The Bengal cat was first bred in the middle of the 20th century, to be a graceful animal with a bright and beautiful color, slightly resembling the fur of a leopard. Bengal cats have an active and playful character. If you are thinking about buying a Bengal kitten, knowing more about this exotic and popular cat breed will make it easier for you to make a choice.
How did Bengal Cats Become a Breed
In 1961, American Jean Mill, a cat breeder, went on a business trip to Bangkok. At the local market, Mill saw small wild Asian leopard kittens being sold to tourists as living souvenirs. Mill purchased a kitten and brought it home, naming it Malaysia.
The graceful leopard-colored animal inspired Mill to create an entirely new breed, and through interbreed crossing of wild cats with domestic cats (including Burmese and Mau), a new breed that combined the character of a domestic cat and the spectacular appearance of a wild predator was created. Bengal cats were accepted by TICA as a breed in 1986, and since then these gorgeous cats have become popular thanks to their luxurious appearance and amazing personality.
What are Bengal Cat Breed Standards?
Bengal cats are large to medium sized breeds. The average weight of the breed is 4-6 kg, but males can reach up to 8 kg, with proper care and feeding. The body is long and muscular. Bengals have rounded, strong, and quite large paws, and their hindquarters are slightly higher than the shoulders.
|Name of the breed||Bengal cat, Bengal|
|Country of Origin||USA|
|The breed origin time||1961|
|Weight||9-17 lbs / 4-8 kilos|
|Height (height at withers)||10-12 inches / 25-32 cm|
Bengal cats have a wedge-shaped head, with short, rounded ears that are set high and wide. Their eyes are bright, expressive, round, and large. The tail is medium length, with a rounded tip. The coat of Bengal cats resembles valuable fur, fairly short, thick and silky to the touch, fitting tightly to the body. In kittens it is much longer because of phasing, but over time the coat appears spotty. Colors vary from white to black; the main feature is a leopard pattern in the form of spots, rosettes and/or marbled stripes. If you read our article Colors and Patterns of Bengal Cats, you may be surprised at how diverse the colors of Bengals can be.
- Bengal Cat Head
The shape of a Bengal cat’s head resembles an egg – wide and oval. Bengal’s forehead is convex and without depressions. The Bengal has a strong and powerful chin that smoothly passes into the neck.
- Bengal Cat Ears
The ears are standard-sized, widely spaced and point forward, so the cat seems alert and ready to hunt all the time.
- Bengal Cat Eyes
The eyes are large and round or, ideally for the breed, oval, the colors differ from green and golden to blue. As a rule, the brighter the eyes, the more spectacular the Bengal looks. In the breed standards specific eye colors strictly correspond to respective Bengal cats colors.
- Body and Paws of the Bengal Cat
The body of a Bengal is muscular, elongated and quite strong. The Bengal cat’s front and back paws are not long, but powerful, with the hind paws slightly elongated. The paws are large and have a round shape.
- Tail of the Bengal Cat
The tail of Bengal cat is of medium length, thick, moderately fluffy and with a rounded tip.
What is a Bengal Cat’s Temperament?
The Bengal temperament combines the behavior of a wild cat with the friendliness of a pet. Understanding the basic characteristics of the breed will help you answer a very important question: “Is a Bengal cat right for me?” It is very important, when choosing a pet, to check its traits match your lifestyle; you will be responsible for the comfort and happiness of you and your pet for many years.
Bengals have a strong hunting instinct, so they love action games: rolling balls, playing with a ribbon, or tracking down “prey”. They’re great with different obstacles and can balance anywhere. They can easily catch mice, but they rarely eat them. Bengal cats are intelligent and trainable, and with proper training, Bengals grow up to be affectionate, sociable and inquisitive cats. They get along well with most other pets, with the possible exception of birds and rodents. Bengal cats get along great with dogs, even if you already have a dog living in the house. And Bengals are great with children, especially preschoolers, who love active and fun games. However, toddlers, who might pull the animal by the tail or ears, may be a problem since Bengals will not like this and will not respond well.
The main features of Bengal Cat temperament:
- Bengal Cats have wild ancestors
- Bengals are the great friends with dogs
- To get your attention, Bengals love to steal and hide owners’ things, they especially like hairpins, rubber bands, pens, pencils and small children’s toys
- Bengals are great hunters, if you have a parrot or other bird living at home, you will need to secure your feathered friends in advance
- Bengal cats like new toys very much, and mature cats quickly tire of old toys. So don’t forget small gifts for your pet
If a cat is bored, it will bite and chew on everything in its path, regardless of the age of the cat.
Bengals are chatterboxes, and one of the most talkative cats, using their voice to express every emotion from love to anger.
Bengal Cat Breed Traits Summary
|Energy Level||5 stars|
|Shedding Level||2 stars|
|Affection Level||5 stars|
|Grooming 1 star||1 star|
|Social Needs||5 stars|
|Kids Friendly||4 stars|
|Health Issues||2 stars|
|Strangers Friendly||5 stars|
|Dog Friendly||5 stars|
INTERESTING: Bengals love water, which means that there will be no problem with bathing your pet. Also, cats of this breed do not mind walking outside on a leash. You will never be bored with a Bengal!
How to Prepare the House for the New Bengal Kitten
If you are buying a beautiful Bengal kitten, you need to provide the appropriate care. And although Bengals are not demanding, you still need to look after them, especially if it is a small kitten. When you bring the Bengal kitten into the house, you don’t have to keep it in your arms all the time or play with it. It should just be left alone and let him get used to the new surroundings. If the house or apartment has several rooms, you should confine it to one room only, so that the kitten can settle in gradually. This room should always contain a litter box, feeding and water bowls, and a sleeping place.
A litter box should be used from the first days, otherwise the kitten will tag throughout the home. As a rule, responsible breeders teach kittens to use the litter box at an early age. Bengal cats are noted for their cleanliness and will not go to a stale litter box, so you will need to change it regularly. The tray itself should be purchased with high sides, or ideally closed, to stop the litter spilling onto the floor. It is best to choose wood-based litter, it masks the smell better and is more pleasant to dig in. Do not wash the litter box with caustic-smelling chemicals, otherwise the cat may refuse to go there.
The sleeping place usually is placed in a corner, but most often a kitten chooses it himself. Many Bengals sleep together with their owners or on radiators, and you should not scold them for such behavior. Bengal kittens, like any young pet, should be treated with tenderness and care, which they will reciprocate. Talking to them will help them feel cared for. Without proper treatment, Bengals can be aggressive, a trait from their wild heritage. In addition, you must remove all objects that may harm the kitten.
How to Care for a Bengal Cat
Bengals, like any other pets, should receive proper care, although this breed does not require any special attention. Despite the fact that their coat is rather short, it should be brushed at least once a week. They should use a comb with blunt teeth that will not cause any damage.
Since this breed has a relatively short coat, Bengals do not need to be bathed often, except during the shedding period. Bengals love to splash around in the water, so bathing is usually a pleasure for Bengal cats and their owners.
If you are a supporter of claw trimming, it is enough to trim the claws a couple of times a month. If you cannot do it yourself, it should be done by an expert. Once a week you should clean the ears of your Bengal. This can be done with special cotton swabs.
Since Bengal cats are very active, playful and energetic cats, that energy needs to be channeled. Buying a complex for the cat to play and sleep is a good idea, as is a scratching post. Provide toys that allow your cat to be active. Ideally, you can make a small area or corner in your room where your Bengal can play without tiring.
INTERESTING: You’ve probably seen a proud owner with a cat on a leash. That might be a Bengal because this cat breed is fond walking outside. It looks amazing!
What Diet is Good for Bengal Cats
As for the feeding diet of the Bengals, there are two options: either choose a professional premium food, or to provide the pet with quality heat-treated meat, not forgetting fiber and carbohydrates, as well as the necessary vitamins and minerals.
Dry foods contain all the necessary vitamins and minerals that pets need. In addition, they will not cause any damage to the teeth or gums of cats. For those who have decided to feed their pets only natural products, it is necessary to get acquainted with their raw diet. This should include meat and can be boiled beef, rabbit or chicken. A couple of times a week it should be given fish, but choose sea fish, since river fish has a lot of bones. A Bengal cat’s diet should also include a variety of vegetables. For example, many cats like cucumbers or bell peppers and eat them with pleasure. In addition, the menu should include various cereal dishes and do not forget about raw cat food supplements. One important point about diet: do not believe the myth that raw meat is good for Bengals, raw meat can be harmful and dangerous to your cat.
Generally, owners follow their breeder’s recommendations in determining their cat’s diet, since they have raised generations of Bengal cats. If in doubt about which diet is best for your cat, consult your veterinarian who will be able to suggest a balanced diet.
Bengals eat with great pleasure, so you need to make sure they do not overeat which can lead to obesity. They need to feed no more than four times a day, and the portions should not be too large. Buying an automatic cat feeder or a dry food dispenser can provide your Bengal right food portions at the right time.
Also do not forget about a bowl with clean water, which should always be within reach of the pet. It is very important for cats to have constant access to water so that they don’t get urolithiasis. If the cat drinks very little, you can purchase special drinkers that have miniature fountains. This will immediately attract the attention of your Bengal. However, because Bengals are very fond of bathing, you will need to check they are drinking, and not playfully tipping the water over.
Health Issues of Bengal Cats
Usually, Bengals have good health (if, of course, the animal is bought from a professional, trusted cattery) and do not give their owners much trouble. They may suffer from inflammatory bowel disease, cardiomyopathy and urological issues. But if a cat is fed properly and has regular health checks at the vet, it will live a long and happy life.
A breeder will have ensured the kitten you receive has been properly vaccinated. However, to keep the cat healthy, the owner should remember regular checkups, including vaccinations and treatments to prevent of parasites, are essential.
If you do not intend to breed Bengals, the cat should be neutered or spayed. This will keep the cat from hormonal diseases and your home from “fragrant” tags.
If you plan to breed Bengals, you need to ensure you are fully prepared. Pairs should be chosen carefully, considering ages and any health issues. You will also require a mating permit. Puberty starts late in Bengals, one year after birth, after which breeding can begin. Pregnancy lasts two months and five days, and kittens will stay with their mother three to four months before being transferred to a new habitat. Bengals should only mate a maximum of twice a year. If you wish the kittens to be purebred, it is necessary to use first, second or third generation cats.
Bengal cats will not only become friends for their owners, but also give the opportunity to participate in various exhibitions and competitions; after all, everyone should see the beauty of a Bengal cat. But even if you don’t plan to enter your Bengal in cat shows, these proud and wonderful creatures will become members of your family for a long time, giving you joy and love every day.