Since Bengals are a little on the wild side, being a combination of domestic and Asian Leopard Cat, their food source may need to reflect that. But since they are part domestic cat, is feeding them raw meat safe for the cat? Let’s look into this with the following points:
Since Bengals are made by breeding domestic cats with Asian Leopard Cats, Bengals can benefit from the raw meat diet their ancestors enjoyed. The Asian Leopard Cat’s diet contained a surplus of protein based foods such as birds, lizards and insects. But since most commercial cat foods on the market today contain less meat and more carbohydrates, a homemade raw meat diet can benefit Bengals’ health.
Bengals eating raw meat doesn’t just stem from the Asian Leopard ancestry however, all cats are carnivores. Pixel Perfect Cats advises that cats must eat a meat-based diet and their digestive systems are made to extract all the essential protein, fats, and vitamins from meat.
Domestic cats are carnivores, designed to process animal based protein from raw foods, and cannot digest plant-based protein.
Most widely available cat foods contain a lot of low cost bulk such as wheat, corn, barley, or rice which their digestive systems are not evolved to digest in larger amounts. Considering this, a raw meat diet can be very helpful to a Bengals’ health and well-being. After all, they lived for thousands of years eating prey, not canned food.
Bengals do seem to crave more meat than other domestic cats. Some breeders will feed very lean red beef along with their cats’ regular diet while others feed only raw meat.
However, ordinary hamburger contains too much fat and can make their stomachs upset. Ground round, ground sirloin, or beef hearts is well tolerated and very much enjoyed by Bengals.
But even when feeding only raw meat, a feline friendly vitamin needs to be added to ensure that the cat is getting every nutrient that it needs.
With a raw meat diet, there is the added precaution to take care of the meat to be served. Raw meat can cause food poisoning in a Bengal just as in a human. The meat should not sit out at room temperature for very long and anything not eaten after 20 minutes should discarded.
Unseasoned, boneless chicken can be cooked and served with or without dry or soft cat food. Plus, Belle Ami Bengals states that Bengals are notorious chicken lovers.
This diet can be great for Bengals best health though so the mess may be worth it. A good mix is raw, ground chicken, with the bones, mixed with raw liver.
And if handled properly, raw meat has less bacteria than many store-bought foods. Salmonella has even been found in dry cat kibble as well as high levels of mold toxins from grains.
Remember this when considering or starting to breed Bengals, especially to keep them healthy and well fed.
However for some, dealing with raw meat multiple times a day and not having the freedom to put down a bowl of cat kibble and leave it there all day, raw meat feeding isn’t the best option for them. But if this is the case, and dealing with raw meat, despite being the most natural diet possible, a Bengal might not be the right cat.
Some owners have tried and discontinued a raw meat diet because it’s too messy and time-consuming. Grinding up a whole carcass with a loud meat and bone grinder may already be too much work, and then comes sanitizing all of the equipment used. Adding in the correctly measured vitamins and minerals can become tedious. And then this needs to be done two or three times a day, every day of the week.
Raw diets are sold in stores however, and some are very good. But there is a much higher chance of finding salmonella in this food.
Pixel Perfect Cats advises not to risk bringing salmonella around a kitten, as it can kill the young feline. Raw cat food should also be handled as carefully as any raw meat. The bowls shouldn’t be left out for long periods of time and the bowls should be cleaned thoroughly between feedings.
Although this care for raw meat won’t keep a Bengal from grabbing a fish right out of the water while swimming.
So if this doesn’t sound like the perfect diet, or maybe too much messy work, what other options are there?
When young, kittens should be eating a high quality kibble until their first birthday. It should be a kibble designed specifically to help them stay healthy and active. Then they can switch over to a regular, adult cat kibble.
For this new kibble, the first ingredient should be meat, not a grain like corn, glutens, or a by product.
If curious about something else to feed a Bengal, check out the video below for an interesting feline friendly recipe:
So, what do you think about Bengals and raw meat? Do you agree with what was said here? Comment below to let us know!