I have been asked by a few people recently for help with feeding their serval and caracal kittens. I thought I would compose this guide to make things easier for you instead of you having to recalculate daily and getting all flustered!
Firstly, congratulations on your new baby and hello to those who are here as part of their research on owning one of these beautiful animals. I would also like to recommend this guide to those who have asked how much milk to feed a Savannah kitten or how much to feed a newborn kitten.
I will also include some recommendations on what you can purchase to support the feeding routine of your serval kitten in the UK. This includes teats, bottles and methods which we use to feed our kittens.
Generally, we recommend that as soon as we have established a good feeding routine with a serval or caracal kitten, that it comes to you to start the bonding process. We recently visited fellow 'feline slaves' at Cat Haven in California, USA (Dale Anderson) and we were discussing the age of which it important for these kind of cats to make the transition to their new owners. Dale and I both agreed that by waiting even past 6 weeks can really impact of the bonding process which you will have and the trust that can be built from a crucial stage in their emotional and sensory development.
I always recommend that your serval or caracal kitten vaccination is not normally carried out until at least 16 weeks of age due to the slower rate of growth. This is why the feeding requirements are crucial because you become Mum or Dad; you become the only source of life for these kittens and it's crucial you get it right.
Many of you who follow serval and caracal groups on social media will have read recently of a number of servals who have been suffering from a calcium deficiency where, in layman's terms, the bones fracture in the legs and the kittens become unable to support the weight of their bodies on their legs. Many of them have died. There has been a number of deaths of serval and caracal kittens which have been delivered with broken legs over the past few years, not only in the USA but in Europe and this rate appears to be increasing as people buy servals, often related, then breed them to make a quick buck. None of these breeders appear to know or more importantly care what they are doing. These servals are arriving with CITES papers with Savannah written on them and we have been contacted by people who are living in fear that their cats are illegal and fear of them being seized and destroyed. Two breeders which we urge to err on the side of caution (or basically just set your money on fire) with are in Russia and Ukraine. You do not want to go through the heartache that several people have been through with these breeders. Even more recently, servals are being sold from the UK without any paperwork at all and sent abroad in the hope that they won’t get caught or seized. This becomes more about the money than the animals. BE CAREFUL.
As you know, I am very keen on supplementation and diet research for all of our cats. Some breeders heavily stress by feeding a mixed whole prey diet, that your serval or caracal kitten would be perfectly healthy and this is true to an extent. Often cats in captivity do not eat the whole prey which they would in the wild because they know that their next meal is coming by sunset. Feeding your serval or caracal kitten on chicken drumsticks and mixed minced meat is NOT sufficient for their diet. They need much more than raw meat and some bones. We always recommend you buy Keizebrink Organ Mix to add to your meat and we ALWAYS use carefully measured supplements which are like multivitamins for cats - the main ones are here. It is important that once your serval kitten is weaned that you still add some milk to their meat for the first 6 - 9 months of their life as kittens. Many will still feed them bottles to keep that bond - and that is perfectly okay also. If you do not want to feed a bottle to a serval or caracal then this is not the right kitten for you. This is a major part of the 'breakthrough-barrier' in getting them used to living in captivity alongside you.
So here are some details that should hopefully get you started.
We recommend that you start to wean on a mixture of Animonda Carny Kitten “Baby Paté” and then onto the mixed varieties. This is because there is a good quality meat within these tins and there is much less risk of bacteria growth than raw meat. We also use Purrform Complete Raw Meat which must be supervised at all times to prevent the spread of bacteria potential. The best thing you can do at feeding time is place the meat on a plate on top of a puppy training pad, this way it can be disposed of immediately after feeding and a bath can be given to the kittens feet and face.
You can buy the Animonda Kitten food on Zooplus and Purrform is directly from their website.
Animonda Carny Kitten is a well-balanced moist food for growing cats. Your kitten needs lots of good quality protein to ensure that it has a good start in life and grows in a healthy way. This is why the Animonda Carny Kitten recipes only contain selected premium meat varieties. The freshly prepared varieties are gently cooked to preserve nutrients and fulfill the nutritional needs of growing cats.
These foods only contain fresh muscle meat and offal, so that the structure of the meat is maintained, providing your cat with a healthy dose of natural taurine. All of the varieties are grain free, making them suitable for cats with allergies and intolerances. Animonda Carny is also free from artificial additives and soya.
Animonda Carny Kitten has a natural, authentic meat flavour that cats love. The label shows which meat types are included, so that you know exactly what you are feeding to your pet.
Beef, Chicken & Rabbit: Beef (33%, lung, meat, heart, kidney, udder), chicken liver (20%), rabbit (12%), calcium carbonate.
Beef, Veal & Chicken: Beef (32%, meat, heart, kidney, udder), veal (17%, lungs, liver), chicken (16%, liver, neck), calcium carbonate.
Beef & Turkey Hearts: Beef (50%, lung, meat, heart, kidney, liver, udder), turkey hearts (15%), calcium carbonate.
Poultry: Beef (39%, lung, meat, heart, kidney, udder), chicken liver (14%), turkey hearts (6%), duck hearts (6%), calcium carbonate.
Nutritional additives /kg:
Vitamin D3 (200 IU), iodine (0.2 mg), manganese (1.5mg), zinc (10mg).
protein 11.0 %
fat 6.0 %
fibre 0.3 %
ash 1.7 %
moisture 80.0 %
taurine 0.8 g/kg
You can buy the Animonda Kitten food on Zooplus and Purrform is directly from their website.
How to start
You would ideally feed from a teaspoon (silver spoon) and wedge just under the front teeth at about 4 weeks old. Your kitten will show resistance to this, but once they get a taste, they will likely start to nibble it off the spoon. You may find whatever you get into their mouth they just push back out again with their tongue. This is a normal part of weaning and don’t lose hope. Keep trying twice a day and continue with bottle feeds as normal. Once they take it easily off the spoon you can lure them to lean down to the bowl with the spoon. You might find they only eat the bits you scoop onto the spoon but keep encouraging them to follow the spoon to the bowl and they will soon be eating from the bowl without your help.
You should only need weaning paste for about a week at the most and then you can move onto more chewy, thicker textures. Be very careful about giving him chicken drumsticks as they don’t really have that much goodness in them due to the fact that the cats need organs in their diet to be complete. The chicken meat and bone is good but they will be too little to chew the bone. The better alternative is day old chicks. They are GREAT fun. Very tasty, high in nutrients and fun to throw about for an hour before eating. The bones are soft in day old chicks and so easy to eat.
AT NO POINT SHOULD YOU GIVE YOUR SERVAL BISCUITS/ KIBBLE. IT IS NOT A NATURAL FOOD FOR THEM.
You can feed your kitten up to 6 - 10% of their body weight per day for good growth.Once your serval has got to 4 months they should be ready to eat quail and larger whole prey. You can give this to them gradually by cutting them in half with a butcher’s knife and serving in parts. Be careful not to leave uneaten food lying around for too long as the bacteria grows at room temperature and you do not want a sick baby serval. By the time they have got to 4 months of age you really do not need to give them any bottles but can continue to do so for bonding purposes.
You can really mix it up to make it interesting for your serval or caracal cat. You can tie food on string to the roof of their enclsoures so they have to find a way up to it, you can hide it inside cardboard boxes or up a tree! They enjoy 1 quail and 5 day old chicks in the morning 0800 hours, then they have around 500grams/ 1.1lbs of meat at night for dinner at 2000 hours. You really want to stick to around 3 – 5% of their bodyweight in meat per day depending on their metabolism.
A pregnant serval or caracal should be allowed at least 2 – 3 times the amount they would normally eat on a daily basis. They will need it for the growth and feeding of the kittens after birth. We always continue to feed our servals this amount for 3 months after the birth of their kittens even though the kittens are hand-reared by us from 3 weeks of age for socialisation purposes. This helps to bring mum back to perfect condition. A “working” serval male will also require a good diet to keep his energy levels high.
Servals and caracals do become lazy if overfed, so try and keep them in a nice lean condition.
This is copyright and watermarked. You may contact us for a copy of this table for personal use.
We even import the milk for you!
You can buy the milk required for healthy Serval, Caracal and Savannah Kittens.
Zoo Logic Milk Matrix 33/40
A milk replacer and nutritional supplement fortified with vitamins and minerals to be used in feeding wild and exotic non-domestic animals such as Squirrels, Rabbits, Opossum, Wolves, Lions, Tigers, Pumas, Servals, Caracals, Binturongs and all Rodents. Part of an integrated system designed to let you virtually match any mammal’s milk.
Reconstituting milk replacers with water is most accurately accomplished by weighing the individual components. If weighing is not possible, use the following volume measurements to reconstitute Milk Matrix 33/40 powder to the indicated concentrations:
A volume is a measurement such as a teaspoon, tablespoon, cup, etc. Suggested powder:water mixing ratios for various species:
1:1 Rabbit. Most Rodents
1:1.5 Squirrel, Opossum
1:2 Serval, Caracal, Lion, Tiger, Puma, Wolf
Milk Matrix 33/40
Weights determined by scooping powder from the container and leveling. These values are only guidelines and can vary 5-10% due to variation in production.
Milk Replacer: Milk Matrix 33/40 may be used alone or blended with other products in the Matrix family to formulate a milk replacer with nutrient levels that closely match a species’ natural milk.
As a general rule, liquid or reconstituted milk replacer should be fed at a rate of 10% to 20% of the bodyweight daily or as tolerated and required for steady growth and proper stool condition. Divide the total daily amount into 6 to 12 feedings per day, depending on age, condition, species and staffing.
Reconstituted milk replacers should be refrigerated and used within 24 hours. Feed at room or body temperature depending on size and condition of animal.
Weaning Food Supplement: Because of its highly digestible milk nutrients, the formula used during suckling is an excellent supplement during weaning as a transition from milk to solid food. Add to the diet at the rate of one teaspoon of powder per 10 lbs. of bodyweight.
Calorie Content (calculated)
The calorie content (ME) is 740 kcal/kg or 11.1kcal/tbs when powder is reconstituted 1:2.
Unblended product: Refrigerate after opening. Discard if unused after three months.
Blended powder: Refrigerate for up to three months.
Note: To extend storage life of opened or blended powder, freeze in sealed container; discard after six months. Unopened product may be frozen to extend shelf life for six months beyond expiration date.
Crude Protein, min. 33.0%
Crude Fat, min. 40.0%
Crude Fiber 0.0%
Moisture, max. 5.0%
Vegetable oil (preserved with BHA, BHT, propyl gallate and citric acid), dried skimmed milk, casein, egg yolk, L-arginine, DL-methionine, calcium carbonate precipitated, potassium phosphate monobasic, lecithin, dried corn syrup, calcium hydroxide, salt, monocalcium phosphate, sodium hydroxide, choline chloride, potassium chloride, silicon dioxide, magnesium carbonate, taurine, magnesium sulfate, vitamin A supplement, zinc sulfate, vitamin E supplement, ferrous sulfate, niacin supplement, copper sulfate, calcium pantothenate, vitamin B12 supplement, manganese sulfate, vitamin D3 supplement, folic acid, riboflavin, thiamine mononitrate, calcium iodate, pyridoxine hydrochloride.
KMR Kitten Milk Replacer - PetAg
RECOMMENDED FOR F2 SAVANNAHS ONWARDS.
Opened powder should be stored in a cool, dry place. Reconstituted KMR must be kept refrigerated for up to 24 hours. Opened powder must be refrigerated for up to 3 months, or can be frozen for up to 6 months to preserve freshness.
Dried skim milk, casein, vegetable oil, butterfat, corn syrup solids, mono- and diglycerides of edible fat-forming acids, lecithin, L-arginine, choline chloride, calcium carbonate, potassium chloride, monopotassium phosphate, magnesium sulfate, salt, carrageenan, tricalcium phosphate, dipotassium phosphate, taurine, ferrous sulfate, dicalcium phosphate, ascorbic acid, zinc sulfate, niacinamide, vitamin A supplement, copper sulfate, vitamin E supplement, vitamin D3 supplement, calcium pantothenate, manganese sulfate, potassium citrate, thiamin mononitrate, pyridoxine hydrochloride, riboflavin, potassium iodide, vitamin B12 supplement, folic acid, biotin.
Crude Protein, min
Crude Fat, min
Crude Fiber, max
Miracle Nipples and Syringes
Beaphar Lactol Feeding Set
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All about Stylisticat, written by Kayleigh McIntosh-Lowrie