Unlike other cat breeds, the Bengal cat is a domestic cat having a loving temperament of a family pet. However, some appearance and personality attributes of Bengals are different from many other domestic cat breeds.
This hybrid breed is growing in popularity. Most people are drawn to this cat because of its wild markings and personality traits. As they like to stay active so they usually look for a place that can match their energy level.
If you can meet the Bengal cat’s exercise needs this might be the right choice for you. Continue reading the blog to get a detailed profile of this breed.
Bengal Cat History
The Bengal cat breed originated as a hybrid of a leopard cat ‘Prionailurus Bengalensis’ and a domestic cat ‘Felis Silvestris Cactus.’ The leopard cat resembles a domestic cat breed. However, they have distinct larger eyes, longer legs, whisker pads, and leopard-style marking. In fact, it looks like a leopard.
The Bengal breed developed when a female leopard cat was bought from a pet store. At that time, leopard cats could be purchased at stores in the US. Nevertheless, it does not happen today because of the state requirements and the cat's special needs.
Jean Mill purchased the leopard cat from Dr. Willard Centerwall to create a new and unique cat breed. After a few years, Mill thought her leopard cat was lonely and bought a male domestic cat to keep her company. As a result, in 1965, her leopard cat produced a litter where one female kitten survived only.
Mill contacted the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine in New York for advice on caring for the kitten. When this cat grew up and mixed with her domestic father, it produced two kittens. One of them inherited the domestic characteristics of his father.
After some time, Mill decided that developing a hybrid breed would benefit the generation of leopard cats. She thought of providing the American market with a domesticated spotted cat and started to work on it. Later, she learned that Bengal's temperament only matches the domestic breed.
However, many obstacles came in the way. The first hybrid kittens produced were called first-generation cats. They grew up as nervous and shy cats similar to their wild relatives. Only after a few generations away from the leopard cat that their temperament became sweet.
Apart from this, for many generations, the breed was only developed through the female kitten born. It is because the male cats of the second generation were sterile. Only about 50% of the third-generation cats were fertile. This factor affected and slowed the breed’s progress.
In 1985, she had enough generations that have become today’s Bengal cats. The current standards require that Bengals must be at least four generations to ensure a healthy cat pet.
An American couple, Greg and Elizabeth Kent, also successfully created a line of grey Bengal cats by using Egyptian Mau cats and Asian leopard cats.
It was first recognized as an experimental breed in TICA in 1983 and received full recognition in 1993. Similarly, the Cat Fancier's Association has also recognized this breed in 2016. Some other organizations that registered this breed include the following:
- The United Feline Organizations
- The Canadian Cat Association
- American Cat Fanciers Association
- The Governing Council of the Cat Fancy
Bengal cats have proved themselves to their satisfaction that they are entirely domestic and pose no threat to the households. Today, cats with a lively personality and exotic looks are considered Bengals. This cat breed is often named Leo, Simba, Hunter, Tigey, Spot, Patches, Speckles, and Copper.
Bengal Cat Physical Attributes
The following are some physical characteristics of the Bengal Cat breed.
The Bengal cat size is medium to large with a substantial body. But they are not that large as the domestic breed.
The boning is a sturdy, firm, but not delicate. Instead, it is muscular in males. This is the most distinctive feature of Bengals.
The head has a broad wedge with rounded contours. Moreover, it is longer than wide but very small in contrast to the body. The skull makes a gentle curve and flows into the neck.
The appearance of the head is different from that of domestic cats. They have a strong chin that aligns with the tip of the nose. The muzzle is also broad, with pronounced cheekbones and large whisker pads. Furthermore, the nose is large and wide with puffed nose leather.
The ears can be medium, small, and short with rounded tips and a wide base. They are set on the side at the top of the head.
The ears of the Bengal Cats are oval and large and are set wide apart back into the face. Although the eye color does not relate to the coat color.
- Legs & Paws
The legs of this breed are of medium length. The back ones are slightly longer than in the front. The feet are large, round, with prominent knuckles.
The tail is also of medium length, thick, and tapered at the end with a rounded tip.
The length of the cat’s coat is short to medium with a dense texture. It is silky and soft and lying close to the skin.
The coat patterns have horizontally aligned spots. The rosettes have two different shades with distinct patterns and sharp edges. The belly, on the other hand, is often spotted.
This cat breed has spotted and marbled patterns found in the following colors.
- Brown spotted tabby
- Seal lynx point
- Silver black Bengal cat
- Seal silver Bengal cat
- Seal silver lynx point
- Seal mink tabby
- White Bengal cat
- Snow Bengal Cat
Bengal Cat Personality and Temperament
The Bengal may appear to be a wild cat, but they are as friendly and lovable as any other domestic cat. They are playful, energetic, curious, full of life, and people-oriented.
Bengal owners love their personality as they form loyalty and strong bonds with their families. They are extremely alert, affectionate, faithful, and fun-loving friends. In return, they need the love they deserve.
Similarly, Bengal cats are athletic and agile, and they love to climb the highest points in the room. They are considered a source of entertainment.
The main feature that makes them so special is that they are highly intelligent and sharp. These cats learn new behaviors very quickly. It may include turning on and off switches, flushing toilets, and opening doors.
They get into everything because of their curious nature. Any new changes in the house can lead to a quick response from them. Even if you’ll open a cupboard, your cat will dive in to see and rearrange things.
Like their wild ancestors, Bengals dislike being held or restrained. They love playing in the water and often learn tricks to use the toilet. Moreover, Bengals love to sit on your lap and share your beds.
Bengal Cat Care and Grooming
Not all owners of Bengal domestic cats are aware of the grooming standards. Here, we are sharing some tips to help you keep your cat nicely groomed.
The Bengal cats usually shed less than other cat breeds. Thus, they are typically considered hypoallergenic cats.
Their short and glossy coat does not require much grooming, and they usually look after their coat very well. A weekly combing session is enough to remove dead hair.
Bathing for the Bengal cat is rarely necessary. Firstly, ensure that you brush your cat before a bathing session as it will allow you to remove dirt.
Begin the session by dampening your hands and massaging your cat. It will help you check for any rashes.
Prepare the basin of water and gently place your Bengal in it. Apply the shampoo recommended by the vet and rinse it off. Dry the entire body with a soft cloth. Moreover, always keep the litter box and the bathroom clean.
- Cleaning Ears
Inspect the cat’s ears and make sure there are no objects, i.e., mites hiding in there. Use a cotton ball or approved ear cleaner to wipe away any dirt. The cloth should be moistened with a mixture of warm water and cider vinegar. But avoiding using cotton swabs as they can damage the interior of the ears.
- Cleaning Eyes
Use a dampened cotton ball and gently clean the areas around the cat’s eyes to remove any discharge. Use a separate cloth for each eye to avoid getting any infection.
- Oral Hygiene
All cats can easily get oral infections. Thus, you should monitor the breed’s oral hygiene. Brush their teeth regularly with approved oral products specifically made for cats.
- Nail Clipping
Trim the nails of your Bengal Cat every couple of weeks. It is recommended to purchase a pair of nail clippers designed for cats. However, make sure that the blade of the clippers should be kept sharp, so you don’t have to apply too much pressure to the paws.
It is recommended to keep your Bengal indoors only. This protects him from diseases, attacks by dogs, or any other dangers.
Nevertheless, you can always build a large outdoor enclosure for your cat where he can climb or jump safely. With this, they will not have to face the risk of being stolen by someone.
Diet and Nutrition
Bengal cat breed has its likes and dislikes when it comes to cat food. They are carnivores, so they must obtain 41 different nutrients from their food. But the portion of these nutrients largely depends on the cat’s age, health, and lifestyle.
Keep in mind; a growing Bengal kitten will need a different balance of nutrients in her diet than a senior or full-grown Bengal cat. Do consider feeding the right amount of food and catering to individual preferences regarding wet or dry cat food.
Avoid grain-rich foods and instead feed them with fish or raw meat. Similarly, avocados, chocolates, fresh eggs, raw or sweet potatoes must also be avoided. Lastly, pay attention to the total calorie intake of your cat to avoid the risk of obesity and overfeeding.
The Bengals need plenty of exercise, but it is not safe for them to roam outdoors. But they can walk well on a leash and harness. It is better to have a walk session of around 10-20 minutes with your cat in the morning and night.
Bengal Cat Health Problems
Bengals are generally healthy but below are some diseases that can be seen in this breed.
It is a kind of heart disease that is heritable in Bengal cats. This health condition related to the heart muscle is commonly found in older cats.
Here, the heart muscle thickens, causing the organ to work much harder. It further leads to many problems, including blood clots or heart failure. Moreover, panting and lethargy are the early symptoms of cardiomyopathy.
It is also a hereditary disease that causes the dislocation of the kneecap. Severe cases can require surgery. For this, make sure that your Bengal maintains a good weight as obesity can put more strain on the joints.
It is a kind of nervous system disorder that can cause weakness. It occurs in this cat breed as early as one year of age. Most of the Bengals recover on their own while a few relapses.
In hip dysplasia, the femoral head of the Bengal cats develops an irregular shape. The joint becomes unstable, causing pain, stiffness, and inflammation.
Progressive Retinal Atrophy
It is considered a degenerative eye disease, causing the deterioration of the retina. It most often leads to vision problems such as blindness. Young cats are more prone to this disease, but it can be recovered by performing surgery.
Flat-Chested Kitten Syndrome
Kittens with a flat chest develop a compression of the chest caused by lung collapse. This deformity can also have mild to severe conditions. Kittens who survive it show no signs of the disease in adulthood.
Bengal Cat for Sale
The average cost of a Bengal kitten is $1,500 – $3,000 if you buy it from a reputable Bengal cat breeder. However, a pet cat may cost between $450 and $600.
The following factors can affect the Bengal cat price.
- Kitten’s traits (generation, age, temperament, quality, color)
- The level of breeder’s care went into raising a kitten (health testing, housing, diet, time)
- What is included with the kitten (spray or neuter surgery, health records, vaccinations)
If you want a cheaper cat, it is better to adopt one from a Bengal cat rescue network or a recently retired breeder.
All Bengal cat breeds require food, supplies, and vet care. It is estimated that the annual cost of owning a Bengal is approximately $1,000.
Bengal Cat Interesting Facts
Below-given are some interesting facts about the Bengal cat breed.
Bengals Can Be Great Emotional Support Animals (ESAs)
In stressful times, many people look for some extra support and comfort. It is frequently asked if a Bengal cat would make a good emotional support animal. The answer is 100% yes!
Bengals can become great emotional support cats. Owning this breeding cat is a partnership. The more love, time, and effort you will put into this relationship, the more you will create an unbreakable bond.
Moreover, these cats are more active and sometimes behave more like a dog. They will follow you everywhere and are a constant source of entertainment for you. So if you are considering a companion, Bengal can be a great choice.
All you have to do is to consult a mental health professional and get an ESA letter. It will prescribe your Bengal Cat as your emotional support animal and allow you to travel and live it.
In case you need a support letter on an urgent basis, you can contact us at RealESALetter.com. We will provide you with a professionally written letter within 24 hours.
Frequently Asked Questions
- 1. Are Bengal cats dangerous?
No, the Bengal cats are not dangerous at all. They don’t have a strong prey-drive and thus, won’t hunt down.
- 2. Can Bengals be left alone?
Bengal cats can be left alone for almost 24 hours. Anything longer than this can negatively affect their health and cause separation anxiety in them.
- 3. Are male or female Bengal cats better?
Yes, the male Bengal cats are slightly better and higher than the females. His neck is muscular and well-defined than that of females. Similarly, males are generally athletic while females are thinner but quite strong according to the bloodlines.
- 4. Do Bengal Cats like to cuddle?
Yes, Bengal cats do like to cuddle, but it mostly depends on their mood and not yours. They usually develop ways in which they can communicate with their owners.
- 5. Why do Bengal cats pee everywhere?
Yes, they do pee everywhere. Bengal cats who are insecure or bored in their territory can mark it with urine.