Meet the Breed: Talkative Bengal Cats

Here is everything that you should know about Bengal Cats. If you are thinking about welcoming a Bengal cat into your home, you should first know this. Read on.

The Bengal cat is a domesticated cat breed, mostly famous for its original markings. Because of Bengal’s wild appearance, many believe that this cat is exotic and often find only in the wild.

However, this domestic cat breed is actually created from hybrids of domestic cats, especially the spotted Egyptian Mau, with the Asian leopard cat.

The breed name comes from the leopard cat’s taxonomic name. Bengal cats are energetic, and they need a lot of exercise and play.

Quick Facts

Real name: Bengal
Origin: United States
Breed type: Domesticated Cat
Weight: 8 to 17 pounds
Lenght: 17 to 22 inches, not including tail
Lifespan: 10 – 16 years
Color: the Brown spotted/rosetted Bengal most common
Coat: Short, soft hair

Bengal Cats History

Due to its distinctive spotted coat and significant size, the Bengal looks like a wild cat. This is very unusual, considering that one of Bengal’s ancestors is the small but wild Asian leopard cat.

Bengals take their name from the Asian leopard cat’s scientific name, Felis bengalensis.

Bengals were created through crosses between an Asian leopard cat and domestic shorthairs. A breeder from California, Jean Mill, was the first to make such a cross.

Interestingly, her initial plan wasn’t to create a new breed. She had acquired a leopard cat and allowed her to keep company with a black tom cat so she wouldn’t be lonely.

However, she didn’t assume that the two would mate, and in a short period, Jean had kittens to care about. She also decided to keep a spotted female and bred her further. That action resulted in a litter of spotted and solid kittens.

At about the same time, Dr. Willard Centerwall was crossing Asian leopard cats with domestic cats at Loyola University. Interestingly, the leopard cats were resistant to the feline leukemia virus, so researchers were eager to figure out if the trait could be passed on to hybrid offspring.

From day one breeders showed massive interest in developing the cats as a breed, and Jean Mill was one of them. She acquired some of Dr. Centerwall’s hybrids and sought out suitable males to breed.

One of them was an orange domestic shorthair that she found in India, while the second one was a brown spotted tabby acquired from a shelter.

Today, Bengals are considered to be one and the same with domestic cats, and Bengal purchased should be at least four generations removed from any ancestors with wild bloodlines.

The International Cat Association in 1983, granted the breed experimental status, while the breed got its first official recognition in 1991. The Bengal is also recognized by the American Cat Fanciers Association, the Canadian Cat Association, and the United Feline Organization.

Bengal Cats Physical Appearance

The Bengal cat is a medium-to-large-cat. They weight eight to fifteen pounds or more. This breed is also the only one among the domestic breed of cat that has rosette markings.

Although Bengals have a wide variety of markings and colors, the most popular Bengals are brown spotted and rosetted Bengal.

A Bengal can be red-brown, grey, ticked, clouded, rosette, and spotted even within this category. Many would say that this cat resembles a leopard.

One is for sure; the popular Bengal markings are probably the most unique and the most varied.

Bengals have muscular bodies, and that’s the main reason why they are larger than the average house cat. They are long and lean. Their ears are small and short, with a broad base and rounded tops. Eyes are round and oval and set wide apart.

Eye color independent of coat color except in the lynx points. The more richness and depth of color, the better. The tail is thick and in medium length.

The coat may vary from short to medium, while the coat texture is dense, soft, and silky to the touch. Spots are random or aligned horizontally. The belly is usually spotted as the rest of the body.

Bengal Cats Temperament

If you want a cat that will spend the day being quiet or merely sitting in your lap, then the Bengals aren’t for you. This breed is highly active and highly intelligent.

So, living with them will be both challenging and fun. They are talkative, and they are always alert – nothing escapes them. Your Bengal will love to play, including fetch, and will be more than exciting to learn new tricks.

When you are outside your home, make sure that you Bengal has indoor space for entertainment. Otherwise, they can adopt some unconventional habits, such as turning light switches on and off or vandalizing your remote controller or simply knocking everything that comes on the way.

Bengals love water. Actually, they are such water lovers that you can often find them playing in the water. So, if you have an aquarium or a pond fish, it may be at danger from Bengal’s paws.

They also love to climb, so you can often climb the tallest point inside the house. It can be handy to have a cat tree or a shelf set high, so your Bengal can workout and rest at the highest point at home.

Next to a cat tree, or even two really high cat trees, ait can be handy to have puzzle toys that will challenge his intelligence.

On rare occasions, Bengal will be super affectionate and happy to just sit on your lap. As expected, your Bengal will sleep in your bed.

Bengal Cats Grooming

Many claim that Bengal cats don’t shed; however, there is no evidence to support this claim. So, regardless of whether or not they shed, there is no question that Bengal cats groom themselves as other cat breeds.

Cats are clean animals, and they are ready to spend hours cleaning their coat. However, excessive grooming can come with several challenges. For example, excessive grooming increases the amount of cat saliva deposited in the cat’s environment.

A protein in this saliva is responsible for cat allergies in humans; however, Bengal cats are generally considered to be hypoallergenic.

The truth is that this breed doesn’t shed as much as other cats. Still, you will have to brush your Bengal cat, and you should weekly comb should be enough to remove dead hair and distribute skin oils.

You should talk with your veterinarian about dental care and be informed on periodontal diseases in cats. Trim the nails every couple of weeks. You can use a soft cloth to remove any eye discharge. Also, check the ears weekly.

If they look dirty, wipe them out with a cotton ball or soft damp cloth moistened with a 50-50 mixture of cider vinegar and warm water. Avoid using cotton swabs, which can damage the interior of the ear.

There is no need to bath your cat unless it’s really needed (if the cat falls into mud or similar), animals have different skin than humans do, so they don’t need as much bathing as humans do.

Keep track of the vaccine schedule and have regular veterinarian check-ups. Last but not least – keep the litter box spotlessly clean. Cats are susceptible to bathroom hygiene, and a dirty box may cause them to start using other places instead.

It’s a good idea to keep a Bengal cat as an indoor cat only, to protect him from other animals and prevent any accident, such as being hit by a car. If possible, build your Bengal, a large outdoor enclosure where he can jump and climb safely.

Bengals who run outdoor freely are also at high risk of being stolen by someone.

Bengal Cats Health

As a general rule, both mixed-breed cats and pedigreed cats may have several problems that may be genetic. Overall, Bengal cats are healthy, but the following diseases have been seen in the breed:

  • Distal Neuropathy: this a nervous system disorder that causes weakness in cats. It’s not common to appear in kittens, but it can appear in young Bengals as early as one year of age. Luckily, cats can recover from this condition with the right therapy. This is why it’s important to have regular veterinarian check-ups.
  • Flat-Chested Kitten Syndrome: this is a deformity that can range from mild to severe. This disease attacks kittens, and those who survive it usually don’t show any signs once they reach maturity.
  • Hip Dysplasia: this condition is not only common in cats. It’s often seen in dogs as well, especially bigger breeds such as German Shepherd. Hip dysplasia can cause lameness.
  • Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy: this is a specific type of heart disease. In most cases, it’s heritable.
  • Patellar Luxation: this condition is actually a hereditary discoloration on the kneecap that can range from mild to severe. Severe cases are always treated with surgery.
  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy: a degenerative eye disease.

The Bottom Line

The Bengal cat is an active cat with a sleek and muscular body. This breed is mostly known for its wild appearance, thanks to luxurious spotted or marbled coat.

The Bengal cat is for you if you don’t mind:

  • Owning a talkative cat
  • Spend time playing with your cat
  • Having a sociable and dependable cat

Don’t forget that this breed may need some introduction before living with children.

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