Bengal Cat is a large, graceful, strong, muscular cat, with an elegant spotted or marbled coat. They have the appearance of small jungle-thriving wildcats but possess the characteristics of a dependable family pet. As playful and athletic cats, they need a home that can complement their vigor. Once fulfilled, expect them to be quite affectionate and lovably friendly with their human families.
Origin of the Bengal Cat
Despite their name, Bengals are not dubbed after the Bengal tiger but instead after the Asian Leopard Cats, whose Latin name was “Prionailurus bengalensis.” People have always been fascinated by the independence and elegance of big wild cats. They tried keeping lions, cheetahs, and ocelots, but to no avail.
Dr. Willard Centerwall started breeding Asian Leopard Cats and domestic cats during the 1970s, but for a different purpose. He was looking to see if he could pass on the formers’ feline leukemia to the hybrid litters.
Soon, Jean Mill, a cat breed and conservationist, took some of the kittens from Centerwall’s experiment and bred them with a tabby and a domestic shorthair. They gave birth to a litter that became the foundation of the Bengal cats.
Now, the Bengals served to fulfill this desire of having a cat with a wild look, yet with a domestic cat temperament. The breed was fully accepted by the International Cat Association (ICA) in 1991.
Physical Characteristics of the Bengal Cat
Length: 14 to 18 inches
Weight: 10 to 18 pounds (Males), 6 to 12 pounds (Females)
Life Expectancy: 9 to 13 years
Coat Color: Spotted or marbled with various patterns, accentuated by black, gray, silver, chocolate edgings
Type of Coat: Short
Eye Color: Gold or green
Bengals is a domestic cat, with a distinct wild appearance. They are large, graceful, strong, and muscular, with a thick tail and hind legs taller than their shoulders. The head is wedge-shaped, appearing relatively longer than it is broad. Meanwhile, ears are small to fairish-sized short ears, lying on the head’s side. The eyes are oval, nearly round while the nose is wide, and the muzzle is full. The well-rounder chin is subtly-colored. Whisker pads are more pronounced due to the prominent and wide canine teeth.
Bengal Cat Personality
While they may sport a wild appearance, Bengals are as lovably friendly and affectionate as other domestic cats. They are loyal and people-oriented, quickly creating bonds with their human families. They get along well with kids, and other cat-friendly pets, long as they are introduced properly at an early age.
However, what Bengal enthusiasts love about this breed is its playful and energetic nature. They are fond of climbing and will cease the highest point in their owner’s home. Due to their wild origins, they are sharply intelligent, which was essential for the survival of their ancestors in the wild.
These cats learn things swiftly and are always welcoming to adopting new behaviors. Sometimes, they grasp skills their masters wish they didn’t, such as opening and closing doors, or turning light switches. They are inquisitive and will look at each thing, seemingly thinking if that is something they can play with. Moreover, they will notice any change and will quickly indulge once you open the cabinet or arrange things not up to their liking.
Some Bengals retain their wild instincts, more often is their innate love of water, with that clean water must be provided or else, they may drink in the toilet or any water source. Same with their wild ancestors, they enjoy their freedom and won’t like being picked up or restrained. Lastly, they can be vocal or talkative, often producing chirping or cooing sounds, characterized by a wide vocabulary.
Caring for the Bengal Cat
Today’s Bengal cats are about four generations away from their ancestor, with that they don’t need special care and must only be deemed as large domestic cats, boasting wild looks.
Weekly grooming is sufficient to keep dead hair and debris away from their coat. Nail trimming must be done every few weeks, or when necessary, but a scratching post would be a good supplement in keeping their nails tidy and paws healthy.
These cats are playful and highly energetic, fond of climbing, and brimming with curiosity. Cat trees and perches should be provided, which they can use to survey their surroundings. Meanwhile, playing with interactive toys is a good way to stimulate and draw out their high energy.
When it comes to other animals, they easily get along with dogs and other felines. However, other pets, such as birds, guinea pigs, rabbits, or hamsters, may trigger their hunting instinct. The best resort is to keep them away from their natural prey.
Like all cats, Bengals must get all immunizations and preventive care measures. Some of the diseases or conditions linked to the breed include hip dysplasia, patellar luxation, autosomal recessive disorder, and feline infectious peritonitis. They are best to be kept indoors to avoid them from acquiring diseases and as well protect them from accidents, predators, or getting into fights with other cats.
Bengals are ideal for families looking for active cats to bring into their homes. These cats are ready to reciprocate all the affection and attention provided by their loving human families that would match their vigorous personality.