Can I feed my Bengal a raw diet?

Did you know that your beautiful Bengals are obligate carnivores?!

What is an obligate carnivore? It’s an animal that is designed anatomically and physiologically to consume meat, organs and bone exclusively.

Do Bengal Cats Eat Raw Meat?

With Bengals being carnivores they have a much different anatomical lay out than herbivores. Orally cats have lots of teeth which are pointy and serrated, designed specifically for holding on to and ripping flesh and meat from bones. The mouth opens wide and moves in a vertical manner.

If we compare the oral cavity with a herbivore, their teeth are flatter then carnivore teeth and the jaw moves horizontally to break down the plant matter they are consuming.

While humans, other omnivores and herbivores have a very long digestive tract, felines have a very short one. Food items must be in an easily available form, requiring little time for processing.

Plant matter, unlike fats and protein contain a cell wall that is hard to break down which means plant matter often just passes through the system untouched. We know this true when we see bits of fruits, veggies and grains in the feces that is often bulky, quite smelly and produced often.

Why Feed Your Cat a Raw Diet?

The panaceas is responsible for producing amylase, an enzyme required to breakdown starch and other carbohydrates. While cats do produce a very limited amount of amylase, it is only there to finish the digestion of the stomach contents in prey animals. Cats overall do not produce the enzymes to breakdown fruits, veggies or grains, but do for fats and proteins.

Another issue with plant material is a feline’s inability to draw nutrients from this food source. Most importantly Taurine an essential amino acid that is required for heart health, eye health and other important functions is not found in plant matter.

Furthermore, very few plant products contain a complete amino acid profile. All meat and organs contain both Taurine and a complete amino acid profile. While the components of meat and plants are the same, the levels of these nutrients and the ability for your feline friend to process them are completely different. The Bengal breed was developed in the 1980’s. This makes the breed only 30 years old. Unless you are a virus or bacteria, it is nearly impossible to develop a completely different anatomical and physiological system, adapted to a diet that is plant based, not fresh and devoid of most moisture.

Commercial pet food especially dry food is actually one of the worst food types to provide a cat for several reasons:

  1. Commercial food is cooked at such high temperatures nutrients, fat and enzymes are destroyed and protein structure is altered. This not only results in pet food companies having to add artificial vitamins and minerals to their food but also why many animals suffer from digestive issues.

  2. It lacks moisture. While the Asian Leopard Cat or Prionailurus bengalensis are seen in tropical evergreen rainforests and plantations, Bengals like many other cats tend to only drink 50% of their daily requirement of water despite constant access or how much you see them drink. Dry food only has about 7-10% moisture in it which means if your cat isn’t drinking it and they aren’t consuming it where are they getting hydration from? This is why many cats suffer from UTIs, crystals and stones as well as kidney failure.

  3. Finally, as mentioned above carbohydrates are an inappropriate food source for cats, however almost all commercial pet foods contain carbohydrates, which include fruits and veggies in addition to grains making up often 30-50% of the food. Many of these are low quality ingredients like corn, soy, rice, wheat, potatoes and peas. They act as fillers and more times than not just tax the body as it cannot produce enough enzymes to break the carbohydrates down.

Benefits of a Raw Food Diet For Cats

  • Is appropriate for your specific species

  • Teeth are clean and white and breath is fresh

  • Improves the immune system and keeps it high

  • Helps prevent and even reverse illness such as kidney failure, urinary tract infections, allergies, cancer, obesity, diabetes, digestive problems and much more.

  • Saves you money on potential prescription diets, medications and other vet related bills

  • Feces is less frequent, smaller, firmer and has virtually no smell

  • Contains more moisture (kibble is only 7-10% moisture)

  • Companion animals are less likely to steal or beg for food

  • Raw feeding is ECO friendly and green

  • Often less expensive

  • Softer and shiny coat

  • Cats don’t need to eat as much because food is nutrient dense

  • Higher ability to avoid dyes, preservatives, artificial ingredients etc.

  • Cats have more quality energy without a crash

Some Basic Questions Answered:

What do I feed?