Raw feeding isn’t the most popular nor most common way to feed today’s domestic companions, so why feed all our cats raw including the weaning of our kittens to a species appropriate diet?

Regardless if a cat is a wild cat (lion, tiger, leopard etc.) a domestic rescue (mixed breed) or purebred cat, ALL cats are obligate carnivores meaning they are designed to consume raw meat, organs and bones versus, vegetables, fruits, grains and commercial type diets. With extensive research and dedication there is countless proof that a raw species appropriate diet is the ultimate diet for every cat.


Especially directing this article towards Bengals…the pet food industry has only been around for about 80-100 years which actually isn’t long enough to develop a totally new digestive system that would thrive on a commercial processed diet. This is even more true of the Bengal breed which is only about 30 years old (starting around the 1980’s). That means over 30 years their anatomy and physiology would have to be completely adapted to a plant based, low protein, dry diet! Unless you are a bacteria or other rapidly evolving organism, this is virtually impossible.

Furthermore we can simply look to anatomy and physiology that prove our Bengals are still carnivores.

Anatomically speaking, starting at the mouth, if you look at the teeth of a carnivore like a cat they are sharp, pointy and jagged meant for holding and tearing and the jaw opens wide vertically.  Herbivores on the other hand typically have teeth that are flat with a jaw that breaks down plant material by moving side to side.


Systematically, unlike humans, felines have a very short digestive tract so food passes very fast and must be readily absorbable to be useful. Plant material takes much longer to be digested and broken down, so more times than not is passed through the system almost untouched. This is evident in large, stinky and very frequent poop.


Although the pancreas has limited amylase secretion, enzymatically cats do not have the enzymes responsible for breaking down carbohydrates which include grains, fruits and vegetables. They do however have the enzymes specifically for breaking down protein and fat.


Cats cannot not derive all their nutrients from plant material. Plants do not contain taurine required for heart and eye health nor do most contain a complete protein or amino acid profile like meat does. There are a few plant sources but plant proteins are NOT the same as animal proteins. While the components are the same, the profile completeness and ability to utilize and breakdown animal versus plants are much different. This is essential for obligate carnivores like Bengals.


It’s important all our breeding cats and our kittens are fed a raw diet.

Dr. Francis Pottenger documented the development of over 900 cats during a 10-year period mainly studying the effects of a cooked diet (keep in mind that processed diets such kibble/dry food and wet foods are cooked) vs. one that was raw. 


Originally Pottenger was feeding his cats a diet of raw milk, cod liver oil and cooked meat scrapes but he was seeing too many health concerns and very high mortality rates. So Pottenger began feeding half his cats raw meat scrapes and the other half cooked. After being intrigued by the results he continued to experiment with University of Southern California pathologist Dr. Alvin Foord. Their results were as follows in the first through fourth generation of raw fed cats:

  • Adults produced healthy kittens, with average litter sizes and great birth rates.


  • All cats including offspring where healthy with uniform size, development, fur, tissue and skeletal structure.

  • Calcium and phosphorus was balanced within the body

  • Mental status was friendly and organ and other system function was fantastic.


  • Cats and kittens were both fairly resistant to disease.


The results were as follows in the first through fourth generation of the cook fed cats: 

Although the first generation was healthy at birth, by the end of their life they developed illness, in the second generation this occurred at midlife, while the third generation developed illness at the start of life and several suffered premature deaths by 6 months of age. There was no fourth generation, either the parents were sterile or the offspring died.


The following illnesses and conditions were also observed:


  • Increasingly poor eyesight

  • Heart problems

  • Thyroid Problems

  • Bladder issues

  • Nervous system problems

  • Meningitis 

  • Paralysis

  • Infections of a variety of organs

  • Reproductive organ problems

  • Liver problems

  • Inflammation

  • Atrophy of organs

  • And More


With each successive generation, the following were noted increasingly:


  • Skeletal structure abnormalities until bone structure was soft and “rubbery”

  • Increasing instances of 

  •             allergies

  •             lesions 

  •             parasites 

  • Aborted offspring (25% in the first generation, 70% in the second) 

  • Difficult births

  • Surviving kittens had 16% lower birth weights


When these cats were switched to a raw diet, while they did begin to develop normally, it took four generations to do so.


These studies have been replicated in some capacity in rats as well as pigs with similar results. The conclusion here is that cooked foods cause a degeneration of the body.


While it should be noted these studies were done in an unconventional way and industry has learned a lot since then, as one can see a quality diet is essential to the development, growth and wellbeing of not only the mother, but the proceeding generations.


If we as a cattery are to produce impeccably healthy cats a proper nutritional foundation has got to be one of our top priorities. 


Present day when we look at the health of most companion animals on commercial diets we see the development of cancers, UTIs, kidney disease, dental disease, diabetes, allergies, digestive upset and many more problems that all can be traced back to diet. Although there are other factors at play like vaccination history, use of pharmaceutical medications including steroids and antibiotics, the use of flea, tick, dewormer and other chemical “preventatives” as well as environmental stressors, across the board we do see healthier companion animals with few to no health complications that are on a species appropriate raw diet. This means not only happy and healthy pets but less money wasted on prescription diets, medications, and other veterinary bills and costs that can burn a hole in all our pockets. 


The follow is a list of the benefits that a raw diet includes:


  • Species Appropriate diet

  • Pearly white teeth and scentless breath

  • Healthier immune system

  • Helps prevent and even reverse illness such as kidney failure, urinary tract infections, allergies, cancer, obesity, diabetes, digestive problems and much more.

  • Reduction of veterinary bills especially down the road

  • Smaller, less frequent and less stinky feces

  • More water content

  • Less begging, counter surfing and stealing of food

  • More environmentally friendly

  • Less expensive (in most cases)

  • Softer and shiny coat

  • Quality, nutrient dense ingredients your companion actually can use.

  • you don’t have to feed as much

  • Little to no toxins, contaminants and artificial ingredients

  • More energy


Nature truly knows best and as our guide, our companions can truly thrive!

All of Elysian's cattery cats as well as Elysian kittens from the time they are weaned are fed a home prepared raw diet consisting of various proteins such as chicken, venison, rabbit and beef, highly nutritious organ meats like liver and kidney as well as raw meaty bones which maintain oral health and contribute to calcium consumption. Because Elysian Bengals takes nutrition so seriously and passionately, owner Meghan Leah Waals also runs The Nutrition Code, an information and resource based website educating and providing services to companion animal owners about a species appropriate raw diet since 2016. 


Although we do provide each kitten with a kitten pack of raw meals and a lifetime of nutritional support, Elysian Bengals, unfortunately recognizes that raw feeding for everyone is not feasible or desirable. So the following are some alternatives.


The Nutrition Code, provides many services to make raw feeding feasible including custom recipes and books.

For already prepared raw Food available via meat suppliers we recommend Simply Rawsome and Raw Fed Right. Other resources can be found on our resources page.

Note: This supplier also includes separate ingredients for preparing your own raw recipes and menus


We in no instance recommend any dry cat food due to the countless health problems associated with it's use as well as it's extreme dryness. No "quality" of dry food can escape the health risks. please read about the Dangers of Dry. 


With each kitten kit you will receive our E-book  So You Want to Raw Feed Your Cat,  an all-inclusive, how to guide on home preparing raw. We also are offering our book in a soft cover copy as well Email us if you are interested in a copy!


















*This information and text on this page is the sole property of Elysian Bengals and The Nutrition Code. Its use is strictly prohibited without the permission of Meghan Leah Waals

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