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
CANNED VERSUS DRY FOOD:
|Canned food pros:
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:
Cannot leave out all day
|Dry food pros:
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.
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.
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
|12 week old kittens:
||about 110 calories per pound
|16 week old kittens:
||about 80 calories per pound daily
|24 week old kittens:
||about 60-70 calories per pound
|40 week old kittens:
||about 35-45 calories per pound
||about 30 calories per pound daily
|Spayed or Neutered Adults:
||about 26 calories per pound daily
||about 18-22 calories per pound
|You have a 4 pound, 20-week old
|We'll estimate 75 calories per
pound, so 4 x 75 = 300 calories needed.
|If you were feeding canned
A 5.5 oz can contains 218 calories.
300 / 218 = 1.37, so you should feed 1-1/3 cans
|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.
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.
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