Bengal cats' health issues—all you need to know
Bengal cats are athletic, energetic, playful, and pretty resilient. Even though they are generally a hardy breed, these mini-leopards are (like most purebred felines) predisposed to specific illnesses.
Felines can suffer from hereditary and lifestyle-related diseases, but both types are manageable with proper care and diet. Untamed explores common Bengal cats' health issues, both genetic and acquired, and explains how to give your feline the best possible care.
Common Bengal cat health problems
As a healthy and robust breed, Bengal cats' life expectancy is pretty promising. They live between 12 and 18 years, but you can extend their lifespan considerably with proper care and a healthy diet.
Bengals are a healthy breed, but you should be aware of the potential health niggles.
The most common ailments affecting Bengal cats include:
- Progressive retinal atrophy
- Patellar luxation
- Hip dysplasia
- Pyruvate kinase deficiency
- Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy
- Anaesthetic allergy
Progressive retinal atrophy (PRA)
PRA is a congenital disease causing progressive degeneration of the retina. Bengals born with a degenerative gene will go blind gradually.
Affected cats start showing signs of night blindness, usually when they reach two. Within two to four years after the first symptoms appear, the feline will lose vision completely.
Since this is a recessive gene, completely healthy cats can be carriers, which means their offspring could still develop PRA.
Patellar luxation happens when a feline's kneecap falls out of place due to an improperly developed knee joint.
Being so hardy and strong, Bengals tend to hide this problem until it becomes severe. Your vet should check your feline's joints regularly because the condition can be treated successfully if detected on time.
Bengals are so sturdy that they might hide that something is wrong.
If the symptoms are mild and only one leg is affected, all your Bengal will need is arthritis medication. In case of more severe symptoms, your cat might need surgery to put the kneecap back in its place and prevent it from dislocating again.
Keeping your Bengal at a healthy weight with a well-balanced diet is critical since obesity can worsen this condition.
Bengals are prone to hip dysplasia, an inherited condition that causes the malfunction of the hip joint and leads to arthritis.
Young felines usually don’t show the symptoms but can start behaving like older cats prematurely. Bengals who suffer from a severe form of this condition may become lame by six months of age.
Hip dysplasia is easily detectable with an X-ray of the pelvis. The cat should be sedated for the procedure because they must remain perfectly still. If diagnosed early, hip dysplasia can be successfully treated. Surgical reconstruction of the pelvis is also an option if your Bengal is in pain or struggles with mobility.
Pyruvate kinase deficiency (PKD)
PKD is an inherited disease caused by a pyruvate kinase enzyme deficiency in red blood cells. This enzyme enables erythrocytes to sustain themselves. In case of deficiency, red blood cells die significantly faster than produced, leading to anaemia.
This type of anaemia is usually mild and happens gradually. Unfortunately, it allows your Bengal to adapt and show no symptoms. In rare cases, PKD can cause quick and life-threatening red-blood-cell deficiency.
A genetic test can reveal this recessive trait and help distinguish between the carrier and non-carrier cats. Since this condition doesn't involve any apparent symptoms, the test is the only way to set the diagnosis and prescribe an effective treatment.
HCM is a relatively common condition in older Bengal cats, causing the thickening of the heart muscle and making the heart work harder to pump enough blood into the bloodstream. In more severe cases, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy causes blood clots, leading to immobility in the hind legs. The affected cat ultimately suffers congestive heart failure.
If you notice that your Bengal sleeps more than usual, something is not right.
Source: Paul Hanaoka
The common symptoms are:
Bengals cats are highly sensitive to anaesthetics. If your feline ever needs surgery, your vet must be extremely careful when performing the procedure to ensure they don't react to the drug. If they do, it could lead to an anaphylactic shock and cardiac arrest.
Diet-related health issues in Bengals
Diet plays a vital role in your feline's health. If you feed your Bengal low-quality food, they can suffer from:
- Food allergies
- Skin inflammation—Your Bengal will start licking and scratching excessively. The irritation usually occurs around the head and neck. If left untreated, this irritation can lead to hair loss, raw skin patches, broken skin, and open wounds
- Gastrointestinal problems—The most common gastrointestinal problems caused by an allergic reaction include vomiting, diarrhoea, and flatulence
Obesity is increasing among felines. Indoor cats are more susceptible to it because of their sedentary lifestyle. Overweight kitties become even lazier, further complicating the issue. This condition is a major contributor to many other illnesses and life-threatening problems, including:
- Arthritis, osteoarthritis, and herniated discs
- Cardiorespiratory difficulties
- Fatty liver syndrome
Cats with diabetes cannot produce or efficiently use insulin—a hormone that regulates the metabolisation of carbohydrates, fats, and protein. Diabetes leads to persistently high blood glucose levels.
Diet and exercise are critical for a Bengal’s health.
Source: Nika Benedictova
Obesity is a crucial risk factor, so Bengal cat parents must keep their feline's weight in check. Other culprits include:
- Old age
- Physical inactivity
- Use of glucocorticoids to treat other health problems
- Gender (males are at a higher risk)
The most common symptoms are:
- Increased thirst
- Increased urination
- Weight loss despite normal or even increased appetite
How to keep your Bengal healthy with good nutrition
A proper diet is crucial for preventing most health issues in Bengal cats. High-quality, well-balanced cat food can help delay the onset of many hereditary diseases and keep them under control if or when the symptoms appear.
The best cat food contains a lot of lean meat.
Image (c) Untamed
Whatever type of cat food you choose—wet, dry, semi-moist, raw, or homemade—lean meat and fish should be the basis of your Bengal's meals. You must also know what products you should avoid, which ingredients to include in your feline's diet, how much to feed your cat, and how frequently. It will help you keep your Bengal happy and healthy for years to come.
Check out what constitutes a well-balanced cat diet:
Meat and fish are the only sources of essential amino acids (taurine and arginine) vital for:
Animal fat gives cat food an irresistible taste and contains healthy fatty acids that:
Vitamins and minerals
Cats get all their vitamins and minerals from meat and fish. These micronutrients:
In nature, a cat’s diet consists of small animals, such as:
Fresh prey contains enough moisture for a feline's basic upkeep. Cat food should have enough water because kitties are not avid drinkers, and dehydration leads to:
Can Untamed keep your Bengal strong, fit, and healthy?
Untamed knows how important nutrition is for feline health, so we make tasty meals with all the nutrients required for a happy and long life.
Untamed meets your Bengal's biological needs.
Image (c) Untamed
We respect your Bengal's innate eating habits, so our food is:
- Full of protein—Every Untamed tin has double the amount of animal protein compared to most commercial products
- Made with the best-quality whole meat and fish—We only use human-grade ingredients, and your feline can choose between jelly and gravy recipes made of:
- Chicken breast
- Chicken liver
- Duck breast
- Salmon fillet
- Mackerel fillet
- Tuna steak
- Low in carbs—All Untamed products are free from grains, vegetables, sugar, and other filler ingredients
- Vet-formulated—We create our meals collaborating with vets to ensure all your Bengal's biological needs are met, whether they are:
- A kitten who has started eating solids and needs quality food to grow properly
- Neutered and having trouble maintaining a healthy weight
- Pregnant and in need of extra energy
- Old and struggling with gum issues or missing some teeth
- A healthy adult who needs nutritious food to remain active
- A sick or recuperating kitty
- Allergen-free—We steer clear of artificial colourants, taste enhancers, additives, and all known allergens
- Fussy eater-approved—The gentle steaming process ensures all the nutrients are locked in, and the delicious taste is preserved. No picky Bengal has turned their nose up at Untamed, including those who tend to refuse wet food
- Ethically made—We want to be kind to our planet as we are to our cats, so:
- All our packaging is 100% recyclable
- Ingredients come from cruelty-free, sustainable suppliers
- Production and shipping operations are carbon-neutral
Order Untamed now to turn the life of your Bengal around!
The Untamed effect
It takes only a few days to witness the famous Untamed effect. We have received positive feedback from cat parents who have already switched their kitties to the Untamed diet. Here’s what they say:
The Untamed effect
After two months
Within four months
Sign up for Untamed
Getting Untamed meals for your Bengal cat couldn't be easier.
All you need to do is:
- Visit our Try Now page and take the online quiz
- Give us some information about your Bengal
- Choose the best products for your kitty
Oh, goodie! Delivery for me!
Image (c) Untamed
You should receive the trial pack within a day. Once your Bengal goes through the entire selection of delicacies and decides what they like, we can send you monthly supplies of Untamed meals.
If you ever wish to change the meal plan or cancel the order, you can do it from your account.