Demanding Your Attention Like a Dog, the Bengal Cat Can Be A Handful!
Jon Crimes - Last Updated on January 28th, 2021
What you Need to Know about the Bengal Cat?
Bengal cats are the product of breeding domestic cats with wild Asian Leopard Cats.
This has resulted in a strikingly beautiful cat that looks like a cross between a Leopard and a Tiger but is still the size of a house cat or a little larger.
For us, the outstanding feature of Bengals is that they look like wild leopard cats, move in a feral way but have a sweet, friendly, outgoing personality.
Appearance Matters. What does a Bengal Cat look like?
High haunches, sleek coats, and an extra vertebra in their backs make the Bengal longer and sometimes larger than the normal house cat.
They also have a distinctive “M” on their foreheads and can appear to have heavy black eye make-up. Along with their broad head, small ears, and very dominant whisker pads, their faces have a very distinctive look.
But the real standout feature of the Bengal is its wild appearance with a luxurious thick coat that can be marbled or spotted. This is where the Asian Leopard Cat heritage really shows itself, and you would be forgiven for thinking that this cat truly belongs in the jungle.
Their thick coat can come in several colors, which include:
- Brown tabby
- Seal Mink Tabby
- Black Silver Tabby
- Seal Silver Lynx Point
But our favorite is the Charcoal Bengal!
The coat can also have a variety of patterns, including:
- Random Spots
- Horizontal Patterns
A thick tail completes this wild appearance.
It's all Personal. The Bengal Cat Personality
Bengal cats can be a handful, and kittens have been reported as being particularly mischievous from as little as sixteen weeks old. Antics have included unlocking a kitchen window and pushing it open, drinking out of the toilet bowl, and going for long walks with their owners at night.
Are Bengal cats aggressive?
No, but the Bengal cat personality can be demanding and be prepared for non-stop meowing when they’re not getting enough attention. Bengals love to be included, so expect a ‘helping hand’ whenever you’re cooking, typing, or even showering!
Although they are exceedingly curious and basically into ‘everything’, they are also relatively easy to train and can be taught to perform many tricks if you start training them at an early age.
Taking after its Asian Leopard ancestor, Bengals are extremely fond of water and can be great swimmers. If you have fish, be prepared to protect aquariums and ponds. They also share character traits with dogs in that they may follow you around, take walks with you, love to fetch, and will sometimes literally end up in the bathtub with you.
All Bengal kittens will share some of these traits, but they also evolve as distinct individuals at a very early age.
Are Bengal cats good house pets?
This relatively new breed is becoming extremely popular, with many people acquiring them for their exotic looks. Be warned, though! Bengals are NOT your classic ‘ordinary’ cats, and it’s worth making sure this cat is right for you.
They do, however, have many of the traits of your ‘normal’ house cat, and they are very affectionate, love children, and generally get along fine with family dogs.
With the Bengal, you’ll have a close, vocal companion who will alternate between periods of having unlimited energy before curling up and being fast asleep.
Caring for your Bengal Cat
Caring for your Bengal cat is no different from the care that other house cats need.
Daily or weekly brushing of their teeth to prevent periodontal disease is a must because once this gum disease appears, it is irreversible. Start doing this when they’re young, and they should come to expect the toothbrush.
Wipe the corner of their eyes to get rid of any discharge with a soft, damp cloth and check their ears for any build-up of dirt. Use different cloths for the eyes and ears and try and build this into your weekly routine when your Bengal is a young kitten.
Sharp claws! Bengals are known for their claws, so every couple of weeks, see how long they get and trim if necessary.
Do Bengal cats shed a lot?
No! They do shed hair, but it is very minimal, especially when compared with other breeds. Regular grooming of Bengal cats, especially as a kitten, has been proven to limit hair shedding when your cat becomes an adult.
Are Bengal cats hypoallergenic?
No cat is truly hypoallergenic but choosing a short-haired cat, like the Bengal, is a much better choice than a cat breed with long hair.
The Health and Happiness of your Bengal Cat
Bengal cats are generally healthy, but the breed does have some diseases associated with it.
Look out for the following:
- Hip Dysplasia. This is where the cat's hip ball and socket are misaligned and become loose. Look out for limping or lameness that gets gradually worse.
- Flat-chested kitten syndrome. It happens when Bengal kittens have an abnormal rib cage. Keep a watch for reduced activity, breathing difficulties, and eating problems.
- Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. This is a form of heart disease and one of the most common found in cats. Detection can be tricky and is best left for discussions with your veterinarian.
- Patellar Luxation. A knee cap problem where it has moved or dislocated out of its normal position. Look for your cat limping or ‘bunny hopping’.
Another thing to pay close attention to is your Bengal cat weight.
Obesity is not a problem isolated to this breed, but because they are natural hunters, you will need to monitor their weight regularly. They have a super strong prey drive!
If they’re more of an outdoor cat, then don’t assume they're just having a sleep somewhere! Instead, be prepared to reduce the food that you put down for them as they might be getting extra calories elsewhere.
The average life expectancy of a Bengal cat is similar to other cat breeds, between 14 and 16 years.
Feline History. Where does the Bengal Cat come from?
The Bengal breed was developed to counter illegal poaching and animal markets.
Wild cats were being exploited for the fur market or being kept for pets. This led to breeders crossing leopard cats with domestic cats in an attempt to stop these activities.
One such breeder, Jean Mill, explained that putting a leopard coat on a domestic cat might satisfy the desire for these animals and help to prevent this illegal pet trade.
And indeed, Bengal kittens look like wild cats and are the ‘living room leopards’ that Jean Mill aspired to create.
Bengals must be at least four generations removed from Asian Leopard cats to be considered suitable as house pets.
Questions people often ask about Bengal kittens
+Are Bengal Cats good pets?
+Are Bengal Cats hypoallergenic?
+How Big do Bengal Cats get?
+Where Can I Find Reputable Bengal Breeders?