Bengal Cat Characteristics (Quick Facts)
Size: Medium. Average body.
Intelligence: Very high.
Exercise Needs: Needs no exercise.
Ability to Adapt: High. Adjusts quickly.
Shedding: Low shedding.
Average Lifespan: From 10-16 years.
Price: From $1500 to $10,000.
Weight: From 8-17 lbs.
Playfulness: Through the roof!
Social Skills: Great with children & other pets.
Need for Grooming: Once a week.
Health: Very good. Minor health issues.
Exotic and wild-looking, the Bengal Cat seems like it belongs in a jungle. This breed was developed from crosses between domestic cats and wild Asian Leopard.
This is an athletic and agile breed with a muscular body made for jumping. The breed’s most distinctive trait, its spotted coat, reinforces the “wild” look.
Although they look like wild cats, the Bengal’s personality is anything but wild!
This is an affectionate, intelligent, chatty, and highly energetic breed.
Bengals get along with everyone but tend to form deeper bonds with their owners. They also love children and other pets and aren’t afraid of being in the water.
Where Did Bengal Cat Breed Originate?
People attempted to cross wild and domestic cats since the 1800s, if not earlier. The Bengal is an example of a successful cross between wild Asian Leopard and a domestic cat.
The breed was first mentioned in 1963. American geneticist, Jean Mill-Sugden, crossed a domestic male cat with a female Asian Leopard.
This mating produced a single spotted female kitten with a distinctive wild look. The kitten was named Kinkin. She was later bred back to her father and produced a litter of spotted kittens.
About at the same time, Dr. Willard Centerwall from the Loyola University was crossing wild Asian Leopards with domestic cats.
Since leopard cats were resistant to feline leukemia virus researchers were interested to find out if this trait can be passed on to their hybrid offsprings. Hence, several breeders were interested to develop a new breed out of these hybrids.
One of them was Jean Mill-Sugdan. Dr. Centerwall gave some of his hybrids to her and she started to look for fit males to breed them to.
Feeling that neither Mau, Abyssinian or Burmese were genetically strong enough breeds, Jean looked farther. The suitable candidate turned out to be a male feral orange cat from India.
With numerous and well-planed crosses, outcrosses and re-crosses, the wild-looking, but temperamentally reliable breed was created.
The Asian Leopard’s scientific name – Prionailurus Bengalensis was used as an inspiration, and the new breed was named Bengal.
In 1983, The International Cat Association granted the Bengal breed an experimental status, and full recognition in 1991. This breed is also recognized by the American Cat Fanciers Association and the Canadian Cat Association.
What Does the Bengal Cat Look Like?
This is medium to large cat with a graceful but muscular body. The wedge-shaped head is broad and topped with medium-sized ears that are set on its sides.
The back legs are slightly longer than the front ones and end in round paws.
Bengals are easily distinguished from other cat breeds thanks to their exotic look. Their coat can be spotted or feature leopard-like pattern and comes in several colors.
The body is sturdy, firm, and very muscular and should be long and substantial.
Bengal Cat Colors
The Bengal’s coat is the feature that gives it the exotic and wild look reminiscent of Asian Leopard cats. The coat can be spotted, have marble or leopard-like rosette patterns.
Furthermore, some Bengals have an intricate sheen, like the coat was sprinkled with gold. The combinations of colors and patterns vary.
The most commonly seen include, Brown, Silver, Snow, and Melanistic. All of these colors are complemented with black or tanned spots or marbles.
Bengal Cat Personality Traits
The Bengal is a highly intelligent, curious, and active breed that can sometimes be a hand full. Despite its wild ancestry, this friendly and social cat loves to have company.
Bengals get along well with all family members but develop a special bond with their owners. These cats love to play and jump on high places and need to be occupied at all times. Otherwise, they can become destructive and will certainly make a mess in your home.
Since they are highly social, they demand almost constant attention. Hence, they are best suited for people who spend a lot of time at home.
Since this breed loves to be high it is best to have one or more cat trees like Pet Place Activity Tower. The Bengal isn’t a lap cat, per se, but your kitty will curl beside you at the end of a fun day.
Compared to other breeds, Bengal is a chatty one and will communicate with thrills, chirps, and meows. Since Bengals are very active, you may need to consider a cat enclosure which will help your cat to stay active and burn off energy.
These cats have great hunting instincts and playing with toys, like these, will keep your kitty occupied for hours.
Unlike other cats, the Bengal isn’t afraid of water. So don’t be surprised to find your kitty in a shower with you.
Best described as confident, friendly, and fun, the Bengal is always alert. Nothing really escapes his notice!
Naturally curious and smart, the Bengal is easy to train and could rule the world if it sets his mind to it! Besides being super fun to live with, this affectionate cat will sleep in your bed or curl in your lap for cuddles.
Bengal Cat Behavior
The highly active, energetic, and curious Bengal can sometimes develop unusual destructive habits.
While it may be fun to watch your cat play with a light switch or pull seals out of drains, you won’t laugh when she tears the curtains and furniture to shreds.
Thus, invest in a lot of toys to redirect your cat’s attention and keep her mentally stimulated.
Otherwise, you may end up changing furniture every two months!
Are Bengal Cats Adaptable to New Surroundings?
The Bengal is a highly adaptable breed that reacts well to lifestyle changes and new scenery.
This is probably because it descends from wild Asian Leopard cats. This trait stays constant, so these cats don’t have troubles adapting even when they are older.
This is a very active and highly energetic breed that is almost in constant motion. It can spend hours playing and enjoys toys like Petstages Tower.
Since this is a social and inquisitive breed, it is best to spend at least 15 minutes a day in interactive play.
Does It Get Along with Children and Other Pets?
Thanks to their friendly nature and fun personality Bengals make great family pets. Since they are very active and curious they get along well with children.
This breed prefers the company of older kids who can match their energy levels. The Bengal can spend hours playing fetch or running after teaser toys.
This breed is intelligent enough to stay away from younger children and toddlers who can’t keep up. Social and friendly, this cat gets along and behaves nicely towards other household pets.
Since they prefer company they enjoy spending time with both cats and dogs. Just make sure to introduce all pets slowly and in a safe environment.
All Bengals have a strong hunting instinct, so it isn’t advisable to keep them together with smaller animals such as guinea pigs or hamsters. Furthermore, this breed doesn’t have issues slipping its paw into an aquarium to fish out an extra meal!
Being an extremely playful, this cat likes fun and will find creative ways to entertain itself. To prevent mischief and destruction, try to involve your cat in play sessions every day. Invest in toy sets that will provide plenty of entertainment and fun to your cat.
General Health and Potential Risks
The Bengal has very good health and can thrive when cared for properly. However, like all pedigreed cats, it can develop certain health problems.
This doesn’t mean your cat will have any issues. But it is better to familiarize yourself in advance.
- Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy: This condition causes the thickening of a portion of the heart. The thickening affects the heart’s ability to pump blood which results in chest pains and shortness of breath.
- Progressive Retinal Atrophy: This is a hereditary eye disorder that causes a degeneration of retinal photoreceptor cells. The retina slowly loses its function which results in night blindness and progresses to complete blindness over time.
- Patellar Luxation: This condition occurs when a cat’s kneecap is dislocated from its normal position. The dislocation can be mild to severe. In the latter cases, it can be fixed with surgery.
Bengal Cat Lifespan
On average Bengals can live from 12-16 years and even longer with proper care.
Invest in a protein-rich food like Blue Buffalo to keep your cat at a healthy weight. To ensure your cat’s longevity buy or adopt from a reputable source who can provide a health guarantee.
Bengals have a short, dense, luxurious and soft coat that is very easy to maintain. Use a dual-sided grooming brush once a week to remove any loose hair.
Regular brushing will help distribute skin oils through the coat and keep it healthy.
Bengals are good at staying clean and rarely need a bath. But since they aren’t afraid of water you can give it a go. Use only natural products, like Earthbath Cat Shampoo to avoid skin damage.
Bengal Cat Shedding
This breed sheds minimally and won’t leave tufts of hair on your furniture.
However, if you notice that your cat is shedding more than usual, brush her twice a week with a grooming glove.
Breed Related FAQ
In this section, we answer frequently asked questions about Bengals. Read on to learn more about this wild-looking and fun cat!
How Much is Bengal Cat Price?
The exact cost of a Bengal kitten depends on a breeder and other factors, such as coat color, lineage, and the overall quality.
If you are looking for a pet quality kitten, you can expect to pay from $1500 to $3000. On the other hand, show quality Bengals cost from $3500 to $10000 depending on the lineage, coat color, and markings.
How Big Do Bengal Cats Get?
As with all other cat breeds, males are larger and typically weigh from 10-15 pounds. Females are slightly smaller and weigh from 8-12 pounds.
Generally, this breed isn’t prone to obesity. Thus, you won’t have any problems keeping your Bengal at an ideal weight.
Are Bengal Cats Good House Pets?
The affectionate and friendly Bengal makes an excellent family pet. They get along with everyone including other cats and dogs and enjoy having company at all times.
Are Bengal Cats Dangerous?
Despite its wild ancestry, the Bengal is no more dangerous than any other cat. However, they tend to be a bit territorial so make sure to socialize your cat from a young age. Furthermore, introduce all pets slowly and in a controlled environment to avoid fights.
Do Bengal Cats Like to Cuddle?
The highly energetic Bengal likes to cuddle, but most often that will be on its terms and not yours. You shouldn’t force your cat to cuddle, instead, let it come to you when she is in the mood for affection.