Nutrition

Best Cat Food For Bengals: Raw, Freeze-Dried, Wet, Dry, & More

Your cat may require certain food depending on their age, size, health, and activity level, but what about their breed? We review some of the best foods for Bengal cats.

Tara Maurer holding cat smiling

Last Updated: February 8, 2024 | 11 min read

Begal cat eating food

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Are you looking for the best cat food for Bengals? The Bengal is a muscular, athletic breed created from a hybrid of the Asian leopard and other domestic cats. With this background, it stands to reason that your Bengal may need a specific diet for optimum health. Not only that, but the Bengal’s playful and active lifestyle requires a diet that hits their basic nutritional needs so they don’t run out of energy.

The wide world of pet food is a confusing place. How do you choose the best cat food? Should you buy wet or dry? And what about raw diets? Do Bengals require raw meat? As with any cat, the key is to feed your cat well-balanced, high-quality food from various animal sources. From there, we’ll help you decide what food is best for your Bengal cat.

Best Foods For Bengal Cats At A Glance

Darwin's Natural Selections
Our Rating

Best Raw

Darwin’s Natural Selections

Our Rating

Best Wet

Tiki Cat After Dark

Our Rating

Best Customizable

Smalls Human-Grade Fresh

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What Do Bengal Cats Eat?

Like all cats, Bengals are obligate carnivores. What does this mean? Felines are bound, or “obligated,” by the necessity to consume meat for their health. Like their wild ancestors, cats rely on nutrients from animal products and can’t digest plant material as effectively. 

While there are no strict rules on what to feed your Bengal cat, all cats require specific nutrients. In addition, you may choose a particular food to prevent feline health issues. Bengals are prone to certain health issues, such as heart disease, progressive retinal atrophy, cataracts, and joint problems. A well-balanced diet with appropriate serving sizes will significantly benefit your cat’s health. In addition, there are certain ingredients to look for when considering preventative care for your cat, which we’ll cover.

Cat Nutritional Needs

As an obligate carnivore, your kitty’s diet must consist of 70 percent or more meat for optimum health. While it’s unlikely that your housecat is hunting their food, they still require a high-protein, low-carbohydrate diet to remain in good health. According to the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO), cats need the following nutrients:

MacrosAmino AcidsFatty AcidsVitamins & Vitamin-Like SubstancesMinerals
ProteinArginineLinoleic acid (LA)Vitamin ACalcium
FatHistidinealpha-Linolenic acid (ALA)Vitamin DPhosphorus
IsoleucineArachidonic acid (AA)Vitamin EPotassium
LeucineEicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)Vitamin KSodium
LysineThiamine (B1)Chloride
MethionineRiboflavin (B2)Magnesium
Methionine-cystinePantothenic AcidIron
PhenylalanineNiacin (B3)Copper
Phenylalanine-tyrosinePyridoxineManganese
ThreonineFolic AcidZinc
TryptophanBiotinIodine
ValineVitamin B12Selenium
Choline
Taurine

The best cat food for Bengals will consist primarily of animal ingredients and provide the protein, fat, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals needed for overall health and wellness:

  • Protein: Cats require more protein than humans and other companion pets, like dogs. Animo acids are the building blocks of protein. Together, they help build tissue and organs and repair the body. They are a significant source of energy for the carnivorous feline. Because your cat doesn’t produce all the amino acids needed to create protein, they must get amino acids through their diet. Quality protein sources for cats include chicken, beef, turkey, rabbit, and eggs.
  • Fats: Fats provide cats with energy, improve nutrient absorption, and help make hormones. Cats also require fatty acids from their diet, which play a role in reducing inflammation and supporting the brain, eyes, skin, and joints. Fatty acids, such as arachidonic acid, EPA, and DHA, are found primarily in meat. Quality fat sources for cats include fish oil and beef tallow.
  • Carbohydrates: The AAFCO does not list carbohydrates as a necessary nutrient for cats because cats’ bodies are designed to utilize meat products, and prey in the wild contains limited carbs. That said, cats do use carbohydrates for energy and digestive support. In particular, fiber helps ensure your cat’s trips to the litter box are regular.
  • Vitamins and Minerals: All cats require vitamins and minerals from their diet because they can’t synthesize them independently. These micronutrients have various bodily functions, including immune support, hormone regulation, and cellular repair.
  • Water: Every living creature needs water. Water carries nutrients through the body, supports elimination, regulates body temperature, and more. Water prevents severe illness and death.

5 Factors To Consider

  1. Protein content: The AAFCO recommends cats have a minimum of 26 percent crude protein (based on dry matter) or 65 grams per 1000 calories. While an official requirement for fat has not been established, the AAFCO recommends 9 percent crude fat (22.5 grams per 1000 calories) based on the recognition that fat is a source of essential fatty acids and it transports fat-soluble vitamins, enhances the palatability of food, and increases caloric density.
  2. Food-based vs. synthetic nutrients: You may have heard that you must ensure your cat’s food is fortified with vitamins and the vitamin-like substance taurine. Taurine is an essential amino acid, meaning your cat must get it through their diet. When commercial pet food became popular, it lacked sufficient amounts of taurine and caused health problems due to taurine deficiencies. Symptoms of taurine deficiency in cats include blindness and heart disease. All commercial cat food today is regulated to ensure it contains enough taurine to cover a cat’s needs. A “complete and balanced” food will have enough taurine via protein sources—chicken, salmon, beef, etc.—or will add synthetic taurine to reach the required level.
  3. Digestive support: For cats that struggle with digestive issues, look for a formula with fibrous carbs (pumpkin, carrots, and apples), probiotics, or prebiotic fiber (inulin, chicory root, and oats).
  4. Phytochemicals: While cats don’t need any plant material for survival, research shows that cats benefit from plant phytochemicals, compounds produced by plants. Phytochemicals aid the immune system, prevent DNA damage, reduce inflammation, and slow cancer cell growth. A 2020 study concluded that phytochemical quercetin—a flavonoid found in apples, berries, and green tea—decreased inflammation and improved lipid metabolism in obese cats. Research links phytochemical curcumin—found in turmeric—to the management of inflammatory conditions, arthritis, anxiety, and more.
  5. Mix vs. mono meals: Mono feeding involves feeding your cat one single animal source and rotating meat products per feeding (continuous feeding of one food source is not recommended for a complete diet). Mixed meals involve blending various products into each meal (chicken and beef, salmon and turkey). While it’s tempting to watch your cat tear into a single piece of meat, we recommend mixing meats at every meal to ensure your cat has a balanced diet.

Should Bengals Eat A Raw Diet?

Bengal cat standing on vet exam table with vet holding side

You may have heard a raw food is the best cat food for Bengals. A raw diet is just as it sounds: providing your cat with uncooked meat as they would eat in the wild. Proponents of the raw diet for cats say it’s the best option for optimum health.

  • Raw diets are biologically appropriate, meaning they are the same as the ancestral diet
  • Raw foods maintain enzymes lost during the cooking process, ensuring proper digestion
  • Raw feeding has a higher moisture content, supporting urinary health
  • Raw diets tend to have simple ingredients, making them better for cats with food sensitivities or allergies
  • Ground bone in raw cat food acts as an abrasive for dental health
  • The fatty acids in a raw diet contribute to healthy skin and coat
  • Switching to a raw diet is linked to increased energy and weight loss

While there are many benefits to changing your cat to a raw diet, you should also consider the following drawbacks:

  • Raw diets tend to be more expensive
  • Those making DIY meals for their cat risk creating nutrient deficiencies from unbalanced meals
  • Bones in raw diets could cause intestinal blockages
  • Raw foods are more likely to be contaminated with harmful bacteria

If you are considering a raw diet for your Bengal, we recommend buying packaged raw cat food. This way, the company is responsible for providing your pet with a nutritious and well-balanced meal.

What Types Of Organ Meats Are Good For Bengals?

Organ meats, also called offal, are nutrient-packed superfoods for cats. While not the most appetizing-sounding ingredients, organ meats are low in calories and provide ample vitamins and minerals.

  • Gizzard: Essentially the stomach of a chicken and other fowl, gizzards supply protein, cartilage, vitamins, and probiotics
  • Heart: Animal hearts are a quality source of protein and taurine, as well as B vitamins, iron, zinc, and selenium
  • Kidney: Protein-packed kidneys contain omega-3 fatty acids along with B12, selenium, and iron
  • Liver: Animal liver is another source of protein, as well as vitamin A

Best Raw Food For Bengals

Darwin's Natural Selections

  • Chicken, turkey, or beef recipes
  • All recipes contain antibiotic-free and hormone-free meat and organs; marine oils from sea-harvested wild sardines or Alaskan cod; and a vitamin and mineral mix
  • Cage-free, free-range, and pasture-raised meats
  • Free of grains, plant proteins, fillers, and chemical preservatives
  • BPA-free packaging and shipped on dry ice to preserve meals
  • Complimentary menu consultation

Darwin’s Natural Pet Products offers three recipes in its Natural Selections cat food line: beef, chicken, and turkey. Each formula contains USDA-certified, human-grade meat and organs (96% to 98%), trace minerals and vitamins (1% to 3.5%), and marine oils (0.5% to 1%). All recipes meet the complete and balanced guidelines of AAFCO for feline nutrition, meaning that no additional supplements are required with this food. 

Darwin’s get A+ marks for its dedication to animals—both pets and livestock. All of Darwin’s meats are pasture-raised and free-roaming. Animals are raised without antibiotics, steroids, or artificial hormones to ensure your pet’s overall health.

While the quality of Darwin’s recipes is impeccable, the price point of these meals makes them unobtainable for some. Darwin’s has an introductory discount—10 pounds for $14.95; from there, meals average $18 per two-pound package. One pouch will feed your cat for approximately two days. Darwin’s is direct to consumers, so you won’t find it at your local pet shop. Shipping is free on orders over 20 pounds; orders under 20 pounds are charged a $10 flat rate shipping fee.

Best Freeze-Dried Food For Bengals

Primal Freeze-Dried Nuggets

Primal Turkey Formula Nuggets Raw Freeze-Dried Cat
  • Antibiotic-free and hormone-free USDA meat
  • USDA organic produce for antioxidant and anti-inflammatory support
  • Transparent sourcing and third-party testing
  • Free of grains, plant proteins, fillers, synthetic vitamins, and chemical preservatives
  • All formulas contain food-based vitamins and minerals, wild-caught fish oil, and probiotics

For conscious consumers, there’s much to love about Primal Pet Foods. Recipes use ethically-raised meat and USDA organic produce. Primal’s sourcing transparency is a refreshing change from what you usually find in the pet food industry. Visit the Primal website, and you can view the origin of each ingredient. Primal uses third-party lab testing for pathogenic bacteria on every lot to ensure all products are safe for sale and use high-pressure processing (HPP) to eliminate salmonella and other food-borne pathogens without cooking the meat. Recipes are crafted in the United States.

Recipes include a 88 to 91 percent blend of meat, organs, and bones, with the remainder being an organic produce and supplement blend. Primal is unique in that it doesn’t use synthetic vitamins, instead including ingredients to provide bioavailable nutrients. Ingredients include:

  • organic apple cider vinegar: a source of probiotics and enzymes
  • organic alfalfa leaf powder: high in various vitamins and minerals, including vitamins C, D, E, and K, riboflavin, niacin, folic acid, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, and potassium
  • wild-caught anchovy oil: provides omega-3 fatty acids
  • organic blueberries: a natural antioxidant source containing the phytonutrient anthocyanin
  • organic cranberries: a source of phytonutrients and antioxidants
  • gelatin: from grass-fed beef and a source of protein, calcium, and magnesium
  • organic kelp powder: packed with trace minerals
  • montmorillonite clay: a source of 70+ minerals and trace minerals, including zinc, selenium, and magnesium
  • probiotics: for immune and digestive support
  • organic rosemary: provides antioxidant support

Despite having fruits and vegetables, these recipes are still low in carbohydrates. Organic produce offers antioxidant and anti-inflammatory support, which is especially important as cats age and deal with health problems. For those that enjoy adding toppers to their cat’s meal, Primal’s feeding calculator is a great way to manage calorie consumption while providing your cat with the best nutrition. Primal is more expensive than other options, but you get human-grade ingredients and top-notch recipes.

Best Wet Food For Bengals

Tiki Cat After Dark

Tiki Cat After Dark
  • Formulas contain muscle meats and nutrient-rich organs
  • Available in three textures: pâté, shredded, and mousse
  • Free of grains, pea, soy, GMOs, plant proteins, fillers, artificial colors, and synthetic preservatives
  • Packaged in recyclable food cans

Tiki Cat’s After Dark markets itself as high-protein meals that include liver, gizzard, and heart in a savory bone broth for obligate carnivore friends. Essentially, you’re getting some of the advantages of the raw diet without going fully raw. After Dark comes in various protein blends to ensure your cat gets a balanced meal. Recipes include chicken and duck, chicken and lamb, chicken and beef, and the standout recipe—chicken and quail egg—that contains half of a cooked quail egg. Qual eggs are rich in B vitamins and lecithin. Lecithin contains phospholipids (a type of fat) that are beneficial for the heart, nerves, and brain.

After Dark gets points for its simple, animal-forward recipes. These recipes are free of grains or carbohydrates. Tiki Cat does add in extra synthetic vitamins for a nutritionally balanced formula.

Tiki Cat says its chickens are farm-raised in Thailand. Chickens are cage-free and raised in open-air houses. All meat is hormone-free, and Tiki Pets follows established FDA timelines for the last dosage of antibiotics and the time of slaughter to prevent the residue of antibiotics from affecting consumers.

Best Dry Food For Bengals

Orijen Dry Food

Orijen Original Dry
  • Wild, grass-fed, and wild-caught meat
  • Includes botanical ingredients to aid digestions, eliminate toxins, and reduce inflammation
  • Free of grains, plant protein concentrates, fillers, and chemical preservatives
  • Contains probiotics for digestion and immunity
  • Certifications from Safe Quality Food (SQF) and Safe Feed/Safe Food (SFSF)

Orijen’s kibble formulas promise 90 percent of ingredients from meat and fish, with the other 10 percent coming from vegetable and botanical sources—to “mirror a cat’s instinct to forage for grasses and weeds.” Similar to Primal Pet Food, Orijen uses food-based nutrients and minimizes the use of synthetic vitamins and minerals.

Recipes cater to a cat’s wild instinct and feature many protein sources: chicken, turkey, eggs, boar, goat, lamb, pork, venison, duck, mutton, flounder, mackerel, herring, trout, and more. Orijen uses animal organs, ground bone, and cartilage for added nutrients in a form that your cat can easily absorb. Other standout ingredients in Orijen formulas include:

  • althea (marshmallow) root: aids digestion
  • butternut squash: contains prebiotic fiber, antioxidants, vitamin C, and beta-carotene
  • chicory root: a prebiotic fiber for digestive support
  • juniper berry: offers antibacterial and anti-inflammatory support
  • dried kelp: rich in trace minerals for a healthy coat
  • pollock oil: a source of omega-3 fatty acids
  • probiotics: improve digestion and enhance immune response
  • rosehip: a source of vitamin C
  • sarsaparilla root: supports healing of skin conditions, including wounds, rashes, and dermatitis
  • turmeric root: reduces inflammation and pain

Recipes are made in the DogStar Kitchen, which is located in Kentucky. All formulas contain dry kibble and freeze-dried meat pieces. We would prefer to see cats eating wet food, which provides more moisture, but if you want quality dry food, Orijen is our pick.

Best Breed-Specific Food For Bengals

Royal Canin Bengal Adult

Royal Canin Bengal Adult
  • First five ingredients: chicken by-product meal, wheat gluten, wheat, chicken fat, and corn gluten meal
  • Kibble shape designed for Bengal’s wider jaw to promote dental health
  • Prebiotic fiber for digestion and immune support
  • Free of synthetic preservatives

Finding breed-specific food is rare, but Royal Canin’s Bengal Adult cat food fits the bill. This formula is specially developed for Bengal cats. It includes the optimal ratio of protein and fat to support the Bengal’s muscled body and active lifestyle. Other benefits include:

  • Y-shaped kibble designed to encourage chewing for dental health
  • Fish oil for healthy skin and a shiny coat
  • Dried chicory root for digestive health
  • Fortified with vitamins for a complete, balanced meal

This formula gets docked points for containing by-product meals, grains, and vegetable oil. There’s also only one variety, so you might be out of luck if you’ve got a picky eater. Still, if you like the idea of breed-specific food, consider this recipe.

Best Customizable Food For Bengals

Smalls Human-Grade Fresh

Smalls Human-Grade Fresh Cat Food
  • Fish, chicken, cow, and turkey recipes
  • Available in pâté or minced textureUSDA meat
  • No grains, fillers, preservatives
  • 100% recyclable, BPA-free packaging
  • Subscription available

Smalls is a customizable cat food subscription. Start by filling out information about your cat, and Smalls will build you a box that best fits your cat’s needs. Questions include the cat’s age, sex, sterilization status, build, and favorite meats and textures. You’ll get a 20 percent discount on your first order and a 30-day money-back guarantee.

When reading an ingredients label, we know that ingredients are listed by quantity. This means the first few ingredients comprise the recipe’s largest parts. Smalls goes a step further and list every ingredient by percentage. Take, for example, the Smooth Bird recipe. It contains:

  • chicken thigh skin on: 42.61%
  • chicken breast: 36.97%
  • chicken livers: 4.72%
  • green beans: 3.77%
  • peas: 3.77%
  • water: 2.78%
  • supplement mix: 2.08%
  • chicken hearts: 1.89%
  • kale: 0.94%
  • canola oil: 0.47%

Ingredients in Smalls recipes are sourced from the United States and Canada, and wet foods are manufactured in New Jersey. Fresh recipes are steam-cooked and freshly frozen. 

Best Kitten Food For Bengals

Instinct Kitten

  • Available as wet, dry, freeze-dried, or raw
  • Made with cage-free chicken
  • Free of grains, potato, soy, by-product meal, and artificial colors or preservatives
  • DHA from chicken eggs for brain and eye development
  • Probiotics for immunity and digestion
  • Kibble is coated with freeze-dried raw recipe for added nutrition and taste

Instinct makes various kitten foods—raw, freeze-dried, wet, and dry—so you have options no matter your preference. The Original kitten formula is wet or dry, with the Raw Longevity line available as frozen bites or a freeze-dried blend. All Instinct kitten recipes are made from responsibly-sourced meat and non-GMO fruits and vegetables, making them some of the best cat food for Bengal kittens.

Final Thoughts

Are you looking for the best cat food for Bengals? Nutrition is vital to a cat’s development, health, and life expectancy. No matter the breed, it would be best to try to feed your cat food made with the best-quality animal ingredients. Still concerned about what to feed your Bengal cat? Consult your veterinarian. Let your vet know about any health or dietary issues your cat faces to get the best recommendation for food and supplements.

Bengal Cat sizing itself up in the mirror

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