The Bengal cat breed is a household pet, which resembles an exotic jungle cat but with the personality of a loving and loyal house cat.
This designer cat gets the name Bengal from the scientific name of the Asian Leopard Cat – Felis Bengalensis.
Jean Mill founded the Bengal breeding program in 1963 by crossing domestic shorthairs with the wild Asian Leopard Cat, which could be purchased in pet stores during the 1950s and 1960s. Bengal cats today are descendants of cats she bred in the early 1980s.
Though extremely attractive, the temperament of the Bengal cat breed may not suit everyone.
Read on to find out if this amazingly beautiful and intelligent cat is the right pet for you.
Striking in appearance
These large-boned and shorthaired cats with gold, green or hazel eyes stand out for their spotted or marbled coat of many colours.
They also have the glitter gene, which makes their coat iridescent. The marking on its coat reminds one of leopards, ocelots and even clouded leopards. The coat is thick and soft to touch but short.
The Bengal is the only domestic cat breed with rosettes similar to those seen on Leopards, Jaguars, and Ocelots.
Their spots can come in a variety of colors such as rust-colored, chocolate-brown-colored, or black-colored.
Their coats can take on a variety of colors, including golden, rust, brown, orange, sand, and ivory.
Wild in looks but friendly
In spite of its wild appearance, Bengal cats are just as affectionate and devoted to their human owners as any other domestic breed.
In reality, Bengals are known to build bonds with their owners and to reciprocate the love and devotion shown to them.
They can sense the owner’s mood and are smart enough to understand when they are not getting attention.
They are seldom timid and settle into the social hierarchy of the family, bonding with its members.
These cats are devoted to their owners, yet, like any other active breed, they dislike being restrained or held.
Playful and energetic
The Bengal cat breed is lively, outgoing, curious, enjoys interacting with people, and loves to play fetch, hide, and seek and chase. They also like playing in the water, interactive toys and catnip, among other things.
They love to chase, climb, explore, and be in the thick of whatever is happening in the house. Their energy levels are very high, and they enjoy running around and playing.
The Bengal cat breed is athletic and agile and has a muscular body with hind legs longer than the front.
Surefooted and accomplished climbers, these cats love heights and always want to get as high as they can.
They will easily find their way up to the tallest furniture in your house, the uppermost shelf, ledges and even the top of the door. They can jump reasonably well, almost up to three times their size.
The Bengal cat breed is known for its intelligence and can learn common dog tricks such as rolling over, sitting up or jumping through hoops, turning a light switch on and off, even opening a door or a cupboard if you are not around or willing to do it for them.
They relish learning new things and with patience and positive reinforcement can be taught tricks and games.
They can be trained to go out for walks wearing a leash.
Bengal cats love water and getting wet, unlike regular cats, who will fight you tooth and nail before giving in.
They like water so much that may splash around in your uncovered aquarium or follow you into the pool or the bathtub to take a dip.
They play with water in their drinking bowls; to make it even more interesting, they drop their toys in as well.
Bengals need a lot of interaction with its owners; when a cat of this breed gets bored, it can take the house apart, looking for food, toys or something to do.
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Gets along with other pets
The Bengal cat breed can coexist with other pets, including cat-friendly dogs.
Bengal cats thrive in the company of children, as their energetic nature makes them particularly fond of playing games.
However, due to their wild genes, they have a high prey drive , and it may not be safe to have them around aquarium fish, hamsters, Guinea pigs, rabbits or birds.
Tendency to steal
The Bengal cat breed has a tendency to take things that it finds attractive and hide them away in a secret place. These include jewellery, car keys and shiny objects.
They are also inclined to destroy paper, and it makes no difference to them if it happens to be a valuable document. So its best to hide valuables from your furry friend.
Makes your whole house its territory
To a Bengal cat, the entire home is its territory and it pays no attention to privacy or boundaries. Most Bengal cat owners have come to terms with this trait and allow their pet to be part of their moments.
Medium sized breed
Their long and muscular bodies might make Bengals appear larger than they are.
Bengals are a medium-sized breed, with females weighing as little as 6 pounds and males being closer to 15 pounds.
Makes barking sound
They make a short guttural barking sound to express delight, especially when lapping up a tasty treat. They can also produce an extensive range of sounds including chirps, soft meows and loud noises.
A Bengal cat on the prowl with its hunting instincts triggered, chirps to confuse and capture birds and this sound is noticeable when it’s around smaller animals.
Similar to a dog in many ways
Bengals exhibit traits that are commonly seen in dogs such as rushing to welcome their owners when they return home.
As intelligent animals, they can be trained to walk on a leash like a dog, and in fact, they enjoy going out for a stroll with their owners.
Many people who keep Bengal Cats agree that they tend to behave more like dogs.
Finding an authentic Purebred Bengal
Exercise caution and be aware when trying to get yourself a purebred Bengal cat as sometimes you can be tricked into believing that the spotted cat that you are looking at is a purebred when the reality is different.
Often crossbred cats, are passed off as Bengal Cats, and the pedigree can sometimes seem very genuine. This almost authentic appearance is achieved by crossing a pet quality Bengal Cat with an ordinary cat, and the kittens are promoted as Bengal Cats and its very difficult for those who are inexperienced to tell the difference.
Here are a few precautions that you can follow when on the hunt for a purebred Bengal Cat:
- Do your homework diligently – Familiarise yourself with the Bengal cat breed by visiting a cattery reputed for its purebred stock and talking to staff and looking at Bengal Cats and kitten present at the facility. Ask questions and find out what the points to keep in mind when selecting a purebred.
- Ask questions about the parents and siblings of a kitten that you are looking to buy and insist on seeing them for yourself. Compare these cats to see if they match the body characteristics, body length, tail, coat patterns, etc., which are considered to be standard for the breed. If the breeder is not trying to hide anything he or she should be comfortable answering your questions and even introduce you to the parents and siblings of the kitten that has caught your interest. You should look for another cattery if the breeder is reluctant to share information or evades your questions.
- Attend events – Make it a point to attend cat shows or cat championships so that you can understand the physical traits of a purebred Bengal cat. You can also talk to breeders and Bengal cat owners to get an idea of the best source for an authentic purebred Bengal cat.
Caring for your Bengal Cat Breed
- You will have to brush your Bengal cat’s coat at least once a week
- Nails have to be trimmed
- Inspect the ears every week to rule out infections and clean if dirty; check with your veterinarian for recommended cleansers
- Brush your cat’s teeth often frequently at home and again check with your veterinarian on the practical technique and toothpaste to use
- Start the grooming including weekly brushing to remove loose hair and dead skin cells, nail trimming and teeth brushing as soon as you get the kitten so that it gets used to it.
Bengals can also develop an eye disorder known as progressive retinal atrophy, which causes retinal degradation and eventually blindness.
Bengals may suffer hip dysplasia, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, and patellar luxation as they grow older.
Bengal cats, contrary to popular belief, are not immune to feline leukemia.
When breeding Bengals, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM), progressive retinal atrophy, and pyruvate kinase deficiency are the most significant problems.
Bengal cats are also prone to distal neuropathy, a nerve system ailment that can result in weakness.
If you have purchased your Bengal cat from a known and registered breeder, you will not have to worry about your cat facing health issues.
Breeders normally let their kittens leave to their new homes between 12 and 16 weeks of age.
Bengals are usually very healthy with a life expectancy of 14 – 16 years.
If you like exotic cat breeds, check out this article from our blog: Savannah cat breed – 13 strong reasons to pause before getting one
Do Bengal cats make good house pets?
They are very friendly and intelligent animals that love to be around people.
The only thing you need to remember when choosing a cat for your home is to make sure they have been socialized properly from an early age so they will not feel threatened by other household members or visitors. If this has happened then the chances of them being aggressive towards others is greatly reduced.
Are Bengal cats difficult to handle?
Why do Bengal cats pee all over the place?
Check to see if the Bengal cat litter box you’re using is clean. Bengal cats hate using dirty litter trays and boxes. If the litter tray and box are filthy, they will plainly pee and spray outside instead of using it. Cleaning too much might sometimes also be bad.
Do Bengals like to be held?
You can do a few things to improve your cat’s tolerance for being held.
Your Bengal cat probably has negative experiences associated with being held. Your aim should be to reduce the negative experiences and help your cat associate being held with a positive experience.
Consider all of the negative things that happen to your cat, such as immunizations, medications, and nail trimming. They all take place when your cat is being held.
If there is any way to change the negative experiences of being held, do so. Trim your cat’s nails while she is sleeping. Attempt to conceal medication in food.
Additionally, you can improve your cat’s positive experiences with being held. Offer a treat for tolerating being held once you’ve found a treat your cat enjoys. Slowly increase the amount of time that you hold your cat. Because cats respond best when there is something in it for them, you should reward your cat for being held in order to persuade her that it is not a threat.
Is the Bengal cat dangerous?
The Bengal is commonly misunderstood as being difficult to handle due to its feral ancestry, however this is not the case.
Bengals, according to breeders, are readily tamed and have an affectionate nature, however they are not lap cats.
They like human interaction and will frequently remain close to family members. The Bengal cat species enjoys the company of children in particular, due to its lively character, which makes it fond of playing games.
Bengal cats can become bored and frustrated if they are not sufficiently engaged, which can lead to problem behaviors. They might scratch at the furniture or meow excessively, for example. They are extremely agile, so you may find that your Bengal cat has gone into your drawers and ruined your clothes, or has opened the kitchen cupboards and removed all of your pots and pans.
You may help your Bengal cat stay entertained by giving him or her cat-safe puzzle toys or interactive toys that he or she can turn on on their own.
They might be an excellent fit for those who are active and have the time and inclination to interact with them on a regular basis. These cats enjoy games such as fetch and chase and are noted for learning new tricks quickly.