4 Signs Your Savannah Cats May Be Sick

A Savannah cat is one of the largest domesticated cat breeds in the world, and is a mix between the African Serval and domestic cat. This extraordinary breed became increasingly popular in the year 2000, and has been well-loved by cat enthusiasts all around. Savannah cats are lovely to look at, resembling the wild appearance of a cheetah , except it is smaller in size. With its dramatic spots and patterns, Savannah cat are one of the most beautiful cat breeds.

These cats are incredibly loyal, social, and friendly animals. Their temperament is, in fact, one of the reasons why it’s a highly sought after pet breed. If they get sick, it’s normal for their owners to be distraught. This is precisely the reason why you should be aware of the signs and symptoms of a sick Savannah cat. Below are some of the major symptoms when sickness occurs:

1. Your Cat Looks Physically Heavy

When you send your cat to the vet regularly, you’re going to be made aware of the weight that your cat has to maintain for it to be healthy. If your cat looks physically heavy, and if it already has a hard time walking or carrying its body, that is a tall tale sign that your Savannah cat is overweight and obese.

Obesity is a serious problem not just for human beings, but also for felines. It can shorten their lifespan by as much as two years. More importantly, obesity is the starting point for many other diseases like the following:

● Arthritis

● Diabetes

● Cancer

Your cat can maintain a healthy weight by staying physically active. Just as with human beings, they need physical activity for them to have better mobility through various forms of daily exercise and play.

Learn more about the correlation between weight and other diseases in both cats and dogs through Fuzzy Rescue.

2. Your Cat’s Eating Habits Have Changed

Changes in your cat’s eating habits are easy to spot, especially when you’re a hands-on owner. If there is anything out of the ordinary with the eating habits of your cat, this can be a great indication that they are sick. For instance, your cat may already feel too lethargic and ill that they’ll no longer have the desire or energy to eat. On the other hand, low insulin levels in their body may also cause your cat to eat more often than usual. Be alert with any changes that seem unusual to you, and have your vet take a look at your feline friend right away.

3. Your Cat Is Limping

Physical illnesses or disabilities in your cat are easier to detect because of the signs that start to manifest. One of these symptoms is having difficulty in walking or your cat is limping, which can be a common sign of arthritis. Arthritis is also prevalent in cats, especially since they move around a lot. You can observe this best when your cat stands up after laying down for a long time.

Along with limping, you should also make yourself aware of changes in your cat’s movements, such as a sudden difficulty in jumping or reaching high areas. Jumping is a common movement for cats, and when they seem more indolent and less active, this can be a warning sign that your cat may be sick.

4. Your Cat Starts To Show Rapid Breathing

Rapid breathing in cats isn’t normal. Typically, this symptom can progress quite quickly. You may not have paid attention to your cat’s difficulty in breathing because it wasn’t too consistent at first. But if it starts to progress more frequently through out the day, then you should visit your vet for a checkup. Rapid breathing can be a symptom of lung or heart disease in your cat, so it is very important to have your cat examined by your veterinarian.

Conclusion

Savannah cats have quite a long lifespan. They can live from up to 20+ years. Hence, if you own one, you are sure to live with your cat for almost two decades. During this time you and your cat create an extreme bond that is unbreakable.

When your cat is ill, it’s inevitable that you’re going to be especially concerned. Same as is the case with human beings, awareness is the key to preventing serious health issues in your cats. Always be observant when it comes to your feline friends as changes in their behavior, energy levels, and appetite can tell you whether or not it’s time to send them to the vet.

There are so many things as a Savannah Cat owner you can do to prevent illness. Below you can find some of the things we recommend.

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

Protecting Your Savannah Cat With Pet Insurance

Pet Insurance is really about being prepared for when your Savannah cat needs to see a vet. Pet owners want to make sure they have the best resources and care available and pet insurance can make that reality.

New research from ConsumersAdvocate.org shows exactly what types of pet insurance is the best and provides helpful information on figuring out what pet insurance company is best for you and your Savannah pet. 

Whether it’s a couple of stitches for an injured paw or potentially life-threatening conditions, pet insurance provides cat owners with the peace of mind knowing that they can provide for their cat in a time of need. It’s true that pet insurance may cost you $38-70 per month, but it covers a significant portion of vet bills that can cost up to $5-$10k! Most of us can agree that we can find ways to cut back on monthly expenditures to ensure that we have the means to provide for our sick cats in times of need.

How to Choose your Pet Insurance Plan? 

It's not fun going through insurance plan options trying picking the right plan for you. Understanding what factors to consider when choosing your insurance coverage is an important piece to making sure your Savannah cat has the right resources to live a healthy life (and that you’re getting what you pay for!).

Coverage Amounts

The amount of coverage is one of the most important factors to consider when selecting pet insurance. Savannah owners require a plan that has extensive coverage with few exclusions. As responsible pet owners themselves, the team at ConsumersAdvocate.org did the research to make sure pet owners are as ready as they can be for the unexpected. 

Typically, there are three types of coverage: comprehensive (covers accident/illness), accidents only (covers only accidents), and wellness coverage (covers preventative care). The most common choice amongst pet owners is the comprehensive package for its affordability and extensiveness in terms of coverage. 

Benefit Limits

Beyond the coverage types, the research team at ConsumersAdvocate.org suggests that the second most important factor to consider would be the benefit limits. Some plans will provide unlimited lifetime benefits, others will be capped on an annual/lifetime amount, and several are on a per-condition basis. Veterinary costs are historically trending higher, so a plan without an annual cap is the way to go these days. 

Deductibles and Reimbursements

The last things to consider are deductibles and reimbursements. This plays a key part in your monthly rate. Higher deductibles would translate into lower payments per month. The types of deductibles pet insurance can offer you are the annual, per-condition lifetime, and per-condition annual deductibles. 

There are also three main types of reimbursements a pet insurance company may offer you. Actual Cost means your insurance will pay you back a percentage of your Savannah’s medical bill after you have paid off your deductible. Plans that offer actual cost will give you several different percentage options to choose from. Benefit Schedules states when your pet insurance coverage will be paid back depending on the illness/procedure. Lastly, there is also the Usual and Customary, which has become less popular over the years. This reimbursement is dependant on the procedure but also considers your geographic location. 

Picking a pet insurance coverage for your Savannah is a very important decision that can save you thousands of dollars and protect your pet. Make sure you do the proper research to find what is best for you.

Click on the pictures or the hyperlink to learn more.


Until our next cat convo

-Martin

Spot Me Out

Do you know how to tell the Difference?

When clients and friends come to our cattery they are astonished at how I can tell them all apart. Well the answer for me is easy but not everyone knows what to look for in order to identify each and every one, so let me give you some tips. 

The Distinct Differences

There is one thing about the Savannah Cat that never EVER changes, its spots! Each cat has their own unique spotted pattern which I call their "Fingerprint" You can always look at the cats and tell them apart by the spots. Main ways that I describe these patterns are if they have a flower pattern, a line of spots, lots of small spots, large distinct spots, clusters of spots, etc. Sometimes it is very hard to tell them apart but once you really sit and look at the pattern you will find something that sticks out to you so you can determine if that's your cat. 

Another thing I tend to recognize is the pattern of lines on their face and around their eyes. Me being a girly girl and former hair dresser I have fun names for this. ;) The lines on the side of their face are sometimes black, orange, bold, or broken, I call this their "mascara" The cats also often have markings in between this "mascara" that can be dark or light, more bold than not or also spotted, this is their "blush". Then we come to the "eye liner" this is the part around their eyes that is often a very light or bright white in color. If you move down their necks they have bands around their necks..... take a guess at what this is called.... yup, their "necklace" The "necklace around their necks are often what I call broken which is where they do not completely come together. At times, they have multiple "necklaces" and most often in different shades of black and gold. 

The Maturing Differences 

A1Savannahs features of a savannah blog photo blue eyes

Just like humans, all kittens are born with blue eyes. A very common question we are always asked is if their eyes will stay blue. Sometimes they will but most often they change to a green, gold or hazel color.  Kittens eyes do take time to develop and their quality of vision always comes before the color change. Kittens eyes typically will change their color between 3-6 months of age. Most of the time the kittens will be in their new home at this age so it is very hard for us to give a precise answer. 

Another thing that can happen is that the color of their noses can change. From my experience, we have had kittens born with pink noses that end up with a dark outer rim and sometimes born with this dark outer rim and turn mostly black. They say that cat noses can change with temperature, mood, blood pressure and that the lighter the cats nose the more you can see it change. But as far as our little hybrid kittens go, I think it is just part of their maturing process.

Figuring It All Out

Now that I have given you some of my helpful tips on how I like to discern the differences between our kitties why don't you go have a look. See if there is anything that stands out to you or helps you decipher your cats "Fingerprint" 

Tell us your helpful tips or show off your cat's beautiful features on our social media pages!

UNTIL OUR NEXT CAT CONVO

-Amanda

A1 Savannahs features of a savannah info-graph

Sleepy Kitty

Our cats and their napping habits.

As a mommy to several kitties I am always catching them in the most unusual slumber. Some of them in the obvious places like; in the warmth of the sun, on the fluffy sofa, in their cozy bed, in our cozy bed, and my most favorite is in my lap.  But sometimes you look for them for twenty minutes but they are nowhere to be found because they have a secret bunker where they can slip into that deep sleep with no disruption.

Types of Sleep

Did you know that cats also go into REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep just like humans? Most of the time when cats are sleeping they are not in that deep, fabulous, no care in the world sleep but more of that, I'm asleep but not really asleep because I can freakin' hear everything that is going on and no one will be quiet sleep. They stay in this state of sleep for around 15 - 20 minutes while momentarily falling into REM sleep for about 5 minutes at a time. If you ever notice your cat sleeping but slightly shift their radar's or taking a slight peek around this is when they are in the "Dozing" stage of sleep. If your kitty has their eyes tightly shut or using their personal fluffy sleep mask this is when they are in the "DO NOT BOTHER ME I AM ACTUALLY ASLEEP!" stage.

Why so long?

Cats can sleep anywhere from 15-20 hours a day depending on their age filling their fluffy fuel tanks. Cats release an obscene amount energy when hunting their prey, or in our instance, their secret stash of catnip so they need all the rest they can get. Kittens and older cats require more sleep than the average aged cat. Kittens sleep more because their precious little bodies are growing and older cats have had their time of prime and have decided life is much easier when you slow down.

Getting Adjusted

Most cats are dawn dwellers but being as adaptive as they are, they easily adjust to our hectic schedules. They enjoy their human time therefore making time in their day for us. But if you are having kitty soft paws in your face at 4:00 in the mother lovin' morning then try having some extra play time during the day especially before bed time. You may also give them a small snack before bed because they also like to go to bed on a full belly.  FUN FACT: We have a friend that as soon as he has eaten he is ready for bed before we even leave the table. We always tease him and tell him his eyelids are attached to his stomach. The more he eats, the fuller he gets and pulls his eyelids down, it’s pretty comical. But kitties do have a method to their madness when it comes to their sleeping habits.  Hunt, Eat, Clean, Sleep, Repeat!

Caution

If your fur child is sleeping more or less than usual you might want to consult with your veterinarian. There may be an underlying medical problem that needs addressed. Always take note of unusual habits your cats may have. If there is something different or concerning contact your breeder for advice or of course your veterinarian is always there to help. 

Whether in my lap or in their bed I always enjoy watching the cats sleep. You can actually distinguish when they slip in and out of that deep sleep. You can see their paws twitch and nose wiggle while in the land of catnip or their radars activate to be sure no danger is near.

We are always finding our kitties in the most peculiar places and positions. 

Tell us about some of your favorite sleepy kitty stories or share your photos with us on our social media sites!

Until Our Next Cat Convo 

- Amanda

Exercise your Pet

Keep that kitty movin'

As most of you Savannah lovers know the Savannah breed is very active, playful and somewhat destructive at times. Keeping your kitties engaged in playtime, walking, and dates with other furry friends can really reduce the possibility of bad behaviors. 

Discouraging Bad Cat Behaviors With Exercise & Training

Given this propensity for extra propulsion and playfulness, this could also be a gateway for more destructive behavior patterns if not trained properly and given plenty of exercise. Similar to toddlers and young children, parents will often attempt to “tire them out” as a pathway to a less naughty kid and the same is true for our four-legged friends.

A1 Savannah Kittens at Play

More Fun With Less Damage Done

Also given more activity, many cats tend to be less destructive with fewer bad behavioral habits. But some of this comes along with training that also discourages rough housing and other aggressive behaviors that could potentially put them at risk for injuring themselves, other animals, you, friends or family members.

A1 Savannahs Kittens at Play

When it comes to playtime and exercise routines, it’s important to remember how we interact with them is just as important as participating in the process itself. For example, encouraging them to attack hands and feet will send a message that this behavior is acceptable. This could cause an unsuspecting child, visiting friend or relative to be swatted, scratched or bitten when they may be simply trying to interact with your cat.

Put Them On A Leash, Capeesh?

Savannah cats are also very intelligent and many pet owners will often choose to train them to walk on a leash, which is actually much easier than you might think. You should first introduce them to the concept of wearing a harness since they’ll be much easier to control using this type of a device. It also greatly reduces the risk of them choking or slipping out of a collar while you’re out and about.

For some more information and suggestions about exercising with your pet, check out the infographic below. With more activity, playful exercise and given the proper training, you and your cat will be much happier and healthier in the long run! 

 What fun things does your cat do for exercise?

Until Our Next Cat Convo

-Amanda

A1 Savannahs Blog Post -PetExercise-Norwich

- We would like to give a special shout out to Jenn Johnson for helping us put together this weeks blog post!

Cool Cats

Okay, So let’s talk about cats getting in the fridge!

IMG_9422.jpg

Our F4 Cleo, aka Miss Cleopatra The Mischievous, is always ending up in our refrigerator. I'm not so sure what it is in there that she even thinks is remotely interesting. Oh yes I do… food! But this is the problem, every time she gets in there she isn't even looking for food. She hops up there, turns around with the most innocent eyes and looks at me. I'm like....... really?!? I always ask her what it is that she is so desperately seeking after but I just get that pitiful look. The only thing she does in there is get cat hair all over the place so then I have to have a deep clean party of the fridge. I mean, at our house cat hair is a condiment but we really don’t need it chilled.

During the holidays I was doing some baking and apparently she had decided to sneak up there. I didn’t realize it and turned and shut the darn door. Luckily since I was baking, I was constantly getting back in to the fridge because lets be real, I am super scatter brained….Just before the Cleo incident I put the milk in the pantry, but that’s besides the point.  Anyways, I opened the door and there sat a bright eyed and slightly cooled Cleo. If she could talk, which obviously she can, she would have been cussing me up and down because we know how much cats love the cold. But, she is the one that got up there and thought she was going to find a magical pot of cat nip or something. But in all reality all she got was a cool and very refreshing fridge session.

Hesitant but curious she still ends up in the fridge. But one thing is for certain, she is sure I am paying attention so her kitty fluff butt doesn't get stuck in there again.

How often do your kitties venture into the world of refreshing fridge sessions?

Until Our Next Cat Convo,

-Amanda