Vitamins, Supplements, and Nutrition for Savannah Cats

Walk through any grocery store and you’ll find a large assortment of cat foods, most of which promise to be “complete and balanced,” or which purport to be better than the competition's offerings. The truth is you should probably walk on past most of these foods. Savannah cats need high quality food—not marketing gimmicks.

Health comes from within, and begins and ends with an excellent diet. You can ward off many health problems, and even prolong your cat’s life, with the right combination of nutrition and supplements.

Savannah Cat Nutrition Basics

Cats are obligate carnivores. This means they have to eat meat to remain healthy. Savannah cats are less fully domesticated than many other American house cats. They bring with them the needs of their parents or recent ancestors. So a Savannah cat who doesn’t receive a healthy diet can potentially suffer from that diet more than a traditional domesticated cat.

The healthiest diet is meat-based, and ideally raw. But balancing a raw meat diet can prove difficult, and many cat owners have neither the time nor the knowledge necessary to provide raw meat. If you want to offer a raw meat diet, we recommend reading extensively from knowledgeable veterinarians and breeders. You may also be able to purchase prepackaged raw meat.

If you’re not prepared to give raw meat a try, choose foods with meat—not meat byproduct—listed as the first ingredient. Needless carbs, especially corn, act as filler, and can be harmful if fed in large doses. Cat food must list their ingredients in order from most to least prevalent, so if corn is one of the first listed ingredients, steer clear. Some other ingredients to avoid, especially in large proportions, include:

  • potato

  • wheat

  • rice

Does My Cat Need Vitamins and Supplements?

Opinions on supplementation differ from breeder to breeder and veterinarian to veterinarian. It’s very difficult to ensure a cat gets everything they need with each meal, so we recommend erring on the side of caution—particularly with higher filial generations, who may have more complex nutritional needs.

Here’s what we recommend:

High-quality multivitamin

A high-quality multivitamin is pre-formulated to meet common cat nutritional needs. It covers most bases for cats who skip meals, and for those whose raw diet is not perfectly balanced. A multivitamin is not a substitute for healthy eating, but it will help your cat avoid major nutritional deficits.

Cranberry supplement

Some research suggests that cranberry can help sweep bacteria from the urinary tract. A daily cranberry or urinary health blend can help protect urinary health, particularly in male cats. If your cat has a history of urinary problems, cranberry may be the solution.

Probiotic

Cats, like all animals, rely on a complex colony of bacteria to keep their bodies healthy—and especially to preserve the health of the digestive tract. Good bacteria can prevent a host of gut health problems, including parasites, diarrhea, and constipation. Consider adding a probiotic to your cat, or feeding a cat food that contains probiotics. Look for ingredients like yeast, which is sometimes referred to as dried aspergillus oryzae fermentation extract.

Calcium

Calcium is especially important for preserving bone health in growing kittens. So consider either a multivitamin that is rich in calcium or a separate calcium supplement.

Omega 3-6-9 oil

Omega fatty acids have been clinically proven to fill a variety of roles. They support healthy neurons and brain development, protect organs such as the heart and liver, and can help ensure a healthy skin and coat. Omega 3, 6, and 9 supplements are especially important for cats with a history of skin or coat issues, or with allergies. We recommend using an oil, not a capsule.

Joint supplements

Savannah cats are active pets who love to run, and jump, and play. As they get older, this can become a liability, especially if they develop joint health issues. Consider giving middle aged and senior cats a glucosamine and chondroitin supplement. This can protect the health of their joints, reducing pain and lowering the risk of injury.

Talk to your breeder or veterinarian for more specific information. It’s always best to continue feeding the supplements your breeder used when your cat was a kitten, since this reduces the risk of negative reactions. If you’re not sure how to start a supplement regimen and your breeder can’t help, it’s time to talk to your vet. Have more questions? Give us a call and let us help you devise the perfect combination of supplements for your feline friend.


Click on the pictures or the hyperlink to see some of the products we recommend.


Until our next cat convo

-Martin


Health Considerations for Savannah Cats: Everything You Need to Know to Keep Your Feline Friend Healthy

Your Savannah cat may live with you longer than your children. With excellent care, your feline friend can easily live two decades—and maybe even longer. Like most cats, your Savannah cat will have a happier, longer life with excellent veterinary care. The right veterinarian can save you money, since preventative care can prevent costly illnesses from hurting your pet and dinging your wallet. Here’s what you need to know to protect your cat for a lifetime.

Choosing a Vet

Your vet is your partner, friend, and consultant. You need a veterinarian you trust, who listens to you, and who cares about your cat.

Some hallmarks of an excellent veterinarian include:

  • Experience with, or at least knowledge about, Savannah cats. Consider asking your breeder for a referral.

  • Affection for your cat. Your veterinarian should like your cat, and be genuinely interested in his or her well-being. A veterinarian who limits their practice size and who take lots of time with each patient is more likely to remember and care about your cat.

  • Respect for your cat care philosophy. Do you prefer to take a “wait and see” approach, or do you want to quickly intervene when anything is wrong? Pick a veterinarian who can respect your cat parenting style.

  • Knowledge of cat nutrition. Good Savannah cat health hinges on sound nutrition. Be wary of a veterinarian who pushes a certain food brand rather than talking about key ingredients. The best veterinarians are open to several different dietary options, and can provide advice on optimizing your pet’s diet.

  • Excellent communication. Veterinarians that spend a lot of time with their patients sometimes take a little longer to get back to you. But if there’s an emergency, can you get in touch? Can you trust your veterinarian to answer questions? To be honest and direct?

  • Fair and transparent pricing. Your cat is a member of your family, and we know you’re willing to pay to keep them healthy. That doesn’t mean you should be charged unfairly. Good veterinarians are honest about pricing, and can work with you on more affordable treatments when price is a concern.

  • Access to a pharmacy. If you need a refill, can your veterinarian call in a prescription to the pet pharmacy? Or do you have to go into the office?


Choosing your vet is half the battle. A good vet will work with you to ensure your cat is up to date on vaccines and that they get regular check-ups. Of course, monitoring these important health goals on your own is also important, so here’s what you need to know:

Vaccinations

A cat’s natural antibodies, passed through its mother, disappear around 16 weeks in cats kittens who nurse. Vaccines can begin between 8-16 weeks, so talk to your veterinarian. Your kitten needs the following vaccines:

  • Rabies

  • Feline distemper

  • Feline herpes virus

  • Calcivirus

  • Feline leukemia virus

  • Bordetella


Your kitten will need boosters a year later. It’s important to note that some feline diseases can be transmitted to humans. So vaccinating your kitten protects you and your family, as well as your cat.

Regular Check-Ups and Health Testing

All cats need annual wellness visits. This gives your veterinarian a chance to evaluate your cat, answer health and behavior questions, and make recommendations about diet, exercise, and other key components of good cat health. Most vets order blood work at each annual exam. This test assesses for feline leukemia and feline immunodeficiency virus. The veterinarian may also check your cat’s thyroid, perform a complete blood count, and test your cat’s blood serum chemistry. Each of these tests can provide early flags for serious health problems.

Depending on your cat’s health and lifestyle, the doctor may recommend other tests. For instance, a cat that may have been exposed to heartworms may need to be tested for the disease.

Parasite Prevention

Cats can host a number of parasites, such as fleas, roundworms, and hookworms. Not only can these parasites hurt your cat; many are also transmissible to humans. Deworming your kitten is the best way to prevent many common parasites. Your breeder may already have dewormed your kitten, so ask about this before worming your Savannah cat.

Fleas can damage your cat’s skin, cause hair loss, and even spread diseases. Even indoor cats can get fleas. So consider a flea preventative treatment. The safest and most effective flea treatments are oral medications you get from your vet. Over the Counter collars and sprays can irritate your cat’s skin, trigger allergies in humans, and may not be as effective.

Cats are less likely to get heartworms than dogs, especially if they remain indoors. But any cat who lives where mosquitoes reside can get heartworms—even if they are exclusively indoors. So ask your vet about an oral heartworm preventative treatment.

Common Health Concerns

Savannah cat are extraordinarily healthy cats, and the breed has no known genetic anomalies or health problems. That doesn’t mean they're immune to disease. Savannah cats are prone to many of the same health issues as other domesticated cats. Some of the most common issues these cats face include:

  • lower urinary tract infections and diseases

  • skin and coat problems

  • ear infections

  • diarrhea and vomiting

  • eye health issues

  • obesity, especially as they age

  • lifestyle-related issues, such as metabolic issues due to an unhealthy diet

When to Call the Vet

Many cat owners struggle with knowing when to call the vet, and when to wait and see if symptoms get better. Fleas, mild stomach issues, and subtle changes in behavior are fine to treat at home. Observe for a few days, and if symptoms don’t improve, see the vet.

Call your vet within 24 hours for:

  • vomiting that doesn’t improve

  • bloody stool

  • unexplained wounds or patches on the skin

  • aggressive or unusual behavior

  • new spraying

  • lost teeth

  • a severe flea infestation

Go to an emergency vet for:

  • a recent bite by a dog, another cat, or a wild animal

  • any suspected bone or head injuries, especially if your cat has fallen or been hit by a car

  • vomiting blood

  • wheezing or difficulty breathing

  • suspected poisoning

  • signs that your cat is intense pain, such as hyperventilating or being unable to calm down

  • seizures, especially if your cat has never had a seizure before

As your cat’s breeder, we’re always happy to answer questions about their health, behavior, or diet. Give us a call if you need us. We care about your cat and your family!

Click on the pictures or the hyperlink to see some of the products we recommend.


Until our next cat convo

-Martin