Do Bengal Cats Need a Special Diet?

Where it can be nice to have a little exotic Bengal cat in your home, there are also some responsibilities to it that one has to take special care of.

One of these things is the Bengal’s diet.

Do Bengal cats need a special diet? No, Bengal cats do not require anything other than what a typical domestic cat would. A good diet of a Bengal, or any other cat, should include the following nutrients:

  • Proteins (lots of ’em)
  • Good Fats
  • Some fibers

However, Bengals do require protein more than a typical domestic cat.

With a plethora of cat foods in the market, it can be extremely difficult to decide on what to feed your cat.

However:

If you read ahead, all your cat food related questions will be answered and doubts cleared.

Your Bengal cat is what it eats

If you have a Bengal kitten at home, you might be wondering:

Should I feed it the same food the breeder was feeding it or should I switch it?

First:

It is important to know that for your kitten to grow healthy and strong, you’ll need to feed her high-quality food.

There are numerous cat food brands; sadly most of them are not healthy for your cute little Bengal.

That is because these low-quality foods, although cheaper, have fillers such as:

  • Corn
  • Grain
  • Corn gluten

These fillers are unhygienic for your cat and can cause digestive problems.

You’d never see a wild cat eat corn or grain; because it is not natural.

So:

When walking along the cat food aisle and selecting a cat food brand, make sure you check its ingredients.

We suggest our top brands for wet and dry cat food in our Bengal cat checklist. In this list, you’ll also find the top 20 products that every Bengal cat owner should have.

The thing is:

The first thing you’d want the cat food to have is meat (plenty of it).

Cats are carnivores and require (lots of) protein to stay healthy.

Bengals, and to some degree all other cats, are descended from a lineage of wild cats.

Therefore:

It is important to understand how their ancestors survived in the wild.

Wild cats are known to eat everything off their prey from their skin to their viscera.

What’s more:

A majority of their prey were herbivores i.e. ate grass, plants, herbs, etc.

So:

Not only did these cats get nutrition from their muscles and organs, but also from the partially or completely digested plants.

Therefore:

These cats have distinctive digestive tracts that don’t produce certain enzymes, vitamins, etc.

Since these substances are important to living a healthy life:

Domestic cats have different nutritional requirements than dogs that can produce these substances.

A domestic cat that does not prey needs to be provided these important substances through food.

Cats, like other carnivores, have lost the ability to produce certain chemicals important to life.

Therefore:

It is extremely important that you feed your cat high-quality food containing all life-sustaining nutrients.

What should you look for in cat food?

Here is a list and description of the ingredients that must be present in your Bengal’s cat food:

Proteins

All animal bodies are made up of protein and cats are no different.

Therefore:

A great quantity of protein is required for the sustenance of a cat’s body.

Your Bengal’s diet should constitute of, at least, 50-80% protein.

It is also said that a cat requires 2 grams of protein for every pound of its weight.

Commercial cat foods derive protein form mainly from meat.

However:

You can also feed eggs to your cat if it enjoys them as they contain a good amount of protein.

Proteins are essential for the production of amino acids.

These amino acids, in turn, are important for the growth of muscles and tissues.

Hence:

A Bengal kitten would require considerably more protein in its diet than an adult Bengal cat.

Although protein is great for cats, too much of it can cause trouble.

Proteins contain a high quantity of waste that must be filtered out of the body through kidneys.

So:

Giving your Bengal an all-protein diet means that you are putting too much burden on its kidneys.

This over-taxing of your cat’s kidneys can ultimately lead to urinary problems.

And, in extreme cases, can even lead to kidney failure.

Healthy fats

You need to make sure your Bengal is getting plenty of healthy fats in its diet.

Unlike humans or dogs, cats require great quantities of fats to remain healthy.

Moreover:

Unlike proteins, fats do not produce much waste; therefore, do not burden the kidneys.

Experts advise increasing the fat content in your cat’s diet while reducing the protein content.

Increasing the fat content while reducing the protein content would produce less of a burden on an adult cat’s old kidneys will maintaining the overall energy content.

The changes made in your Bengal’s diet should be gradual.

Because:

Sudden dietary changes can disturb your cat’s digestion and cause problems.

A word of advice:

You should consult your vet for the gradual dietary changes for your cat with respect to its weight, height, and age.

Carbs

Carbohydrates are as important as water to humans, dogs and cats alike.

However:

Cats require only 5% carbohydrates of the total diet to stay healthy.

There are two kinds of Carbohydrates:

  • Sugar (simple carbs)
  • Starch (complex carbs)

Sugar, normally found in fruits, is single unit compounds that readily subsume in the cat’s body.

On the other hand:

Starches are long-chained compounds found in potatoes, bread, etc.

The body needs to break down the starch into simpler, single unit sugar for it to consume it.

This conversion of starch to sugar helps the cat’s digestion.

Vitamins

Different vitamins are important for different aspects of a cat’s health.

Vitamin A

It is important for good vision, growth, and healthy skin.

Vitamin B1

It is essential for the overall functions of body and growth.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D helps a cat’s body to regulate phosphorus and calcium essential for strong bones and teeth.

Only a small amount of vitamin D is required in a Bengal cat’s diet.

Vitamin E

Bengal cats require vitamin E for a strong and healthy skeleton and a healthy reproductive system.

Other vitamins that cats are capable of generating themselves i.e. not require in a cat’s food:

Vitamin C

It is required for a healthy coat, skin, and gums.

Vitamin K

Cats require vitamin K for proper blood clotting.

Fiber

Fiber is an essential constituent of a cat’s diet.

Fiber can be found in vegetables and fruits.

Fiber helps keep a cat’s bowel movement smooth.

Interestingly:

Lack of fiber in your Bengal’s diet can result in two essentially opposite phenomena:

  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea

Minerals

Apart from the regular organic nutrients essential for life, there are certain inorganic nutrients i.e. minerals that are important for the sustenance of life.

Minerals, similar to vitamins, help regulate your Bengal’s bodily functions.

Following are the three main minerals required for a cat’s healthy bodily functions:

Calcium & Phosphorus

Calcium and phosphorus are essential for the sustenance of strong and healthy teeth and bones.

Moreover, they also help in proper muscle movement.

Iron

Iron is extremely important for the blood function of a cat.

It helps the blood carry oxygen from the lungs throughout the body.

It is what causes the blood to be red.

Some other minerals are:

  • Sodium
  • Iodine
  • Magnesium
  • Manganese

Last, but not the least: Water

Water is the cornerstone of life.

Without water, essentially, there is no life.

A cat’s body consists of 70 percent water.

Typically:

Your Bengal will require 1 fluid ounce of water per pound of its weight, daily.

If you are feeding your cat wet food, you might not need to feed it additional water.

However:

If you are feeding it dry or even semi-moist food, you need to give it additional water.

Bengals tend to drink water when they feel thirsty.

So:

A good practice would be to always leave a bowl of fresh water accessible to your Bengal.

Related Questions

Why does my Bengal drink dirty water rather than the clean water I present to it? A common problem of many cat owners is that their cats drink water from the dirty puddles, ponds, etc.

But, refuse to drink clean water from the bowl.

The reason for this seemingly weird behavior is that chlorine is present in our water which cats think is not normal.

Wild cats have been drinking water from ponds and rivers for centuries.

These water bodies contain algae, feces, mud, etc. which cats can smell.

Therefore:

Domestic cats, such as Bengals, cannot smell the “normal” aroma of the water in our water.

Therefore, they try to get “genuine” water from such unhygienic places.

Solution:

You can give your cat bottle water but keep it out in fresh air before giving it.

You can also add a little quantity of club soda in water as cats love the carbonation.

Lastly, Bengal cats love water and if you could leave fresh water tap running for them to drink from, they would definitely love it.

Do Bengals drink milk? Bengals shouldn’t be feed milk because they cannot digest milk sugar properly.

However, you can give them lactose-free milk.

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