With a wild appearance and a heart of gold, the Bengal has quickly become one of the most sought-after breeds in the cat world. The Bengal is a hybrid breed, which means it has actual roots in the wild kingdom: the original cross-breeding that created the breed was between the wild Asian Leopard Cat and a domestic cat. Today, most Bengals are the result of Bengal-to-Bengal breeding, and only Bengals four generations removed from their wild grandparents are recommended as pets.
It’s not just looks that the Bengal inherited from their wild beginnings, but a playfulness, athleticism, and intelligence that make them a wildly entertaining, but also challenging breed to live with. They crave constant activity and entertainment, and are intelligent enough to get bored easily. This is not a pet for the faint of heart, but if you’re up for adventure, the Bengal can be a rewarding companion.
Appearance / health:
The Bengal was bred from the desire to produce a cat with a domestic temperament and the looks of a jungle cat. They’re bigger than your average housecat with males weighing 10-15lbs and females weighing 8-12lbs. Their build is muscular with powerful hind legs that are slightly longer than the front legs, giving them an impressive stride and significant leaping ability. The head is broad but rounded, with a wide nose, strong cheekbones, and a strong chin. The ears are small-to-medium in size. The Bengal's eyes are oval, almost round, and wide-set, and feature a dark outline. The eyes are usually shades of green, but certain variants may have blue eyes.
The fur of the Bengal is short, dense, and silky, and usually has either a spotted or marbled pattern. Spots may be solid, or a more leopard-like two-toned rosette, or a mix of both spots and rosettes. The most common coloration for Bengals is the brown/black tabby, though shades of brown can vary from pale, almost grey, to vivid golds and coppers. A second variety, the snowf Bengal, features a coat of ivory, cream, or tan, with dark brown spots or stripes, and blue eyes. Silver Bengals have pale grey-to-white bodies with dark grey-to-black patterns. All variants tend towards a nearly white belly and tabby stripes on the forelegs and face.
Unfortunately, some Bengals may experience certain health issues, some of which are caused by irresponsible breeding due to the breed's popularity and expense. Some Bengals are born with a genetic disorder that causes blindness within their first year. It is a recessive disorder, and cats can be carriers without developing the condition, so it is important to find a breeder who knows the pedigrees of their breeding stock. The breed also has a slightly higher-than-average prevalence of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, a condition which results in abnormal thickening of the heart muscle.
Behavior / temperament:
Though several generations removed from their wild heritage, the Bengal retains some physical and personality aspects that can make this a challenging breed to own. They are athletic, energetic, and intelligent, which can be a difficult combination for the unprepared. They have a reputation for opening cabinets and drawers, and their climbing and jumping prowess means you will likely find them exploring the highest places in the house.
Much like a dog, time must be spent exercising and entertaining a Bengal each day, and they may seem tirelessly playful. They may be dissatisfied as a house cat, but for their own safety and the safety of the local wildlife (they are extremely skilled hunters), Bengals should not be allowed to free-roam outside. Outdoor enclosures with lots of climbing opportunities are highly recommended, and Bengals are generally easy to leash-train.
Though affectionate and friendly with their owners, this is not a cat that will spend a lot of time cuddling. They will want to be involved in all the household activity, and because they also have a fondness for water, it would not be unusual to find yourself showering with a Bengal. They can be talkative and demanding, with a meow composed of unique chirps and barks. If you’re looking for a dynamic and interactive companion, the Bengal may be a good fit.
Because of their boisterousness, size, and strength, the Bengal may not be a good cat for homes with young children. They can be territorial of other cats, and introductions are best made when the Bengal is young. The Bengal is a keen hunter with strong predator instincts, and keeping them with small animals and birds could be a deadly mistake. Likewise, their affinity for water means your fish tank should have a secure lid!
The Bengal is a unique and beautiful cat, but the very thing that makes it such a special breed can also make them a challenging pet. They are probably best left to experienced cat owners or those with the time and dedication to learn about the Bengal's unique needs.
wonderful loving pets, energetic animals, funny, smart cat, stunning beauty
destructive behavior, picky eater, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy
beautiful spotted coat, vocal bengals, wild pedigree, strong personalities, active breed, trainable
"Hector is a wonderful cat. He is a Bengal, and if you know anything about Bengal's than you'll know they can be highly intelligent. That is until his animalistic nature kicks in and he decides to jump on your back! Indeed, he has the charm of a prince but the mannerisms of a hunter. He can often be found tucked away above kitchen cupboards, or in his cat basket. He loves to play, but isn't overly obsessed with human affection. For him, he just loves to feel comfortable and to be the top kitty. ."
From speedytranslate Apr 26 2017 11:28AM
"I started pet sitting Shaka a Bengal cat, about a year ago. A Bengal is a wildcat/domestic cat hybrid, Shaka is a fourth generation Bengal cat. He is beautiful, graceful and highly intelligent. He enjoys playing with his toys, feather toys are his favorite. Most of the time he is quite mellow but there are days, he is climbing and knocking things off the counter. He does well with his brother, a German Shephard. Shaka uses a little box which needs to be cleaned once a day. He eats regular cat food, and has wet food as a treat. He is strictly an inside cat, that loves his rubs. His fur is soft and doesn’t shed very much. He is bigger and stronger than most domestic cats; but he is as sweet as my Tabby. I believe that his gentle personality is due to the time his owners devoted to him. He was well socialized with other animals, children and adults, at a young age. ."
From Martha Oct 21 2016 8:43PM
"We got Prince when he was a kitten from the PA SPCA! I’m already rolling my eyes. LOL. Prince was a Bengal and we got him when he was 8 weeks old. We thought, “Wow. A Pure breed Bengal, for only $15. Lucky us.” Wrong. This cat was a pure terror and we only kept him for three months. <br><br>We’d never owned a kitten before, but living with this cat was just way too much. And frankly, living with this kitten was scary at times. Prince did extremely well using the litter box and not making a mess with his food. That was really great. The part that didn’t work was Prince’s jumping on sofas and shelves (Leather sofas at that. I know. We should’ve known better.). Ok, we can understand that…he’s a kitten and is just learning his physical capabilities. Ok, it was bothersome, but we get it.<br><br>What we couldn’t tolerate and why Prince had to GO, was that at various times he’d attack members of my household. There was a bathroom in our basement where Prince stayed (a very large finished basement). On several occasions, always in the EARLY morning around 6AM when someone cleaned his litter box before work/school, he’d go CRAZY and would trap one of his caretakers in the bathroom. As soon as the person tried to come out of the bathroom, usually without shoes on, he’d start attempting to attack their feet with his sharp claws!!! He’d also make scary sounds like he was going to pounce on us and attack us further. It was all really a lot, and just too much to deal with. People should not be in tears trapped in a bathroom, having to scream to other relatives to rescue them at 6AM, while attempting to make life better for YOU….the cat! <br><br>So yes, Prince had to go. I’m unsure if it was the fact that Prince was a kitten, his breed as a Bengal, if he was traumatized prior to adoption, if we were doing something wrong, but attacking us made his stay in our house VERY short. Nobody should be scared in their own home because an under six-month-old kitten may attack them. Bye Prince!!! SN: Prince was a very gorgeous cat, which made his psychotic episodes only more troubling. We didn’t want to hate him, we wanted to love him, but we couldn’t get past scratch marks, tears, and just the lunacy of it all!."
From dogloverdan Dec 25 2014 5:13PM