat comes in last mainly because of its price in comparison to the higher quality foods listed above. While it does offer high animal proteins it also is mainly a fish meal-based food and fish is usually recommended in smaller amounts. This is due to the potential contaminants that can be found in fish. Additionally, it uses a fair amount of added vegetable protein (peas and chickpeas).

An 11-pound bag of Tiki Cat will set you back about $40 and if you are willing to spend that much you might as well spring for the higher quality Nulo or Canidae brands with better animal proteins and better reviews overall. Some consumers have pointed out the high price is related to the food’s recent gain in popularity. With that said it isn’t bad food, you can just get more for your money.

PROS:

  • High protein content
  • Very digestible

CONS:

  • Not the most cost-effective option

7 Ingredients To Avoid In Dry Food For Savannah Cats

1. Meat Byproducts

The American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) define meat byproducts as: “non-rendered, clean parts, other than meat, derived from slaughtered mammals. Includes, but not limited to lungs, spleen, kidneys, brain, livers, blood, bone, partially defatted low temperature fatty tissue, and stomachs and intestines freed of their contents. It does not include hair, horns, teeth, and hoofs.”

While some of those ingredients don’t sound so bad, it’s more about the sources of those animal products. Meat by-products are often not labeled as chicken or other specific animals because it is often a blended medley of several types of mammals. Most come from rendering plants using animals that die from means other than slaughter.

2. Meat And Bone Meals

Defined by the AAFCO as “rendered product from mammal tissues, including bone, exclusive of any added blood, hair, hoof, horn, hide trimmings, manure, stomach and rumen contents.”

Again, because there is not a specific source animal identified the source of the meat and bone meal can come from a variety of unappealing origins. More importantly none of these products are deemed safe for human consumption by the FDA or DOA, so why would you want to feed it to your Savannah?

Note that this is specifically referring to “meat” and “bone” meal, and when the ingredient is specified as “chicken meal” it’s okay!

3. Butylated Hydroxyanisole (BHA), Butylated Hydroxytoluene (BHT), And Ethoxyquin

All three of these chemicals are used as preservatives in fats and oils contained in many commercially made cat foods. These preservatives have been proven to contain known carcinogens as well as reproductive toxins. To make matters worse ethoxyquin is illegal to use in human foods because of its harmful effects, yet it’s fully legal in pet foods and found mostly in fish meals.

4. Corn Meals And Corn Gluten

Let’s face it; your Savannah is not built to consume corn, and many commercial foods will still list it in their top five ingredients. Corn as a meal or gluten is used as a filler and thickener to stretch the food’s value for the manufacturer. Corn is incredibly cheap and goes a long way, saving companies money and using fewer wholesome ingredients, like meat, that cost more.

5. Artificial Food Colorings

Like in human food, added food colorings such as Blue 2, Red 40, and Yellow 5 and 6 have shown to contribute to the development of food-based allergies and hypersensitivity. Food colorings also add no value for your Savannah and are instead just a visual marketing tool for humans.

6. Cellulose

Cellulose is something you should never see in a high-quality food and it’s generally used in cheaply manufactured cat foods as a filler. This highly fibrous substance is often mostly indigestible and can interfere with your Savannah’s natural protein intake. Most felines get their fiber from the animals they consume, not plants, which is where cellulose comes from.

7. Glucose And Dextrose

These compounds are both sugars and do not belong as an additive in cat foods. If you have a high-quality food using real meat products and some fresh vegetables your Savannah will get all the sugar it needs. Adding additional sugars for flavor enhancers or a “browning” effect can potentially lead to feline obesity or diabetes down the line.

These are just a few of the ingredients you will want to avoid in your Savannah’s diet and are what are most commonly used in cheap pet foods. As a good rule of thumb, you want to avoid any foods where they list multiple chemical preservatives, added fiber, grains, and other fillers. The first ingredients should always be species-specific meats, such as chicken, beef, or fish.

Always Choose Real Ingredients

The main idea here is to select foods with real ingredients that you can easily read and understand. Natural preservatives such as vitamin E and C, tapioca starch, or potato proteins are appropriate as well as species specific “meals”. Properly sourced and processed meals contain a lot of your Savannah’s vitamins and minerals in bone and cartilage which they would eat naturally in the wild.

When selecting the best food for your Savannah cat it’s important to remember they have specific biological requirements. Many generic dry foods are full of unnecessary fillers that serve no nutritional value to your feline. Felines, no matter the species, are carnivores and in the wild they consume raw uncooked meat, and receive other fibers, vitamins, minerals, and water via their prey.

Now, feeding your Savannah a fresh raw diet may not be for you or for many busy pet owners, which is why dry food is such a convenient option. Traditionally, it was very difficult to find a high quality and biologically appropriate dry food for pets. But today there is much more information and a lot more manufacturers taking the time to create great foods.

If opting for a dry kibble it’s also important to keep in mind that in the wild felines typically get most of their water intake from their raw prey. This means cats tend to visit the water bowl less often than say a dog and should be monitored to make sure they are drinking enough to stay hydrated.

What Human Foods Are Good For Savannahs?

While you may have found the best dry food to fit your Savannah you may still be wondering what other foods are safe for them to eat. After all, who doesn’t want to spoil their furry friend every once in a while with a nice treat? Just remember not all human food is going to be safe for your Savannah – or cats in general – and should be avoided.

Fresh raw meats are always a great treat for your Savannah when on a dry food diet. It sparks their native instincts and gives them a delicious treat that they can both enjoy and get nutritional value from, as well as hydration. There are many owners who prepare exclusively raw diets for their Savannahs.

Watch Out For Bones

If you are going to give your Savannah a raw meat treat such as a chicken leg, remember to monitor them so that they don’t accidentally choke. This isn’t to alarm you as Savannah cats are designed to consume whole prey and bones, but more as a safety precaution as accidents happen. This act of consuming prey is a form of enrichment and will occupy your Savannah and keep their teeth healthy.

When purchasing raw meat for your Savannah, play it safe and buy the freshest meat you can find and remember if you wouldn’t eat it (if it smells off, or has a slimy texture) don’t give it to your cat. Along with chicken, butcher shops will often carry rabbit or other small game such as hens or pheasant.

Plain, Cooked Meat

Of course, if you are not comfortable with raw meat, all these meats are great cooked as a special meal or mid-day treat. Additionally, some owners puree cooked meats in a blender and then spread them out in a dehydrator or low heat oven to make their own high quality cat treats. Just make sure not to season the meat with anything.

Other human foods your Savannah can consume include canned tuna, sardines, mackerel, and other canned fish as an occasional snack. Just remember that just like humans you do not want to feed them a solely canned fish diet as there may still be traces of heavy metals such as mercury that can bioaccumulate over time.

Other Treats

Some pet owners also introduce yogurt, pumpkin, and goat’s milk into their Savannah’s diet. Each of these things can help with digestive issues and serve as a probiotic boost. Pumpkin is the safest and can be consumed daily and can help with diarrhea if the issue arises. Yogurt and goat’s milk can be used in small amounts to help your Savannah’s gut flora.

As a good rule of thumb, it’s always best to talk to your vet before giving your Savannah other forms of human food, especially raw vegetables or fruits which may contain toxins that can harm your kitty. It’s always better to play it safe than to take an expensive trip to the vet, and your Savannah may not recover if the food is toxic enough.

In general, avoid onions, garlic, peppers, grapes (including raisins), most dairy products, alcohol, caffeine, chocolate, cooked bones, and chocolate. Some people will also argue avocado should be avoided, however recent studies show that, in small amounts, it is harmless.

Final Thoughts

Now that we’ve done your homework for you, it should be easier to pick out the right dry food for your Savannah! The best option is the Regional Red mix from Orijen. Just remember to always consult your vet before switching your Savannah’s food to make sure it’s the best fit. Start out with a small bag, especially if it’s a pricier brand like Orijen, to see if your Savannah likes it first!