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BENGAL DIET

GRAIN-FREE DIETS ARE OFTEN BEST:
All cats are obligate carnivores, meaning that they must eat a meat-based diet.  Their digestive systems are fine-tuned to extract all the essential protein, fats, and vitamins from meat. 

Most widely available cat foods contain a lot of grain (wheat, corn, barley, or rice) to bulk up the food at a low cost. Cats are not evolved to digest significant amounts of grain. Feeding them a grain-based diet can cause digestive upset and early deterioration. Therefore we recommend Feeding your Bengal Cat a grain-free cat food. Grain-free foods are little more expensive than generic brands but your cat will be happier. They're usually more nutrient-rich so the portion size is smaller and a bag lasts longer.

Check the ingredient list on your cat food!

 

CANNED VERSUS DRY FOOD:

Canned food pros: Easily digested
More palatable (especially for sick or old cats)
Added water (to keep cats hydrated)
Can be less taxing on a catís intestines
Canned food cons: More expensive
More cleanup
Cannot leave out all day
Dry food pros: More affordable
Fast and easy to feed and cleanup
Some cats prefer the crunch.
Dry food cons: Less easily digestible
Many brands contain more grains and fillers
Note:  There's a common misconception that dry food is better because it cleans catsí teeth.  Cats do not chew their food and studies have shown little benefit from dry food on dental health, unless it is a specialized dental diet.

 

OVERFEEDING: THE EASY MISTAKE
When I hear about a Bengal Cat with digestive problems I always ask about the food. Often time people are feeding good diets but they're simply feeding too much!

Overfeeding is easy with these rich, concentrated foods. In the wild cats hunt small animals like rodents and birds so they've evolved to live on small, rich meals. Every once in a while they make a big catch so they're capable of stuffing themselves when they get lucky.

In the home they live an easier life and eat on a regular schedule. But they're still capable of eating more then they need - which means more than they can digest. Overeating leads to diarrhea, gas, and bloating.

 

PORTION SIZE:
Check the portion recommendations on your food and use a real measuring cup. Also feel free to fine-tune your feeding to the needs of your cat. Here are some general guidelines.

First, look up the calorie content of your cat food. Often this is not on the label but it's usually available on the manufacturer's website. Now weigh your cat with a reliable scale. Don't guess or estimate your cat's weight. You can weigh yourself and then weigh yourself holding the cat. 

Now calculate how much to feed based on your cat's daily caloric requirement.

These Are Approximate Values:

12 week old kittens: about 110 calories per pound daily
16 week old kittens: about 80 calories per pound daily
24 week old kittens: about 60-70 calories per pound daily
40 week old kittens: about 35-45 calories per pound daily
Intact Adults: about 30 calories per pound daily
Spayed or Neutered Adults: about 26 calories per pound daily
Inactive/Overweight Adults: about 18-22 calories per pound daily

 

Feeding Example:

You have a 4 pound, 20-week old kitten. 
We'll estimate 75 calories per pound, so 4 x 75 = 300 calories needed. 
If you were feeding canned Wellness CORE:
A 5.5 oz can contains 218 calories.
300 / 218  = 1.37,  so you should feed 1-1/3 cans daily
If you were feeding dry EVO Chicken & Turkey:
1 cup contains 602 calories.
300 / 602 = 0.498, so you should feed 1/2 cup daily.

 

RECOMMENDED FOODS:
These are just our personal recommendations; I haven't tried every brand and my opinions are not infallible. But at least I can offer some guidance based on my personal experience.

I like Wellness brand. They offer many varieties of canned & dry food; make sure to get one of their grain-free formulas. 

Blue Buffalo is another great brand with lots of grain-free choices.

Earthborn is also a great brand with a very good "Primitive Feline" formula.

 

Does your cat have a sensitive stomach? Does your cat get diarrhea even though he tests free of parasites & disease? Here's a neat trick even though it's not a grain-free food.

First, cut back to the recommended portion size or a little bit less. Resist all temptation to feed "just a little bit extra" and no treats! Now replace about half of your usual food with Science Diet Oral Care dry formula. It contains lots of fiber (designed to clean cat's teeth) but it also works great on nonspecific diarrhea. The great thing is, unlike most fiber supplements, cats all seem to love it!

 

If your cat is experiencing food allergies or if you need a "clean & simple" food to rule out food allergies, try Natural Balance L.I.D. (Limited Ingredient Diet.)  These are considered to be hypoallergenic foods. Available in three varieties, the protein content is relatively low (30% dry) and fiber content is high so you may notice large soft stools compared to high-protein foods.

 

 

RAW DIETS:
I've tried raw diets in the past and decided not to continue. I think it's too messy and time-consuming to grind whole carcasses with a loud meat & bone grinder and then deal with the sanitization. Plus mixing in vitamin and mineral supplements and worrying about things like the taurine level is just tedious. I also got tired of handling large amounts of gooey mashed up raw chicken two or three times a day, every day.

You can buy commercially prepared raw diets and some of them are very good.  Many cats thrive on these raw diets. There's also a much higher chance of bringing in salmonella with raw food... no matter what the raw-food advocates say. Salmonella will kill a young kitten so I keep it out of the cattery. Cats do a lot of mutual grooming (and butt-licking) which can spread salmonella to a non-exposed cat.

There are some serious raw food evangelists on the internet, and I wish them well. I hope their cats are perfect and happy and disease-free. But it's absurd when someone states that all non-raw foods are terrible because I can point to thousands of healthy, happy cats who don't eat raw diets.  The vast majority of award-winning cats don't eat raw diets. In fact, whenever someone starts talking about the only good food or the only good litter... I stop listening.

If you want to feed raw diet that's fine. Raw diets may be more practical for people who don't have very young kittens around. Just be careful to handle raw cat food as carefully as any raw meat, don't leave the bowls out for long periods of time, and clean the bowls thoroughly between feedings.

 

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