If you have a Savannah cat or are looking to bring one home, you have probably seen hundreds of pictures on the internet of Savannah cats with raw chicken in their mouths. You may be wondering if this is recommended or if it’s even safe for a Savannah cat diet to include raw meat.
Savannah cats can and do eat raw meat if their owner opts for this particular diet. A raw diet is usually recommended for F1 Savannahs and sometimes F2 because of their strong genetic ties to the wild serval, but it’s a safe and healthy option for all Savannahs.
Below, we’ll discuss why a Savannah cat may want to eat raw meat as well as why it may be the best option for your Savannah’s health. Of course, it is always recommended to seek the advice of your vet as well as your breeder, but we’ll go over the pros and cons below.
Why Would Savannah Cats Eat Raw Meat?
Although most cats we now call pets have been many generations removed from their wild relatives, they do still contain traces of those genes. This is especially true with Savannah cats because they are considered a hybrid species and are bred using a wild serval. Even later generations still contain a small percentage of these wild genes.
Cats both domestic and wild are considered obligate carnivores, which means they need to consume animal protein to survive. Out in the wild, cats will hunt prey that have meat, bones, and organs, but they will still consume small amounts of plant and vegetable fiber through this. All of these parts contain the nutrients, fiber, and even water a cat needs in its daily diet.
Your Savannah cat will still have the same hunter’s instincts and cravings for raw meat as their serval relative. This makes them susceptible to wanting to steal the raw chicken breast or steak you left out on the counter unattended. Your Savannah has a very attuned sense of smell, fourteen times better than a human’s, making sniffing out a piece of meat a breeze.
Sense Of Smell
Not only can your Savannah easily sniff out a piece of meat but also anything containing adenosine triphosphate (ATP). ATP is a compound found in the foods that we consume including meat that deliver energy to our cells. Cats can both smell and taste this compound, which can attract them to raw meat.
There are many reasons your Savannah would want to eat raw meat, most of which can be linked back to their natural instincts as we have discussed. Other reasons they may want to eat raw meat is because it’s a viable food option sitting in front of them. Savannah cats will eat many things that may smell or taste good to them even if they shouldn’t eat it (i.e. milk or cheese).
Why Should Your Savannah Eat Raw Meat?
As we have discussed, your Savannah still shares many of its genes with their close relatives the servals. This is especially true for the earlier generations with higher percentages of serval genes, making their digestive system very similar to their wild parents’ or ancestors’. So, feeding your Savannah raw meat could support their natural digestive chemistry.
A Good Option
Raw meat diets are often used by Savannah cat breeders as well, which is another reason continuing a raw diet could be your best option. Most breeders will feed their adult mothers a mixture of raw chicken, turkey, or duck with added supplements for nutritional support. This same diet is then fed to the kittens once they have reached six weeks in addition to nursing.
Many will argue your Savannah should be on a raw diet to avoid the world of processed dry and canned foods which can contain undesirable ingredients. A lot of processed foods contain meat-based byproducts (feathers, ground feet, stomach, lungs, etc.) that do not have much – if any – nutritional value. These foods also list a lot of grains and other fibrous fillers not common in a feline diet.
No Fillers Please
These undesirable ingredients can cause health complications later in life and not provide the proper nutrition for your Savannah. The added carbohydrates and sugars in many of these cat foods have been linked to feline obesity and diabetes. This is potentially a serious condition capable of shortening your Savannah’s life.
Even canned wet foods that are not high quality contain a lot of added ingredients similar to their dry food equivalent. The meat has usually been heavily processed, which will diminish the nutritional value, making it more of a filler. Additionally, these foods tend to have preservatives that can potentially be toxic or cancerous to your Savannah.
Choosing A Raw Diet
While a raw diet can be highly beneficial to your Savannah, it’s important that you still consult with your vet as well as your breeder. Between the two of them they can help you decide what diet is best for your Savannah and how to provide it.
Finding The Balance
The most important thing for your Savannah is making sure that they get the proper balance of nutrition. Even human-grade raw meats are still processed through butchering and can lose some of their nutrients such as taurine, an essential part of your cat’s diet. This is why supplements can be important if you are the one making your Savannah’s food.
It is possible your vet may recommend a premade raw food that can be purchased online or through a specialty pet store. These perfectly proportioned meals contain a medley of raw ingredients and the right amount of added nutrients. They are created by pet nutritionists using a scientific approach to get it just right. This can save you a lot of time and worry, if you can afford it.
Others may opt for a homemade approach, which will require a bit more time and dedication. Your vet or breeder should be able to help you come up with the proper combination of raw meats and supplements to keep your Savannah healthy. It is important that you follow these recipes completely in order to provide your Savannah with the right balance of nutrients.
Their Wild Side
With the proper guidance, you can safely serve your Savannah a healthy variety of raw meats. Helping to sustain their natural wild side and providing them with a delicious meal they can be happy with.
It is also possible to use raw meats as a special addition to your Savannah’s high end canned or dry food diet. Many owners use chicken legs as a reward for their Savannahs. Your cat will have to occupy its time and mind pulling apart the meat from the bone rather than just gobbling ground meat.
What Else Can Savannah Cats Eat?
If you’re worried about the potential downsides or costs of a raw diet, or if you just want to use raw meat as a treat, there are other healthy options. The primary concern is making sure your Savannah has a well-balanced diet of animal protein, nutrients, fiber, and water. You can achieve this through a high quality canned or dry food diet.
Most people will still recommend sticking to a primarily canned food diet versus dry food, which can lead to dehydration or obesity. If you do go the high-quality dry food route, it’s recommended that you monitor your cat’s water intake. Cats are used to getting their liquids mostly from their food and may not drink enough to compensate for the lack of it in dry food.
Today, you can find a wide variety of high quality canned and dried foods made from all-natural ingredients with added nutrients to support a healthy Savannah. Almost every pet store will have these options and in the worst-case scenario you can buy it online. As with a raw food diet, it is best to consult your vet prior to starting a new diet.
No Human Scraps
When it comes to hybrids like Savannahs, it’s always best to stick as close to a natural diet as possible without adding anything else. This means avoiding giving your Savannah human food scraps unless told otherwise by your vet. Many foods that we consume could possibly harm your Savannah, or at the very least cause them an upset stomach.
Savannahs can and will eat raw meat if it’s given to them or if it’s left out for them to take. It’s important to remember that raw meat diets need to be properly prepared with the necessary nutritional supplements. If proper precautions are not taken, your Savannah could become malnourished or sick. The best option is to purchase premade raw meals from a specialty store.