Bengal

Origin

United States

Height

13"-16"

Adult Weight

6-15 pounds

Life Span

12-20 years

TEMPERAMENT

Energetic, curious, affectionate, intelligent

OTHER NAMES

Leopardette

Group

Large shorthair

Price

$1,500 - $3,000

Personality and Temperament

With exotic looks to match its name, the Bengal cat originated as a cross between the Asian leopard cat and a domesticated cat. A number of breeds were used in the Bengal cat’s development, including the Egyptian Mau, Ocicat, Abyssinian, Burmese, American Shorthair, and domestic shorthair cats. These days, members of the Bengal cat breed are the product of a cross between two purebred Bengal cats. Playful and active, Bengal cats are excellent pets. Quite a bit less standoffish then some other wildcat hybrids, these incredible cats enjoy affection and develop close bonds with their family members. Although they might be up for a cuddle now and then, Bengal cats are anything but couch potatoes. This highly active breed needs a lot of daily activity and play to thrive. Bengal cats love to climb and like their wild, jungle-dwelling cousins, they seek high vantage points from which to view their domain. Curious, they like to be in the middle of everything and they enjoy learning how things work. Bengal cats are notorious for opening doors, activating light switches, flushing toilets, emptying cupboards, and more. They are eager to learn tricks, and thanks to their high level of intelligence, they’re very easy to train. Try teaching your Bengal cat “sit” and “shake paw,” and games like fetch.

Care

Just like their wild cousins, Bengal cats need a diet that focuses on meat, particularly if they are members of the first three generations. Most commercial kibble is not really suitable for Bengals, as it is too high in carbohydrates. High-quality canned, fresh or raw food is a good choice as it generally has a higher meat content.
While Bengal cats are perfectly capable of grooming themselves, they appreciate attention and will enjoy brushing on a regular basis. Teach your cat to accept nail trimming from a young age, and brush their teeth daily.
Bengal cats need lots of exercise—far more than the average cat. Although most cats spend most of their time asleep, these frisky felines require numerous play sessions every day, particularly during their first few years of life.
Like many cat breeds, Bengals do have the potential to develop some known health issues. Eye problems such as cataracts and progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) are concerns and might develop as a Bengal cat ages. The hereditary form of PRA is not limited to older cats, though. It sometimes occurs in kittens with symptoms beginning at an age as young as 12 weeks. PRA causes blindness and there is no known cure.

Characteristics

Affection Level 100%
Activity Level 90%
Pet-Friendly 90%
Kid-Friendly 100%
Sociability 80%
Intelligence 100%
Playfulness 90%
Independence 50%
Vocality 40%
Grooming 10%

History

Cat fanciers began experimenting with Asian Leopard cat hybridization more than 200 years ago, but the Bengal cat we know and love today didn’t emerge until the 1960s, when Dr. Willard Centerwall of Loma Linda University began hybridizing Asian Leopard cats to see whether they would pass their immunity to feline leukemia on to hybrid offspring. While immunity wasn’t passed on, something great did result from those early experiments: the beginnings of a future new cat breed. It took decades for Bengal cats to become standardized. In 1980, Dr. Centerwall sent some of his Bengal cats to Jean Mill, who wanted to decrease the desire for fur as a fashion statement by popularizing domestic cats with exotic looks. At the same time, she hoped to reduce the demand for illegal trafficking in wild cats for the pet industry. The breed was further developed with the addition of Tory of Delhi, a domestic street cat that was imported from India. Other breeders discovered that Egyptian Mau cats were excellent candidates for pairing with Asian Leopard cats, with the cross resulting in beautiful spotted Bengals. The International Cat Association (TICA) recognized Bengal cats as an experimental breed in 1983, and full recognition was gained in 1993. The Cat Fanciers’ Association (CFA) granted the Bengal breed its official recognition in 2016.

The Breed Standard

Body

Bengal cats are medium to large in size, with sleek, muscular bodies. The hindquarters are slightly higher than the shoulders.

Head

The head is broad, with a modified wedge shape. Rounded contours and high cheekbones are preferable. The head is somewhat small in proportion to the cat's body. Mature males may display jowls.

Eyes

The eyes have a round to oval shape. They are large and set wide apart. Lynx-point Bengal cats must have blue eyes; cats of other coat colors may have eyes of any color.

Ears

A Bengal cat's ears are medium to small size with wide bases and rounded tips. They are set far apart, and follow the contours of the face when viewed from the front. When viewed in profile, the ears display a slight forward tilt. While tufting is undesirable, light, horizontal furnishings are acceptable.

Legs & Paws

The legs are of medium long length with substantial musculature. Rear legs are slightly longer than front legs. The paws are large and ground, and the knuckles appear prominent.

Tail

The Bengal cat has a medium-length tail that is proportionate to the body. The tail is thick with a tapered end and a rounded tip.

Coat

The Bengal cat has a short, soft, silky coat that lies close to the body. Glittering at the tips of the hair is desirable. Bengals may also have long hair. Long-haired Bengals are shown separately from short-haired Bengals.

Color

Bengal cats come in a variety of colors and patterns. Rosettes and spots may be displayed on the rosetted/tabby pattern. The marble pattern does not resemble classic tabby, meaning there is no circular pattern or bull's-eye. Rosettes and spots can be present on the marble tabby. The Bengal cat may be brown tabby, black silver tabby, blue tabby, blue lynx point, blue silver tabby, charcoal tabby, and all other tabby colors. Smoke pattern colors and melanistic pattern colors are desirable. Nose leather and paw pad color corresponds to coat color.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How much do Bengal cats cost?

    How much do Bengal cats cost?A pet-quality Bengal kitten usually costs anywhere from $1,500 to $3,000. Show-quality kittens might cost as much as $5,000.
  • Why are Bengal cats so expensive?

    Why are Bengal cats so expensive?Bengal cats are more expensive than non-pedigreed cats because reputable breeders spend a lot of time and money on their breeding programs to ensure their adult breeding Bengal cats are healthy, temperamentally sound, and good representations of the breed, so these qualities might be passed on to future generations of kittens.
  • Are Bengal cats good pets?

    Are Bengal cats good pets?Bengal cats are wonderful, engaging pets. They are friendly and affectionate, bonding closely with their human family. This breed is extremely active, so you must be prepared to provide enough exercise, play, and mental stimulation.
  • Are Bengal cats cuddly?

    Are Bengal cats cuddly?All Bengal cats are individuals, and some might enjoy cuddling more than others. Although friendly and affectionate, Bengals are so active that cuddles might be short-lived.
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