Have you ever looked at your Bengal cat and wondered if your cat was getting enough food? Our contemporary society holds a worrying conception of how much cats should weigh; many individuals correlate a happy cat to an abundance of food and a few extra pounds. The same can be said for Bengals, however, feeding them more might actually be hurting their health.
So, are Bengal cats supposed to be skinny? Yes, Bengal cats can be skinny. Bengals should not be thin to the point where you can see their ribs, but they do tend to be lean. As long as you’re feeding your Bengal the right amount of high-quality, nutritious food, providing it with various outlets for physical activity, and monitoring your cat for diseases or other health issues, it is entirely normal for your Bengal cat to be slim.
Of course, to accurately determine your Bengal’s ideal weight, you should consult your trusted veterinarian. They will let you know right away if your animal is ever under-weight. It is important to first consider the Bengal body type, temperament, recommended feeding regimen, and hereditary diseases before allowing yourself to worry too much.
Understanding The Bengal Cat Body Type
The body of a Bengal cat is unlike that of any other domestic cat breed. They have a distinctly wild structure and usually weigh on the lighter side—about 8-10 pounds for females, and 10-15 pounds for males.
While domestic cats usually have a torso that is consistent in depth throughout, the Bengal cat has a much deeper torso at the rear end of its body. This difference stems from its wildcat ancestor’s need to jump between trees.
The Bengal’s hind legs are sturdier and longer than their front legs, while their hips are placed far back and are angled downward, forcing the spine to curve. The Bengal’s ancestor, the tree-dwelling Asian Leopard cat, possesses these features in a much more pronounced manner, allowing it to jump impressively.
The Asian Leopard cat’s lean body mass also contributes to the ease with which it can leap. Bengals, adopting this feature from the Asian Leopard cat, naturally have lean and muscular torsos.
This slim torso, while a product of genetics, is often thought to result from underfeeding. It is imperative to recognize that Bengals are supposed to be lean. If you overfeed your Bengal cat or do not provide it with enough opportunities for exercise, they will no longer possess their wild, natural structure, and they become subject to a variety of health problems that come with being an overweight cat.
Bengals Cats Are Athletic By Nature
Little bundles of joy and strength, Bengal cats are engineered to be the epitome of the athletic feline. Anyone who’s spent time around one can vouch for their seemingly tireless spirit. Cats cannot be fully content until their physical needs are met, meaning until they are an ideal weight, maintain a muscular build, and exercise daily.
Being inclined to run, jump, and play all day, Bengals typically appear light and nimble. Don’t worry—their slimmer figure doesn’t mean that they’re deprived of food. As prolonged exercise and fun makes the Bengal cat happy, their body easily reflects that athleticism.
Nevertheless, it’s when your Bengal’s body doesn’t appear lean and muscular, and when they do not seem particularly high-energy, that something is wrong. The disappearance of their wild temperament could be due to insufficient outlets for releasing energy.
Always make sure that you satisfy your Bengal’s intense physical needs by taking them for walks with a harness, providing them with the opportunity to run and leap in your home, and playing with them directly.
Recommended Bengal Cat Feeding Schedule and Regimen
As much as 35% of the North American feline population is obese, as well as 50% of cats between 5 and 11 years of age are considered overweight. Modern-day cat owners must realize that overfeeding does not increase their cat’s quality of life; in fact, it’s hurting them.
Whether you’re concerned your cat is under or overweight, feeding your Bengal a raw food diet can be essential to their health and well-being. Putting your Bengal cat on a consistent feeding schedule will help maintain a healthy weight and overall happiness for your cat.
The leanest, most agile Bengals are fed raw. A biologically-appropriate raw food diet imitates what the Bengal cat’s forebearers consume in the wild. Bengal cats, even more so than their domestic cousins, should only be ingesting quality meat. They don’t possess the ability to digest carbohydrates, which are commonly found in canned and dry cat food.
A raw food diet allows Bengals to ingest the nutrients their body needs without questionable additives, fillers, and gums. Consisting of bones, organs, and muscle tissue, the raw diet provides felines with all the essential vitamins and amino acids necessary to thrive.
Most Bengal breeders feed their cat’s raw meat and bones with appropriate supplements. While Bengals on a homemade raw food diet must be fed 80% meat, 10% secreting organs, and 10% bones, raw pet food services grind everything for your kitty into convenient daily portions.
Remember always to handle raw meat safely! Thoroughly wash hands, utensils, and cutting boards that have come into contact with raw meat. Cats, having a shorter digestive tract, can process raw food without the risk of contracting pathogens; however, it is essential to protect yourself from food-borne illnesses when preparing your Bengal’s raw food.
Hereditary Diseases that May Contribute to Your Bengal’s Weight
If you’re providing your Bengal kitty with playtime and high-quality food, but they appear frailer than most other Bengals (with their ribs and spine showing through their fur), they may be suffering from a hereditary disease that affects their weight.
Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, PK deficiency, and Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP) are health problems commonly associated with the Bengal breed. Bengals with these health issues, or with other breed-specific health complications such as cataracts or patellar luxation, may stop eating due to pain.
If your Bengal has stopped eating, appears too thin, and seems lethargic, book an appointment with your local vet.
Dangers Of Overfeeding Your Cat
Feeding your Bengal appropriate amounts of high-quality food, ensuring they are free of health problems, and allowing them opportunities to exercise daily will yield you a happy kitty. If you’ve done your research while utilizing appropriate sources, don’t fall victim to the “fat cat” norm.
As a cat owner myself, I have done the appropriate research when it comes to what to feed my cat, I feed them a completely raw diet; they have never had issues with being overweight. My cats are muscular, soft-furred, and bright-eyed.
Be careful with entrusting your cat to friends and neighbors while away. There must be a clear understanding of what to feed your cat and how much. This is especially important if your friends or neighbors are not cat owners and have a perception of what your cat should be eating.
Last year, I entrusted neighbors and friends to care for my cats throughout my three-day trip in Florida. I pre-froze carefully measured portions of raw food to be defrosted twice daily. When I arrived back home, the commercial cat food bags I’d reserved for emergencies were empty. Horrifically, both my cats had quickly gained weight. Both were lethargic and distant. The older kitty had developed a significant amount of belly fat.
When I gently asked my neighbor why they fed my cats more than I’d asked them to, their response was: “they seem skinnier than other cats I know.”
The lesson to be learned here is that society has developed a streamlined vision of cats—that if they aren’t chubby, they aren’t living life to its fullest. Bengal owners—keep in mind that your cat is a close descendant of a wild animal; therefore, your cat should look as strong and agile as it would if its home were the forest.
Keeping tabs on your Bengals weight comes with good intentions. Just make sure you correctly envision the breed’s happy medium—not frail, not chubby, but limber and capable.