Can Bengal Cats Eat Cheetos?

Cheetos are tricky. You think you can just have one of these cheesy, crunchy, powdery snacks; next thing you know you are at the bottom of the bag, licking orange dust off of your finger tips.

Then you have your feisty Bengal cat who wants to join in on the fun. You give in and share one so that they stop all the meowing, or you come home to find your Bengal cat licking the Cheetos dust off the package that you had lying around.

Are Cheetos safe for Bengal Cats?

Cheetos are soft snacks and can be easily broken down by your cat's teeth. They do not pose an immediate threat to your cat which should eliminate the worry of it being, for instance, a choking hazard that should concern you.

Technically, your cat won't suffer any immediate health effects, so no need to panic if you caved and gave your feline a Cheeto. The real question, however, is should you give your Bengal cat Cheetos?

1. Bengals should not eat junk food

Cheetos, like a lot of other junk food we have today, do not have much to offer in terms of nutritional value and are extremely unhealthy. It is therefore not recommended that you intentionally feed them to your cat.

As human beings, we are built and have evolved to withstand high levels of carbohydrates.

Cats on the other hand, thrive on diets rich in protein and low in basically everything else. 

They have evolved as whole prey animals, a diet which to this day has met all of their daily nutritional requirements. 

Granted, over the years there has been a bit of advocacy to incorporate small amounts of herbs or plants into the feline diet, but never will you come across a recommendation to give your Bengal cat junk food.

2. Cheetos will make your Bengal cat gain weight

Cheetos are high in carbohydrates, unhealthy low quality vegetable fats and very low on protein.

Even the little bit of protein present in them does not provide the recommended amino acid ratio to make them useful to your cat.

These empty calories are even more useless to cats.

Feeding your cat high levels of unhealthy vegetable fats and carbohydrates puts he or she at a higher risk of unnecessary weight gain which could easily spiral into obesity.

Carrying around unhealthy amounts of weight is never good for a feline. It would put them at a higher risk of developing health complications like heart disease, diabetes and even arthritis.

This would mean a reduced quality of life and even a shorter life span in comparison to a cat that has been kept on a much stricter,healthier diet.

3. Sodium content in Cheetos can kill your Bengal cat

The other culprit in Cheetos is the high sodium content. Just as humans are encouraged to manage their salt intake, it is the same case when it comes to cats: it puts them at a higher risk of developing high blood pressure which could ultimately lead to a heart attack or stroke.

Short term effects of high salt intake can be seen in cats in a matter of hours. Cats are much smaller than human beings, so the amount of salt that their bodies can handle at once cannot even compare to that in which the human body can tolerate.

A common occurrence as a result of high salt intake that can develop in as little as a few hours after salt ingestion is acute hypernatremia. Hypernatremia is basically a rise in the serum sodium level to a level above 145 mmol per Litre of blood. Symptoms of hypernatremia include excessive thirst, poor appetite, weakness, lethargy, behavioral changes. 

More serious symptoms can include seizures, internal bleeding and even death. If detected early, it can be easily treated by lowering the dangerous levels with a lower sodium fluid. 

To be safe, contact your vet immediately if you suspect your cat has ingested dangerous amounts of sodium.

 You are advised to avoid incidences such as these, so try to maintain low salt levels in your cats daily diet.

Cheetos offer zero nutritional benefits. Their high caloric content, salt levels and unhealthy fat concentration will only serve to be non-beneficial to your Bengal cat.

Try a healthier pet snack alternatives that would not have negative effects on your cat in either the short or long term. 

In closing, do not intentionally feed your Bengal cat Cheetos, but you do not have to panic if one finds it's way into your Bengal's mouth.

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