The Bengal cat 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 breed in 1963, crossing a domestic cat with the wild Asian Leopard Cat but now Bengals are bred only with its kind.
Though extremely attractive, the temperament of the Bengal cat 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.
Wild in looks but friendly
Though wild and exotic in appearance, the Bengal cat is known to form a bond with its owner and return the love and affection showered on it.
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.
Playful and energetic
The Bengal cat 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.
Bengal cats are athletic and agile and have 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.
Bengal cats are intelligent 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.
Gets along with other pets
They can coexist with other pets, including dogs and will do well in homes with older kids, who can give them the attention that they continuously seek.
However, due to their wild genes, the hunting instinct tends to be pronounced, and it may not be safe to have them around aquarium fish, hamsters, Guinea pigs, rabbits or birds.
Tendency to steal
The Bengal cat 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.
Can grow big
They can grow big with average male weight ranging between 10 to 22 pounds (4.5 – 10 kgs)
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 Bengal Cats 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
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 coat brushing, nail trimming and teeth brushing as soon as you get the kitten so that it gets used to it
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. Bengals are usually very healthy with a life expectancy of 14 – 16 years.
Do you own a Bengal cat? If your answer is yes, we want to know what you like the most about your cat.