No doubt you want the best for your Bengal cat and you know how important it is that they live a happy and healthy life. One of the best ways that you can ensure that your Bengal is healthy and happy is to make sure that you are aware of their nutritional needs and provide them with the best food you possibly can. Whether you feed them wet food, dry food or both, it's important that the food you choose is healthy and provide them with all the nutrients that they require. In this article we will cover the following:
- What Human Foods are Good for Bengals?
- What Ingredients to Avoid in Dry Food
- Our Top Choices for the Best Dry Food for Bengal Cats
What Human Foods are Good for Bengals?
Even though it's best that your Bengals diet consist mainly of a nutritionally complete cat food, it doesn't mean that you can't treat them every once and awhile with some of your own human food. However, if you want to do this, it's important that you don't feed them food that can harm them. If you want to know what foods your Bengal should never eat please refer to our article “Best Wet Food for Bengal Cats”. Here though, we'll cover what human foods are cat friendly that also contain nutrients that your cat needs.
- Meat – There's no getting around it, cats are meat eaters, simple as that. They need protein from the meat for a good strong heart, good vision and overall well-being. So, there really isn't anything wrong with giving them a little of your cooked chicken, turkey, beef and even some lean deli meat. However, don't give them raw or meat you suspect might be spoiled. Basically, if you wouldn't eat, don't give it to your Bengal.
- Whole Grains – Even though there are many out there who claim grains are not good for pets, there are some excepts that are fine to give them on occasion. In fact there are some that are exceptionally good for them, such as oats because they have a lot of protein in them. Cats often like brown rice, wheat berries, millet, barley, and couscous. They especially seem to like couscous because they tend to prefer the smaller grains. Always make sure that the grains are cooked before serving them to your Bengal.
- Fish – Fish is a great one to give your Bengal because they are loaded with omega 3 fatty acids and fish helps their eyes stay sharp and fish can help with kidney disease, heart disorders, and even arthritis if your cat is elderly. Make sure of course that the fish is cooked, raw fish is really a bad idea.
- Eggs – These are another great source of protein for your Bengal, just make sure that these are cooked as well.
- Vegetables – Of course not all cats like veggies and they even like fruit less. However, these foods do offer a good source of vitamins and they are packed with fiber and water which help with their digestion. A few vegetables you might try are fresh cucumbers, steamed broccoli, or asparagus. You also might consider cooking up a veggie burger, you might be surprised at how much they might like it.
- Cheese – Even though cats as adults tend to be lactose intolerant, cheese is very high in protein and can be a great treat for your Bengal as long as you feed them very small amounts.
If you do give them human food as treats, just remember that you don't give them too much because you don't want them to become overweight because this can lead to a variety of different health issues.
What Ingredients to Avoid in Dry Foods
When it comes to finding a healthy dry food for your Bengal it's important that you take the time to educate yourself about the bad ingredients found in many brands on the market. This means you need to make sure that you really take time to stop and read those ingredients before buying the food. Below you will find a list of ingredients that you really should try to avoid:
- BHA, BHT & Ethoxyquin – These three items are chemical preservatives that are effective in preserving dry food. However, they are suspected to be possible cancer causing agents. Many reputable cat food manufacturers have now moved toward using preservatives that are natural like vitamins C and E.
- Meat By-Products – The American Association of Feed Control Officers define these products as “The non-rendered, clean parts, other than meat, that are derived from animals that are slaughtered. This includes, and is not limited to things such as, lungs, kidneys, spleen, brain, livers, bone, blood, and partially de-fatted low-temperature fatty tissue, stomachs, and intestines.” Meat by-products normally should be considered a very inferior form of protein.
- Meat Meal or Meat By-Product Meal – This is pretty much the same as meat by-products and should try to avoid it.
- Corn Meal as a Filler – Some dry foods can have as much as 50% grain in them and the carbohydrate content is far too high for any cat, especially for older cats and those with diabetes. A little bit of carbs, is fine but not the percentage that can often be found in dry foods.
When reading the label of dry cat food make sure that they name the actual protein source that it contains. If it just says “meat”, this isn't good enough. You want to look for the words turkey, chicken, lamb, beef, salmon and so on.
Also make sure that the fat source is named. For example “chicken fat”, this is alright to be in the food as well as oils like sunflower oil that can often be found in the premium cat foods.
It's best if the dry food contains vitamins like C and E because they are healthy preservatives that won't harm your cat.
Finally make sure that taurine is somewhere in the ingredients. Cats need some way to get taurine in order to maintain good health. If there is a deficiency of taurine it can lead to retinal degeneration and can cause heart disease.
Our Top Choices for the Best Dry Food for Bengal Cats
After go through some of the dry cat foods on the market, and there are plenty of them to choose from, to hopefully help make your choice easier, we've come up with five of the top dry cat foods that we believe could be ones that are not only healthy for your Bengal, but may be ones that they will enjoy eating.
Below is the list of dry cat foods we feel might be good choices for your Bengal cat.
Rachael Ray Nutrish Natural Dry Cat Food
ABOUT: This dry cat food was created by the famous chef Rachael Ray and they are recipes that she created in her own test kitchen. The recipe for theses dry foods are simple and made with healthy ingredients. These recipes combine high-quality proteins like salmon, whitefish, and chicken with vegetables, vitamins, taurine, and minerals.
FEATURES: This dry food always makes sure that it's number one ingredient is high-quality protein such as chicken and fish. There is no corn, soy, or wheat in this dry food and also no meat or meal by-products or fillers. There are also no artificial preservatives, colors, or flavors.
PROS: This is a well-balanced dry food that is all natural and includes the right vitamins, minerals, and taurine in it. The chicken and brown rice for example is made with only real farm raised chickens here in the US. You won't find any kind of ground meals such as soy, wheat or corn. For extra fiber there is beet pulp included because it's a source that naturally promotes healthy digestion.
CONS: There does seem to be corn gluten in some of the varieties of this product.
Blue Buffalo Wilderness High Protein
Dry Adult Cat Food
FEATURES: This is a dry cat food that includes the healthy and complex carbohydrates that are good for cats, sweet potatoes. They also include ingredients such as carrots, blueberries, and cranberries, all of which support antioxidant enrichment. All ingredients are guaranteed to be natural including the preservatives.
PROS: Offers just the right amount of blends of minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants. There are no artificial additives for enhanced flavor, color, or preservatives. This food contains no meat by-products and no by-product meals which means there is no corn, soy, or wheat contained in this dry food.
CONS: There have been a few instances where this food didn't seem to agree with some cats.
Purina ONE Indoor Advantage
Adult Premium Cat Food
ABOUT: This food is made to provide the nutrition that cats require, especially when living indoors. Meat and poultry is always featured first on the list of ingredients and the food offers 42 grams of protein per cup and claims to have no extra fillers in it. It also contains the much needed omega-6 fatty acids to help maintain a beautiful coat.
FEATURES: This dry food comes in 3.5 pound, 7 pound, 16 pound, and 22 pound bags and is fairly inexpensive for the quality. It is a kibble with a nice crunch which helps to cut down on any plaque buildup on the teeth and can even help to whiten your Bengals teeth.
PROS: Contains a high amount of protein per cup of the food and contains omega-6 which is good for their coats. Meat, poultry, or fish are always listed at the first ingredient. The food also contains a fair amount of antioxidants that helps to support their immune system. The natural fiber blend in this recipe helps cats digest better and cuts down on hairballs.
CONS: Some complaints have been regarding their cats feces smelling worse after eating this dry food.
Hill's Science Diet Indoor Dry Cat Food
ABOUT: This is another dry cat food that was specifically created to meet all the nutritional needs of indoor cats. There is added fiber that helps to promote gentle and healthy digestion with high-quality ingredients that can actually make litter box cleanup a little easier. It is also intended to help keep your cat at a healthy weight due to it's lean protein contained in it. This dry food is often recommended by vets and pet nutritionists.
FEATURES: This is a dry cat food that is made in the USA and contains ingredients from the US. And a few imported ingredients and they are high-quality proteins along with other natural ingredients. It also has a good balance of amino acids, minerals, and vitamins required by cats. There are no artificial preservatives or flavors.
PROS: The first ingredient listed is always the meat, fish or poultry contained in it. Has natural preservatives in it such as vitamins C and E and has plenty other vitamins and minerals that your Bengal cat needs. For fiber and natural flavor enhancement they include ingredients such as peas, apples, carrots, broccoli, and cranberries.
CONS: There are some concerns that the food tends to be oily feeling and the pieces seem to be too big for some cats.
Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Dry Cat Food
ABOUT: This dry cat food is one that uses very simple formulas for their recipes. They do this to try and minimize any chance of food sensitivities that a cat might have. This food offers cat owners alternative ingredients for their cats. It's grain free and specifically designed to support a healthy digestive system and coat health.
FEATURES: This dry food it totally grain free and offers a small but interesting variety of flavors such as green peas and chicken, green peas and duck, green peas and venison, salmon and chickpea and several others.
PROS: This food contains no grains and very few ingredients to cut down on the chance of food sensitivities. The top foods listed in the ingredients are premium proteins such as duck, chicken, salmon, and even venison.
CONS: Some cats don't seem to like this particular brand. Also, the price might be too steep for many.
After reviewing some of the various dry cat foods that are out there, we've decided that the one we feel is our personal favorite is Rachael Ray Nutrish Natural Dry Cat Food. We chose this one because we feel that it is a very high-quality dry cat food and there were so few negatives about this product. We also believe that it truly fits the most important criteria for a good and healthy cat food that Bengal cats need. Even though some varieties did contain corn gluten, it can be avoided by simply buying their grain free varieties.
Although all of the above mentioned dry cat foods were all considered to be of high-quality foods and contained pretty much all the nutritional needs of most cats including Bengals, the simplicity and nutritional balance of our choice is one that has a good possibility of pleasing both the pet parent and their Bengal.