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Is the Bengal right for you?

The basics:
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

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Germantown, MD


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