The Bengal: an energetic house tigerDennis Steenbakkers
A Bengal is beautiful, intelligent and active. This breed cat has strong hunting instincts and is particularly temperamental. Do you enjoy spending a lot of time with your cat? Then this cat breed could suit you well!
In this blog:
- The origins of the Bengal
The appearance of a Bengal
The fur of the Bengal
The nature of the Bengal
The care of the Bengal
Diseases and disorders of the Bengal
How old will the Bengal become?
Would you like to buy a Bengal?
Some fun facts about the Bengal
The origins of the Bengal
This breed was first experimented with in America. So around 1963, a breeder thought it would be nice to cross an Asian Plover cat with an ordinary domestic cat. After all, she wanted to develop a breed that had the ‘looks’ of a wild cat and the character of a tame domestic cat. And they succeeded. At least, a few generations on. The first Bengals were anything but tame – these cats were too temperamental and wild to be kept as pets. That came three generations later. In 1983, the Bengal was given breed-experimental status and in 1991, the breed was officially recognised.
The appearance of the Bengal
Bengals are medium to large. Adult females weigh between 3.5 and 4.5 kilos. Males 4.5 to 7 kilos, but there are exceptions – there are Bengals weighing as much as 10 kilos.
The Bengal’s build is muscular and athletic. This allows them to jump enormously high both horizontally and vertically – a piece of legacy from their wild ancestors. Their legs are longer than those of an ordinary domestic cat and their paws are round and large. The head has many round contours, is wedge-shaped and wide. Their ears are small or medium-sized and their eyes are large and oval. And their tail is beautiful – it is short, thick and has a black rounded tip.
The fur of the Bengal
The coat of this beautiful pedigree cat is short and, because of the patterns, can be traced directly back to the Asian Spotted cat they were crossed with. There are Bengals with a spotted pattern: these are single-coloured or multi-coloured spots aligned horizontally on the body. The belly also has that pattern. On the cheeks and neck, you will see clearly defined stripes.
Bengals with a marbled pattern can be recognised by a coat that resembles that of a cypher cat. It is called blotched. This pattern is also horizontally aligned and has three different shades. With both patterns, different colours are possible: Seal Lynx, Seal Mink, Seal Sepia, Silver, Silver Snow Seal Lynx, Brown/black tabby, Silver Snow Seal Mink and Silver Snow Seal Mink.
The character of the Bengal
Bengals are known for their active and restless nature, temperament and energy. So enough exercise space and a safe and protected outdoor enclosure are really necessary if you take a Bengal into your home. Bengals are smart and curious and need to be stimulated to be healthy and happy. Plenty of strong and challenging toys will help with that. A suitable cat tree for a Bengal is definitely needed too – preferably a high and stable scratching post that can take a beating. Because Bengals are strong and like to climb and jump.
If you choose a Bengal, you are choosing a mate for life. They get very attached to their owner. This also means that you need to set aside a lot of time for this breed of cat. They love attention from ‘their people’ and find a fellow cat in the house very cosy.
The care of the Bengal
A Bengal’s coat is short and does not need much grooming – an occasional brushing is enough. And of course, a good cat owner always takes the best care of his pet:
- a safe home
a well-protected outdoor enclosure
love, attention and plenty of time to play
good food and plenty of fresh water every day
always clean litter trays
a nice cat basket and sturdy toys
a scratching post that suits the character of a Bengal
protection against ticks, worms and fleas
regular visits to the vet for check-ups
vaccinations against feline diseases
Diseases and disorders in the Bengal
Due to its size and breeding programme, the Bengal is unfortunately prone to hereditary diseases, as many as eight different types:
Hip dysplasia (HD) with a lot of hip pain
eye disease (PRA) with a chance of blindness
increased risk of bladder stones (Urolithiasis)
Pyruvate kinase deficiency, which is a disturbed energy metabolism of the red blood cells
Feline infectious peritonitis (FIP) (infectious peritonitis)
Neonatal iso-erythrolysis (immune reaction against own red blood cells)
Tritrichomonas foetus (colon inflammation due to parasitic infection)
The last three conditions occur very rarely in the Netherlands and are therefore rare. But for the completeness of this list, we have mentioned them (source: Animal and Law).
How old does a Bengal get?
Bengal cats have the same life expectancy as ordinary domestic cats. They live to be between 12 and 16 years old. Realise this well before you get a cat. A kitten is super cute, but it also gets older and needs care. That will cost you time and money.
Buying a Bengali
Do you like active cats and enjoy spending a lot of time with your cat? Then a Bengal is definitely an asset. But then be prepared to give the cat the attention and care it deserves throughout its life. And keep in mind that care also costs money. Want to buy a Bengal kitten? Never do so from a bread or hobby breeder or from Marktplaats. Always buy a healthy and happy cat from a good cattery or recognised breeder who is a member of a breed association.
Some more fun facts about the Bengal
- Bruce Springsteen, Jerry Seinfield, and Kirsten Stewart have a Bengal
You can easily teach Bengals tricks and train them to walk on a leash
Some Bengals have a special gene and therefore a coat that glitters
Disclaimer: Petrebels does not consist of veterinarians or behavioral experts: all content, information and tips on this blog are intended to inspire and inform you. Does your cat have complaints or problems and do you have doubts about your cat’s health? Then always go to the vet or a behavioral expert.