Can Savannah Cats Drink Milk and Other Dietary Advice


Ever since the creation of the idiom ‘the cat that got the cream’ there has been an association between cats and certain dairy products. People love to treat their cats to a dish of a particular white fluid but should they really have it?

Can Savannah Cats drink milk? Savannah cats can drink milk but are unable to digest it properly because they don’t produce enough of the enzyme required to break down the lactose it contains. This leads to undigested milk fermenting in their stomachs causing cramps, vomiting, and diarrhea. Savannah cats, like all cats, are lactose intolerant as opposed to allergic to dairy products.

Savannah kittens drink milk until they are weaned and up to this point they produce the enzyme lactase that breaks down the lactose (sugar content) found in milk. Once kittens are weaned, their digestive systems gradually produce less lactase until they can no longer tolerate milk.

Can Savannah Cats Drink Milk?

What Should Savannah Cats Drink?

Like all cats, the only drink a Savannah needs is water. Provide fresh water in a clean dish every day. You may find your Savannah likes to drink from a tap. If this is something you’d like to discourage, the next best thing is a pet drinking fountain. Petsafe Drinkwell is an excellent example.

What Should Savannah Cats Eat?

Savannah Cats should eat a balanced diet of good quality protein derived from meat, supplemented with essential nutrients. A mix of prepared wet and dry food is ideal. Homemade food is fine as long as it contains everything that they need for good health. Here are the answers to a few popular diet-related questions.

Do Savannah Cats Need Special Food?

Savannah Cats do not need any special food. However, they should have a high-quality, nutritionally balanced diet specifically formulated for cats. Offer a combination of wet and dry food to ensure they consume the moisture they require and have a way to keep their teeth in good condition.

Can Savannah Cats Eat Raw Meat?

Savannah Cats can eat raw meat. Their short, acidic digestive tracts cope well with raw food and many pathogens pass straight through to their bowels without causing any problems. However, raw meat can contain disease-causing parasites and bacteria so only use meat declared fit for human consumption to be safe.

Do Savannah Cats Eat a Lot?

Savannah Cats do not need vast amounts of food, just the right amount for their size and activity level. Cats usually stop eating when they have had enough and return for more when they feel hungry again. However, cats can develop bad eating habits and become obese so provide measured portions to prevent this. Indoor cats generally need less food than outdoor cats.

What do Savannah Cats Eat?

Savannah cats like a variety of foods. Offer good quality cat food from cans or sachets with high moisture content as, like many cats, they don’t always drink enough water. Alternate wet with dry food made of reasonably large pieces so they can crunch on them to clean their teeth.

How to Feed a Savannah Cat

A Savannah cat’s diet should be adjusted according to its age. When measuring food, cats are divided into three life stages:

  • Kitten/junior – 1 month to 12 months
  • Adults – 12 months to 6 years
  • Senior – 7 plus years

Whatever life stage your cat is in, follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for serving sizes and the number of servings per day. These can vary according to the size of your cat.

Kittens/Junior Savannah Cats

Give your kitten food specifically developed for kittens as this contains the correct proportions of fat and protein for their growing bodies. Also, choose food that has undergone trials with the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO). This guarantees that the food is nutritionally balanced for kittens.

Many pet food companies create their food from recipes that are not trialed on kittens before supplying it to stores. The best companies invest in scientific research and consult with cat nutritionists to produce food that is ideal for a kitten’s development.

Wet food is ideal at this stage because it is easier on their teeth. Dry food can gradually be introduced if you prefer it but most people prefer to offer a mix of wet and dry.

Can Savannah Cats drink milk? Kitten standing

Adult Savannah Cats

From about 12 months you can switch your Savannah Cat onto adult food and continue with this until it is about 7 years old. This food has slightly fewer calories but still contains all the nutrients necessary for good health. If you continue with kitten food for longer than necessary, there is no danger to your cat’s health but it could gain too much weight. Again look for AAFCO approved food.

A mix of wet and dry food is recommended to ensure your cat gets moisture and gets to use its teeth.

Senior Savannah Cats

Once they reach 7 years of age, Savannah Cats are considered senior cats. Most of them probably don’t act like seniors, so it might seem strange to start feeding them senior food. Senior food is lower in calories, contains high-quality protein and is often fortified with extra vitamin E to boost a cat’s natural defenses.

If your cat is still extremely active at 7, you can continue with adult food but keep an eye on its weight and general health. If you spot it gaining weight, it’s probably time for senior food. And of course, look for AAFCO approval.

Wet vs Dry Food

People often ask which type is best and as long as both types are good quality they should be nutritionally equivalent.

There are various reasons owners have for choosing wet or dry:

  • Their cat prefers wet.
  • Their cat prefers dry.
  • They find dry more convenient.
  • Dry is less smelly.
  • Dry stays fresher for longer once served. Flies don’t lay eggs on dry food but they do target wet. And after a couple of hours on a hot day, wet food does dry out and start to smell.
  • Their cat’s poo is more solid when they eat dry food.
  • They think dry food is better for oral hygiene – this is not always the case. Many dry food pieces are so small that cats swallow them whole so they have no effect on their teeth at all. If the pieces are large enough to crunch, a crumbly residue sticks to a cat’s teeth which helps to build up plaque rather then remove it. So it seems dry food isn’t really that great for keeping a cat’s teeth clean after all.
  • They think wet food is an indulgence – It may be more expensive but many cats prefer it to dry and it contains more protein.
  • Dry food is cheaper – this is true but it also contains less protein.
  • They think wet is better because of its moisture content – this is true and is an important factor as many cats don’t drink enough and so need the water they absorb from wet food.
  • They think wet is less processed than dry – if you look at the ingredients list on either it is quite shocking. Dry foods are heavily processed but so are many wet foods. Try to find a wet food with high unprocessed meat content. It isn’t easy to come by.
  • They believe wet food helps prevent urinary tract infections – this is true as urinary tract infections are amplified by a lack of water in a cat’s diet.

A mix of wet and dry is the ideal diet for Savannah Cats.

On a hot day, it’s best to offer wet food and then dispose of the leftovers soon after, leaving dry food available for snacks throughout the day.

Can Savannah Cats drink milk? Savannah adult

Raw vs Cooked

A cooked diet from cans or sachets is the safest choice, but many people like the idea of giving cats a raw diet as they think it is more natural to them. Do bear in mind that cats in the wild live considerably shorter lives than domesticated cats.

Owners do report that their Savannah cats thrive happily on raw food. Here are some points you should bear in mind:

  • Make sure your cat is fit and healthy before giving it a raw food diet. If any food happens to be contaminated you want to be sure your cat has a strong enough constitution to cope with any side effects.
  • Ensure you only use meat classified fit for human consumption. If you use defrosted frozen meat then parasites should be killed off by the freezing process but this can’t be guaranteed. Freezing does not kill pathogens. There is a good chance of raw meat containing extremely dangerous bacteria such as E-coli, salmonella and listeria, and parasites such as Sarcocystis and Toxoplasma gondii (a bacteria that is extremely dangerous to human babies).
  • Many cats on a raw diet may need a specific dietary supplement to ensure their diet is nutritionally balanced.
  • If you come in to contact with contaminated meat you could transfer bacteria or parasites to yourself and other family members. Good food hygiene and careful storage are essential.
  • There is no scientific evidence to confirm a raw food diet relieves dietary-related allergy problems in cats.
  • The only way to guarantee there is no risk of a cat contracting a bacterial infection from meat is to cook it thoroughly.

I have read various articles on the pros and cons of raw food cat diets and the risks outweigh the benefits as far as I’m concerned. If it’s something you are considering do your research thoroughly for your sake as well as your cat’s.

Can a Savannah Cat Eat a Vegetarian Diet?

The quick answer is no.

Cats are obligate carnivores which means the nutrients they need for survival are derived from a meat-only diet. However, there are vegetarian cat food brands on the market and if you are determined to go down this route make sure you choose one that is well-supplemented with all the nutrients a cat needs. It will be probably stand out because it will be expensive.

What you might find is that your cat just doesn’t like vegetarian food. We all know how picky cats can be at the best of times.

Do Savannah Cats Need Fruit and Vegetables?

Unlike us, cats don’t need fruit and vegetables to give them a balanced diet

The following are believed to be toxic to cats:

  • Grapes
  • Raisins
  • Garlic
  • Onion
  • Avocado

Here are a few vegetables and fruits a cat can safely snack on (if it likes them):

  • Carrots
  • Celery
  • Cucumber
  • Broccoli
  • Blueberries
  • Strawberries

Homemade food

You can give a Savannah Cat homemade food if you want to. There are plenty of recipes available – just ensure they contain everything your cat needs for good health. You might eventually make up your own, once you know the basics.

What Constitutes a Balanced Diet for a Savannah Cat?

Protein

A cat requires about 5 ounces of a good quality protein per day and this should account for 28% of its food intake. Chicken and fish are good examples.

Fat and Essential Fatty Acids

Cats need fats including essential fatty acids omega 3 and Omega 6.

At least 10% and as much as 50% of a cat’s diet should be fat. This can come from poultry, beef, pork, and fish but can also be added using corn, soybeans, and safflower oil.

Fiber/Carbohydrate

When cats groom and swallow their fur, fiber in their diet helps it pass through their digestive system. A lack of fiber can lead to hairballs.

Fiber need only make up about 2 to 4 % of a cat’s diet and can be incorporated by adding a few whole grains or a little amount of a vegetable such as broccoli. Too much carbohydrate can lead to weight gain, so be careful.

Vitamins and Minerals

Vitamins and minerals are an essential part of a cat’s diet. The best way to incorporate these is through a correct balance of protein, fat, fatty acids and a supplement designed specifically for cats.

Here’s what they need:

  • Vitamins A, D, E, K
  • Calcium
  • Chlorine
  • Copper
  • Iron
  • Magnesium
  • Niacin
  • Phophorus
  • Potassium
  • Sodium
  • Taurine
  • Zinc
Can Savannah Cats drink milk? Closeup

Savannah Cats and Food Allergies

These are the common food substances that cats can be allergic to:

  • Meat byproducts – these are often used as fillers in cheap cat food and include ground-up organs, tissues, bones, feathers, and fat. Swap to better quality food.
  • Artificial Coloring – these are used to make certain foods look more appealing to us, not our cats! They are unnecessary so avoid foods that use them.
  • Preservatives – occasionally cats can have an allergy to certain preservatives. If there is no other obvious allergen in the food it could be the preservative it contains that is causing the problem. Look for an alternative brand that does not contain the preservatives in the problem food.
  • Corn Products – cornmeal is another cheap food filler and can be avoided by selecting better quality food.
  • Dairy products – cats aren’t allergic to dairy products. They lack the enzyme lactase that breaks down the lactose that dairy products contain. So any large quantities of foods such as milk will cause stomach cramps, diarrhea, and vomiting. This is known as lactose intolerance.
  • Seafood – if seafood seems to disagree with your cat, remove it from its diet​

Fussy Eaters

Have you noticed how cats seem to love a particular food and then turn their noses up at it for no obvious reason – often after you’ve just purchased a 6 month supply! Why is this?

It’s hard to say what makes a cat suddenly picky but we find changing the brand for a while helps. After this, they tend to eat the previous brand again. We experiment with different textures such as jelly, gravy, and sauce.

Another thing we do is offer plain white fish such as cod, or haddock as an evening meal. They really love it and being bland means it’s good after any sickness.

Another thing to try is a different bowl. Apparently, some cats get whisker fatigue where they hate their whiskers touching the sides of their bowl. Try changing to a shallower dish – this is a popular design – and see if it makes a difference.

It is important that a cat eats regularly, especially if this is how it gets most of its moisture intake. If yours doesn’t eat for more than a day take it to your vet for a check-up.

Can Savannah Cats Drink Milk? -Conclusion

Clearly, there is more than one way to feed a Savannah Cat. Only you can decide which to choose, though I’m sure your cat will guide you in one way or another by its reactions to the food you serve!

Find the perfect unusual name for your Savannah cat in our latest article

Jane

I'm Jane Pettitt, co-owner of Pets Knowledge Base with my husband, Matt. I have a grand total of 50 years’ experience as a pet owner. It all started with a guinea pig called Percy when I was 5 years old and since then I’ve lived with two more guinea pigs, a hamster, mice, a rabbit, a tortoise, a dog and 11 cats. I’ve learned so much about pet care during this time and many of my articles are based on my personal experiences and those of my family and friends .

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