Why Is My Bengal So Skinny? [Causes & Solutions]

If you’ve just brought home a Bengal kitten, or you’re just starting to worry about your adult Bengal’s weight, you’re not alone. Most new Bengal owners don’t understand how much these cats should and shouldn’t weigh, so let’s take a look.

Bengals are supposed to be skinny; however, they should not be so thin that you can see their ribs. It’s entirely normal for a Bengal to be lean, though monitoring your cat’s nutrition, exercise, and general health is essential.

This article will explore why Bengal cats are so slim and how skinny is too skinny. Plus, we’ll look at the optimum nutrition for this beautiful pet, along with the signs of a healthy cat.

Why Is My Bengal Cat So Skinny?

Bengal cats have a much more streamlined, slender, and muscular appearance than the average domestic cat. There are several reasons for this which we’ll explore below.

The Bengal Has A Higher Level Of Activity Than The Average Cat

Bengals are highly energetic and playful, deriving happiness from plenty of exercise. They need constant attention to keep them stimulated, and this high level of exertion means that your cat burns many calories.

For this reason, you need to ensure that your cat maintains a healthy diet and consumes enough calories to offset the high level of physical activity.

Bengal kittens require approximately 100 calories per pound of body weight each day. However, once your kitten is ten months old, its calorie needs to drop to 40 calories per pound of body weight.

Adult Bengals require a diet of around 25-30 calories per pound of body weight. Sickness, bloating, or dehydration are common signs that you aren’t meeting the dietary requirements of your feline.

Senior Bengals require a lower calorie intake with only 20 calories per pound of body weight each day.

Their Genetic Makeup Differs From The Average Breed

Bengal cats are a crossbreed of the Asian Leopard Cat and a domestic cat. Their wild traits give them slender and muscular bodies, making them seem slight compared to the average domestic cat.

In addition, the head of a Bengal cat is smaller than the average domestic cat, which further accentuates the slightness of its appearance.

Bengal Cats Are Late Bloomers

The average cat takes around 12 months to mature, whereas Bengals don’t reach full maturity until they are two years old. Therefore if you compare a one-year-old Bengal kitten against a one-year-old domestic kitten, they will appear much smaller.

Some Bengals can take up to three years to reach full size; though this is rare, most will stop growing at two years old. You’ll know when your Bengal has reached maturity as it will no longer gain height or weight.

Many factors influence a Bengal’s growth rate, including gender, birth order, and overall genetic health and makeup.

What Weight Should My Bengal Kitten Be?

Every cat is different, and your vet is the best person to advise you on a healthy weight range for your Bengal. However, there are rough guidelines that you can follow to ensure your cat stays at an average weight, as detailed below.

AgeAverage WeightAverage HeightAverage Length
2 months2-4 lbs6-8″7-9″
3 months4-5 pounds7-9 inches8-10″
6 months6-12 lbs8-10″10-12″
9 months8-15 lbs10-12″12-14″
1 year10-15 lbs11-14″14-16″
2 years10-15 lbs13-15″16-18″

What Is The Body Type Of A Bengal Cat?

The Bengal’s body type is very different from most other domestic cat breeds. They possess several “wild” characteristics and usually weigh on the lighter side, thanks to their influx of wild genes. Males weigh around 10-15 pounds, and females weigh about 8-10 pounds.

Most domestic cats have a torso with a consistent depth, but a Bengal has a torso that is much deeper at its rear end, thanks to its ancestor’s need to jump between trees.

The hind legs of the Bengal are more prolonged and sturdier than their front legs. Their hips are placed further back to angle the body downwards, which automatically curves the spine. Again, these characteristics stem from the wild Asian Leopard cat, allowing it to complete impressive jumps.

The leanness of an Asian Leopard Cat’s body allowed for better agility and ease of movement, characteristics that they have passed on to the Bengal. However, it’s essential to recognize that this body shape is standard for a Bengal, and overfeeding is likely to cause an array of health issues.

What Are The Physical Needs Of A Bengal Cat?

Bengal cats are one of the most athletic and agile domestic cats with a tireless spirit. However, for a Bengal to be fully content, it needs to meet its physical needs with plenty of running, jumping, and playing each day to maintain its lean and muscular frame.

This love of exercise keeps a Bengal very slim, which is entirely normal. But, in general, when your cat is not appearing lean and muscular, there could be a problem. If your Bengal lacks energy, something is wrong.

Ensure that your cat’s needs are met with daily playtime and walks, plus plenty of space to run, jump, and climb in your home.

What Are The Dietary Requirements Of A Bengal Cat?

Maintaining a consistent feeding schedule for your Bengal can help it to maintain a steady weight and increase the overall wellbeing of your feline. Many of the leanest and most agile Bengals are fed a raw food diet.

Raw food can be an essential element of a Bengal’s diet as it’s a biologically appropriate food that mimics the diet of its closest ancestors. In addition, quality meat is crucial for Bengal cats as they can’t digest the carbohydrates commonly found in dry or canned cat food.

By feeding your Bengal a raw food diet, you provide them with all the nutrients they need without additives or fillers. Most breeders feed their cat’s raw meat and bones, complete with supplements. Try combining 80% meat with 10% bones and 10% secreting organs for a homemade raw diet.

Are There Any Hereditary Issues That Can Affect The Weight Of My Bengal?

If you’re following the correct diet and exercise regime for your Bengal, but they seem frailer than their peers, then it’s possible that a hereditary disease could be affecting their weight.

Common health problems for Bengals include Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, PK deficiency, and Feline Infectious Peritonitis. The signs and symptoms of these common diseases are listed in the table below.

Signs and Symptoms

Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (Heart Disease)
Decreased appetite
Tiredness or lethargy
Weak Pulse
Difficulty Breathing
Inability to Exercise
Blue tinge to footpads and/or nail beds (signals or lax of oxygen to legs)
PK DeficiencyAnemia
Tiredness or lethargy
Lack of appetite
Weight loss
Loss of interest in food
Rapid breathing
Feline Infectious PeritonitisTiredness of lethargy
Lack of appetite

Dry Form:
Cat moves in an uncoordinated or abnormal way
Excessive thirst or urination
Weight loss

Final Word

Thanks to their wild ancestry and love of exercise, Bengals are naturally skinny. They may look lean and muscular compared to the average domestic cat, but this is perfectly normal.

If you’re ever in doubt about your Bengal’s weight, the easiest option is to consult your vet. They’ll be able to give you professional advice on your cat’s optimum weight, plus help you develop a nutrition plan to keep your Bengal at an optimum level of health.

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