Importance of Diet for Purebred Cats
All of our domestic kitten friends trace their ancestral roots to big cats like servals, jaguars, leopards, panthers, tigers and lions. What ties our domesticated cat to their big-cat relatives is their common classification in the family Felidae in the order Carnivora, which is Latin for “flesh devourers.” When adopting a purebred cat, it is important to recognize the unique nutritional requirements of different breeds.
Savannah cats are closely related to the African serval, an exotic wild cat that enjoys stalking and consuming its prey.1 As descendants of a cross between a serval and a domestic cat, today’s Savannah cats are energetic and often enjoy playing in water, leaping, climbing and going for outdoor walks on a harness.2
The Savannah will thrive on a diet that closely emulates their wild cousin’s eating habits. Would a serval be caught eating corn or roasting a small bird on an outdoor spit? Of course not! The serval diet consists mostly of raw rats, birds and reptiles it catches in sub-Saharan Africa.3 Therefore a raw diet, with lots of whole prey or large chunks of meat for the Savannah to chew on, is ideal.
“A well-rounded raw diet can help promote your [Savannah] cat’s overall health both physically and mentally, as they are able to eat raw meat and chew on bone, which acts as an enrichment activity.“–F1 Savannah Kittens @f1savannahs
Ragdolls are known for being affectionate lap cats with beautiful long coats and blue eyes.4 They have one of the longest life expectancies of any breed, so they are more prone to experiencing health issues later in life. A raw diet is known to help cats avoid digestive issues like Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disorder5 so is especially necessary for cats that live an average of 15 years.
Ragdolls are a larger breed than most household cats, so it is vital to feed them a diet high in protein. When compared to foods with carbohydrates and fillers such as corn, soy, peas, rice, etc., a raw diet can actually be cost effective because the main ingredient is meat. A raw diet high in protein and fat from animal sources will also help improve a Ragdoll’s coat.6
“Feeding raw meat and bone has helped keep our Ragdoll’s coat soft and shiny and has also helped keep their teeth healthy and clean.”–Ragdoll Villa @Dollvilla
Sphynx cats are notable for their hairless appearance and are commonly believed to be hypoallergenic. However, they produce allergens in their saliva and dander. There is anecdotal evidence that a raw fed cat will produce less of the allergens in their dander and saliva.7 Adopting a hairless Sphynx cat and feeding it a raw diet could be a great pet option for humans with cat allergies.
Sphynx cats also have a higher metabolism than other cats.8 This means they will need more protein and fat compared to some breeds. A diet higher in calories per ounce is the most efficient way to meet their nutritional requirements, but make sure those calories come from animal products, not by-products or meals.
“Sphynx are natural carnivores. Raw food is essential to keep Sphynx’s skin, teeth, gastrointestinal tract and heart healthy and working to their best of their ability.”–Furless Feline Sphynx Cattery @FurlessFelineSphynx
No matter what breed of cat you end up adopting, remember their Family and Order: feline flesh devourers. A raw diet not only keeps a cat’s teeth clean and fur soft, but provides them with healthy stimulation and helps avoid digestive issues down the road. Certain breeds require higher calories or larger prey items to benefit their overall health. One fact is immutable: cats are obligate carnivores and will not thrive without a flesh and blood diet.
1. “What is a serval?” African Wildlife Foundation
3. “What is a serval?” African Wildlife Foundation
4. “About the Ragdoll,” The Cat Fanciers’ Association
5. Billinghurst, Ian. “How a raw diet can prevent FLUTD in your cat,” Animal Wellness
6. Macmillan, Catherine. “10 Ways a Raw Cat Food Diet Will Make Your Cat Strong and Live Long,” The Ragdoll Cat Lifestyle + Natural Cat Care Site
7. “Cats and the Allergic Human,” The Way of Cats
8. Giammarino, Marie. “Is It Safe To Feed Your Sphynx Cat Raw Food?” Cats Info