If you’ve ever dreamed about what it might be like to own a baby leopard, chances are you’re already familiar with the Bengal cat breed because let’s face it, owning one of these little guys is probably as close as anyone should ever get to owning an actual “baby” leopard. And for good reason!
But just because…
The Bengal cat is going to have the “look” you want doesn’t mean that the Bengal cat breed is going to be the “right” cat breed for you. This is why we wanted to take a moment and discuss what it would be like to actually own a Bengal cat so that if you are ever lucky enough to get your hands on one, you won’t wish you hadn’t six months from now!
So, without further ado, let’s dive right in!
Bengal Cat Breed Fast Facts
Country of Origin: United States
Size: Medium to large
Weight: 9 to 12 pounds
Eyes: Round (green or gold)
Head Shape: Wedge shaped
Life Span: 12 to 16 years
Origin of Breed
The name of the Bengal comes from the Asian leopard cat’s scientific name, which is “Felis prionailurus bengalensis.” Which is fitting, as Bengals were created by crossing Asian leopard cats with domestic American shorthair cats. The first breeding of a Bengal cat occurred back by a breeder was done by Jean Mill back in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s when Jean “unintentionally” allowed her “wild” leopard cat with a domestic shorthair cat.
At the time…
Jean did not think the two would mate because they were of different species, but to her surprise, they did and when they did, they produced some pretty impressive kittens!
Around this same time…
A Dr. Willard Centerwall of Loyla University also decided to see if these two “types” of cats would breed with one another only in his case, he chose to pair these two, different species on purpose. You see, Asian leopard cats are resistant to feline leukemia, so Dr. Willard’s intention was to try to “capture” this resistance into the resulting litter hopefully creating a “new” and healthier cat breed.
Bengal cats are considered one hundred percent “domesticated” however in order to be “officially” recognized as part of the Bengal cat breed, they should be four generations removed from any wild ancestry.
The International Cat Association…
Was the first to fully recognize the breed in 1991, but the Bengal is also recognized by the American Cat Fanciers Association, the United Feline Organization, and the Canadian Cat Association. Purchasing a kitten from Bengal breeders can cost anywhere from $1500 for a male, or $2000 to $10000 for a female.
The Bengal cat is a pretty large cat, weighing from 8 to 15 pounds, or even more. This is not a delicate breed of cat – it’s clear that Bengals are athletes, as they are very agile and very graceful, with muscular bodies and the strength of a jungle cat.
Itself is broad and longer than its width giving it a wedge like shape, with rounded contours. Their ears are relatively medium or even short given the size and lengthy of the Bengal cat, and are usually to the side of the head as opposed to sitting directly on top. And while Bengal cats can come in various colors, their large round eyes will always be either green or gold.
Bengal cats have…
Large paws like their wild ancestors, and a medium-length tail that is often ended in black. Which will definitely add to the “wild” look that these cats have in comparison to your average domestic shorthaired cat.
But at the end of the day…
It is the Bengal cats fur that is what truly differentiates this cat breed from any other and what makes this cat so highly desirable to its owners.
Bengal cat fur
No article about the Bengal cat would be complete without a through discussion of their fur. After all, it is their fur that give them their “wild” appearance, and it is their fur that really sets them apart making even the casual cat enthusiast go “wow”!
And the nice thing is…
The Bengal cat coat is a think and silky coat and you guessed it, it’s shorthaired as well. Which means that its going to be easy to maintain and relatively hassle free.
The really “cool” thing…
About a Bengal cats coat is that while all of them are going to have the classic “spots” unique to this breed, these spots are going to be “randomly” placed throughout each cat’s coat making each cat look totally unique.
These coats can also come in a variety of colors including:
- Brown or seal mink tabby,
- Black silver tabby,
- Or a seal silver lynx point.
Bengals can also be marbled, or even “glittered,” meaning that their fur sparkles in the light as if it were brushed with gold dust!
And as we already mentioned…
Bengals are easy to groom as they are short-haired cats, but they are recommended indoor only or outdoor in an enclosure due to the high price of the cat – they are easily stolen by those who don’t want to pay thousands of dollars for a beautiful cat.
Temperament of the Bengal cat breed
Bengals are incredibly active and very intelligent cats who can be quite challenging to live with at times, particularly if you prefer cats that like to sleep all day!
Now for those of you who…
Love cats that are super playful and active, we think you’ll find that the Bengal confidence and friendly attitude is quite refreshing and we’re sure that you’ll be impressed by how this cat always seems to be on “alert” and always seems to know what’s going on anywhere within the house.
Love to play games, which is perfect for someone who is looking to adopt a cat that wants to be around and engage with his or her owner. But beware, if you can’t see yourself spending an hour or two playing with your cat each and every day, this might not be the “right” cat for you. In fact, like many dog breeds that require a ton of attention, Bengal cats can tend to become rather destructive if they aren’t getting the attention that they need.
That said however…
If giving up an hour or two each day to play with your cat sounds like fun, what you’re going to find with the Bengal cat breed is that because they are so intelligent, you’re going to be able to teach him or her all sorts of fun tricks including playing fetch.
Did we mention…
That Bengal cats love water? If not, we should definitely do so now because this is probably the second most “unique” thing about the Bengal cat bred. And by “love water” we mean that this cat is not afraid of stepping into the shower with you, hopping bath tub or even diving into your fish tank to grab a quick snack!
In family settings…
The Bengal is a perfect cat for children and cat-friendly dogs. Their smart enough to stay out of the way of toddlers who may not be able to respect a cat’s space yet and school-age children (who know better than to pull tails) will find him fun and high energy.
Common heal issues of the Bengal cat breed
While the Bengal cat breed is generally considered a “pretty” healthy cat breed, because it is a pedigree cat, there are some medical conditions you do want to be aware of so that you can discuss these concerns with your Bengal cat breeder in an effort to ensure you are getting the “healthiest” kitten possible.
Conditions such as:
- Flat-chested kitten syndrome,
- Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM),
- Distal neuropathy,
- Hip dysplasia,
- Patellar luxation,
- Progressive retinal atrophy (PRA).
This is why…
At the end of the day, if you do decide that a Bengal cat is going to be the right cat for you, you want to be sure and take your time when finding a reputable breeder that you can trust.
You’re also going to…
Want to do your due diligence about looking into possibly purchasing a pet insurance policy for your new loved one. This way, if your kitten does develop some type of illness or suffers from some type of injury later on, you won’t be on the hook for 100% of his or her medical bills on your own.
For those looking form more information about how pet insurance policies work and how much they might cost, we would advise you to check out our Best Pet Insurance Companies article where we highlight many of the pros and cons of owning these “types” of insurance policies.