Bengal Cat Description
The Bengal can thank the Asian Leopard Cat (and a dose of domestic shorthair) for its wild look. It also sounds different from most pet cats – it doesn’t meow. Instead it has a raspy bark. This breed is only recommended for experienced cat owners.
- Coat and Grooming: The short-medium coat comes in brown tabby, seal lynx point, seal sepia and tabby/seal mink tabby. Groom the coat once a week.
- Environment: A household where company can be provided all day. Also a property with a secure outdoor area that the Bengal can play in.
- Vocality: The breed can be noisy and they bark rather than purr.
- Activity Level, Trainability, and Play Time Needed with Owners: Highly active cat that can be trained to walk on a leash and perform tricks. Also highly playful and demands attention all day. Compatibility with Children and Other Pets: Because they are so playful, children will enjoy having a Bengal cat. They are generally good with other pets. Health Concerns: Heart disease and cataracts are concerns but this is a generally healthy breed.
History Bengal Cat
Cat fanciers have had an interest in “wild” breeds from the first cat show held in London in 1871 at the Crystal Palace to present day. The earliest mention of hybrid cats crossed with the small, 10 pound (4 kg) Asian Leopard Cat (ALC) was in 1889.
The true development of the breed known as the Bengal today, which derives from the ALC, stemmed from research into feline leukemia conducted by Dr. William Centerwall in the 1960s (To understand the complete evolution of the Bengal breed, which is a long and involved genetic tale, please see Appendix I – Detailed History and Development of the Bengal Breed.)
Today, the fully domesticated cats called Bengals, which are wild in appearance only, are at the very least crosses, meaning they have an ALC great-great-grandparent. In many regions, any Bengal cat and lower is still considered “wild” and subject to a variety of regulations. (For a more complete understanding of filial degree, please see Appendix II – Filial Degree Ex- plained.)
Bengals not only have unique physical characteristics that lend them a “wild” appearance so appealing to fans of the breed, but they also have personalities that are unlike that of any other domestic cat.
(A) Size Bengal Cat
A male Bengal cat will weigh 12-15 pounds (5-6 kg). Females average 8-12 pounds (3-5 kg). In terms of length, most Bengals are 22” or greater (roughly 56 cm).
Bengal cat has a dense, luxurious coat. It is soft to the touch, so much so that stroking one feels as if your fingers are literally melting into the pelt. A Bengal’s fur can be stroked in any direction without resistance. On Bengals with exceptionally plush coats, the fur breaks at the neck.
- Some Bengals have a recessive gene for a coat characteristic called “glitter.”
- When air encircles the hair shafts in the pelts of these animals, it causes iridescent light refraction, which shimmers or glitters in sunlight. The effect is nothing short of spectacular.
- The Bengal cat pattern flows horizontally, mimicking the look of its ALC ancestors. The dominant patterns are marbled swirls and large random spots or rosettes. (Typically, Bengals with marbling still display some rosettes.)
- It’s possible for Bengals to have white on their bellies, and on the back of the ears. The largest variation in coloration, however, lies in intensity. The most vivid contrasts are the most desirable.
- The background color on the breed ranges from yellow to a bright rufous, with a muted charcoal in the middle of the tonal range. Spots range from jet black to brown and reddish tones.
(D) Color Variations
In addition to the traditional colors, the following variations are accepted for the breed:
1.Snow Bengal Cat:
- This coloration, also known as Seal Lynx Points, Seal Minks, or Seal Sepias are white, with contrasting colors in the nutmeg to pewter range.
- In this variation, blue eyes are possible, but the eyes may be green, gold, or copper. The kittens are born completely white and develop their mature coloring and pattern as they age.
2.Silver Bengal Cat:
- These cats are the newest Bengal coloration to be accepted. The base coat is “clear” silver punctuated with pewter or ebony markings in the typical marbled or rosetted style.
- True Silver Bengals will have no “tarnish,” which appears as a yellowing or browning of their coat. It’s important to understand that in many respects, this breed is still being standardized and expanded, with some breeders even working on a long-haired variation.
- The standard of any such variation is whether or not it will breed “true,” meaning that both parents exhibit the trait and are capable of passing it on. It is likely, given the rising popularity of the breed, that more variations will be accepted in years to come.
3.The Brown Bengal Cat
The spotting, rosetting or marbling color can range from black, pale brown to a darker or reddish brown. The conventional brown colored Bengals have green or golden eyes. Now, using a brown Bengal cat, you can find these characteristics:
- Brown to jet black mark
- A blacktip tail
- Red Nose
- Brown, copper, gold, green or hazel eyes
- A white belly is preferred
The brownish Bengal cat (C,C shade genes) is the most popular of the Bengal cat colors plus it was also the first to be recognized by TICA in 1983. All colors of brown are accepted but an orange-brown is favored for floor color.
If you’ve got a brown furry friend, you probably know that brownish comes in a variety of shades like Golden, Cream, Tawny, Honey, Taupe, Tan, Beige, Caramel, Cinnamon.
The ground color can range from a gray-tawny tone into a vibrant orange-gold. As you can see, there is virtually every shade of brownish available for your Bengal breed.
4.The Charcoal Bengal cat
The charcoal trait is inherited independently of color and also will be viewed in each color class: Patches, silvers, snows (lynx charcoal, mink charcoal, sepia charcoal) and even in walnut.
A charcoal Bengal (Apb, a Apb,Apb agouti genes) is darker than the original recognized Bengal colors. The dark smoky charcoal color was particularly found in early production F1 and F2 Bengals.
5.The Blue Bengal cat
As it’s a recessive gene, both parents must continue for blue to be able to make a blue Bengal kitty. Blue Bengal cats have a powder blue/grey coating with some lotion tones. The spotted or marbled pattern is really a dark blue or metal grey color.
The blue color (d,d dilute genes) is extremely rare but some breeders are working hard to try and encourage the gloomy Bengal to championship position. Blue Bengals also have:
- A steely blue shade color
- Peachy undertones
- Blue markings Which Will never turn black
- A dim grey tail trick
- Gold, green or hazel eyes
6.The Black (Melanistic) Bengal cat
Strong black Bengals (a, an agouti gene) have black patterns on a black ground colour that remind us about the melanistic colour form of leopards and Jaguars: the black panther.
Black colored Bengals are infrequent and not as popular amongst breeders because this color variation is not accepted by the associations.
An smoke Bengal is your silver variant of a melanistic. The colours of the background and the routine will be exactly the exact same on a melanistic Bengal.
Their routines are known as”ghost mark” or”ghost spots” because they’re hardly visible. But you are still able to see the pattern in daytime as if you would on a black panther. If you’re looking for a miniature black panther, such a colour of Bengal are your best bet! In terms of the stains, they are sometimes faint dark brown to black and may sometimes just be seen in natural sunlight.
(E) Rosette Styles
Bengals display six styles of rosette:
- embryonic: The spots show signs of a second color present.
- paw print – Each spot encircles another spot or a cluster of spots.
- donut – The rosettes look as if the centers are missing.
- arrowhead – The spots appear to point toward the back of the body.
- rosetted marble – Rosetting is present in the marble swirls.
- rosetted snow – The coat is lighter, with rosetted markings. There is no pattern mixing. A Bengal will exhibit only one type of rosette.
When Bengal kittens first open their eyes, they look black. At 9-10 weeks, they turn light blue. As the cat ages, its black eyeliner comes in, and the mature eye color appears, which will be green, gold, or copper. Only the “snow” variations have blue or aqua eyes. In show cats, the deeper eyes with clear eyeliner are the most desirable. In confor- mation, the eyes should be large and rounded.
Bengals have small, well-rounded ears. They should be set as much on the top as on the sides of the head.
The Bengal Cat Personality
No one should ever adopt a Bengal without an understanding of the unique nature of these cats. They are unlike any other breed, and are endearing, quirky, intelligent, needy, demanding, vocal, loyal, and affectionate.
1.For some people, that bundle is too much with which to contend, and for others it makes for the absolute perfect cat. Bengals have been described as dog like, and oftentimes they do get along better with dogs than with other cats. (If you have a Bengal in the house, he will be the alpha cat no matter what.)
2.Bengals happily play fetch, generally with no training whatsoever, and with a stamina and enthusiasm you will likely find exhausting.
3.In fact, Bengals are incredibly high energy and active. They love to climb — anything and everything — including you. Bengal kittens are known for scampering right up people’s pants legs in their desire to interact. They’ll chase anything and everything, including random flashes of light moving across the floor.
4.Any source of water is considered an object of fascination, which makes a Bengal very easy to bathe, but also a potential pest when it comes to splashing and making messes. They howl when they’re lonely, spanning an impressive vocal range, and they will talk back vociferously.
5.Remember that a Bengal will be your constant, devoted companion, but he’s also apt to be your super- visor. These cats simply cannot imagine that you don’t want their presence and opinion at all times.
6.If you let a Bengal sleep with you at night — and it’s very hard not to — don’t expect to break the habit later on. A Bengal shut out of the bedroom will do just about anything to get back inside, including scratching insistently for as long as it takes to wear your resistance down.
7.Bengals are great with children, and amazingly tolerant, even patiently allowing their tails to be pulled, and keeping their claws retracted. This is an interesting trait in a breed that can get aggressive, but their overall gentle natures seem to make room for a patient response with children.
8.They love to look at themselves in the mirror, and they love to mimic everything and anything you do. This can result in some difficult habits to accommodate, like your cat turning the lights on and off all night long.
9.You will need to be very careful what you teach your Bengal, because they don’t forget, and they’re perfectly capable of taking what they have learned and extrapolating the behavior. What you get in return for this quirkiness, however, is a cat that has a capacity for unparalleled devotion.
10.You cannot leave a Bengal alone. They do suffer from separation anxiety. They’re will retaliate if bored or anxious, shredding furniture or even spraying. But when they are with their humans, the only place they truly want to be, there is simply no more devoted breed of cat. If you want an absolute four-legged friend for life, and you are prepared to offer that level of friendship in return, then a Bengal is the cat for you.
Before Buying a Bengal Cat
There are two crucial steps involved in buying a Bengal.
- Understanding that you are not buying an “ordinary” cat.
- Finding a reputable breeder. (This does NOT mean going to the classified section of the newspaper.)
There are certainly a few things to know before you bring a Bengal into your life, but they come with an important caveat — your Bengals will continue to surprise you through out their lives.
(A) What to Know Before You Adopt a Bengal
Many people who have owned cats before don’t realize that in owning a Bengal they are literally bringing a life force home. These cats are extremely intelligent, highly active, and when they want your attention, uniquely demanding.
(B) Highly Vocal When They Want Something
When a Bengal really wants to be heard, he howls — conversationally, discordantly, across multiple octaves, with an occasional gurgle thrown in for good measure.
Their voices are like no cat you’ve ever heard before. The first time your Bengal really lets loose, you’ll be convinced the neighbors, three doors down can hear every yowl.
(C) Loving and Loyal
- If Bengals can be demanding, they don’t do so without giving something back. They have an almost phenomenal capacity to love their humans, and their loyalty is absolute and complete.
- A Bengal is not the typical “independent” or “aloof” feline. They want time with you. They get very lonely without you. And they usually come when they’re called. If these cats are noisy and opinionated once they show up, it’s only because they simply cannot conceive that you do not want their input and guidance on every facet of your life.
(D) Love Gadgets
Depending on your interpretation, it’s either a charming trait or a potential disaster that Bengals have a love of gadgets. Some Bengals have a strong tendency to become fixated.
Once they learn to flip an electrical switch, there’s no stopping them. Because they’re so smart, Bengals think all technology is just a higher level of cat toy.
This extends to turning on TV sets and changing channels, opening the drawer on the DVD player, and doing absolutely unspeakable things to the computer if you’re foolish enough to leave it on and unattended.
(E) Play in Water
Unlike most cats, Bengals love to play in the water. They’ll get in the shower with you, figure out how to turn on the sink, splash in their bowl, and quite happily fish in the aquarium.
(F) Will Always Be the Dominant Cat
- If you bring a Bengal into a household with other cats, no matter how much larger or older those cats might be, the Bengal cat will always be the dominant cat. They are highly territorial, and predatory.
- If your neighbors have a fish pond, your Bengal cat will not only go for a swim, but he’ll bring a fish home to you as a present. Expect lots of “trophy” birds, presented at your feet with an expectant, upturned look that clearly says, “Look what I did!”
(G) Loyalty of Litter Mates
While this is true of almost any breed of cat, two Bengals that are raised together from kitten hood will have an incredible bond. This level of “bestie” status can go a long way toward alleviating any kind of separation anxiety.
(H) Highly Trainable
Due to the exotic looks, their predatory ways, and their extensive climbing skills, it’s really best to keep your Bengal indoors for its safety.
- The great thing about this breed is that they are highly trainable, and an easily be taught to walk well on a leash.
- Since they’re also highly people oriented, walk time quickly becomes the highlight of your Bengal’s day. Throw in a dangling toy on a wand for some acrobatic, predatory, leaping and tumbling out in the yard, and you’re going to have one happy cat on your hands. This propensity to be trained is almost limitless.
- Some owners have even successfully taught their Bengals to use the toilet. It’s just a matter of time and patience — and not a lot is required of either one, because theses cats catch on fast and have a great time with the whole learning process because they’re doing it with you.
(I) Age at Adoption
Good breeders don’t let kittens leave the cattery before they are at least 13 weeks of age. Earlier than that, the cat will likely exhibit behavioral problems like wool sucking (nursing inanimate objects like blankets or even their human’s ear lobe).
- Additionally, kittens should be eating solid food and they should be litter box trained.
- Bengal kittens that have not been weaned may be difficult to feed, refusing anything but kitten formula.
- If this happens with an older kitten, use a little smoked salmon or even cheap sardines to entice the kitten’s appetite.
- This is also a good trick when an adult cat is sick and won’t eat. Cats won’t eat what they can’t smell, so when a cat isn’t eating, go for some- thing stinky.
How to Tell if a Bengal Kittens are Healthy
Bengal Kittens should have good muscle tone, with clean coats. At about six weeks of age, Bengal kittens develop the “fuzzies,” a kind of dull camouflage coat that protects them from predators as they grow.
- By the time you are meeting the kittens, they should be at least 3 months old, and the fuzzies should be lessening.
- At eight months, the protective baby fur will be gone altogether, and the rosette pattern will be fully visible. The fur should be very soft and silky, with no thin spots. Gently blow on the fur to part the hairs. There should be no dry or flaky skin present.
- The bengal kitten’s eyes should be brightly alert, with no discharge.
- The nose should also be clear of discharge, and there should be no sniffling or sneezing.
- Look for clean, pink ears with no sign of internal debris.
- Look behind the ears of bengal kittens, on the back just above or in front of the tail, and at the base of the tail for black specks of “flea dirt.” If parasites are present, they are most detectable in these areas.
Pros and Cons of Owning a Bengal
The most commonly cited pros and cons of this breed are:
1.Bengal Cat Pros
- The breed thrives on human companionship and is highly interactive and interested in its humans.
- Respond well to behavior modification from owners who understand their quirks.
- Seem to get along well with dogs as well as children that treat them with kindness.
- Extremely loyal and loving with their humans.
- Are known for their strong, engaging personalities and sense of humor.
- Can be a good fit for an owner that can fully appreciate a cat with “dog-like” behavior traits like fetching, leash-walking, and dependency on its owner.
2.Bengal Cat Cons
- When bored and lonely, Bengals can become both aggressive and destructive.
- Can be very loud vocally, and howl when lonely.
- Some can respond in an aggressive way when disciplined.
- Often create problems with spraying.
- Get carried away with climbing and exploring.
- Are predatory around birds, fowl, small rodents, and fish. One thing is quite clear. Although Bengals are domestic cats, they are not like any other domestic cat you will have ever raised. Be sure you know exactly what you’re getting into before you welcome a Bengal into your life — for you sake, and for the cat’s.
Bengal Daily Care
It might be more accurate to say that you need to prepare to be taken care of by a Bengal cat rather than the other way around. Although they need a lot of care and attention from you, their basic needs are not all that different from any other cat breed.
(A) Have all the Necessary Supplies on Hand
When you’re bringing a Bengal kitten home, be sure to talk to your breeder and find out the things to which the kitten has become accustomed:
- Use the same type of litter box with the same type of litter.
- Get the same kind of food and water bowls.
- Buy the food (wet and dry) currently being eaten. Also ask the breeder for a recommendation about age-appropriate wet and dry foods moving forward.
(B) Bengal Cat and Litter Box Issues
It is not true that Bengals, as a breed, have more problems with inappropriate litter box use than any other kind of cat. Any shelter will tell you that the number one reason cited for a cat being given up is “going” outside the box.
In the vast majority of cases, the issue lies more with the human than the cat, however, the first thing you must do if a cat goes “off” its box is to have the cat examined for a urinary tract infection. In the cat’s mind if it hurts to go “in there,” the logical thing is to get outside of that painful place.
A change of environment like moving to a new home or traveling in a vehicle may also trigger accidents due to stress, but this is usually temporary.
However, since cats are highly territorial — and Bengals more so — once a cat does start to go outside the box, it’s hard to get them back on track. They will go where they think they are supposed to go, and that’s usually the place they’ve “marked.”
You want the cat to clearly identify the box as “the” place to go. To that end, do your job and scoop the box every day! Cats are fastidiously clean animals and they do not like a nasty box. If you wouldn’t use it, they probably don’t like it either.
Also, cats have definite preferences about type of box and texture of litter. Some cats don’t like to be watched, and far prefer a covered box. Others prefer sand over gravel, and will completely reject any of the environmentally friendly compressed pellet litters made of various plant fibers or even newspaper.
Don’t switch things up on the cat. If your cat has always used the box faithfully, and you change the type of box, from covered to pan, and suddenly the cat is “missing,” it doesn’t take a lot to figure out why. The cat doesn’t like the box.
Be consistent, both in terms of maintenance and product use, and your Bengal should be just as good about the litter box as any other type of cat.
(C) Bengal and Water Bowls
- You can pretty well resign yourself to your Bengal playing in its water. This is especially true if you’re using a recirculating water bowl, which is accepted as one of the best ways to get cat to drink more water.
- The choice is up to you, but on a whole, Bengals are good drinkers, and the real issue will be mopping up the mess when he happily splashes in his bowl.
(D) Get a Serious Scratching Post
- Bengals are not cats that just lay around and stare out the window. This is an active and vigorous breed. When they scratch, they scratch.
- Providing a Bengal kitten with a serious scratching post early in life is the best way to get them not to tear up your furniture, weatherstripping and rugs.
- Prices on scratching equipment varies widely. It’s possible to get an absolute indoor playground, which is a good idea for a cat as active as a Bengal.
(E) Food and Water
Provide Balanced Food
Bengals are domestic cats, and they should be fed as domestic cats, however, you always want to find a high-quality food that meets all their needs, in particular their protein requirement, which biologically is quite high.
- No cat can survive on a vegetarian diet. These animals need 50 percent more protein per pound of body weight than dogs and humans.
- Additionally, they require fats, but not carbohydrates, which is why so many retail grade cat foods really aren’t all that good for your pet. Look at the label. They’re packed with plant-based carbohydrates that fill the cat up, but don’t give it the nutrition it needs.
- Basically, the less you pay for cat food, the more likely it is to be overly dense in plant-based fillers.
Because Bengals are often described as having “dog like” characteristics, some owners mistakenly think they can be fed dog food. This is not the case. Dog food does not have enough fat and protein for a cat, nor does it contain an amino acid that is key to feline health — taurine.
Provide Fresh Water
- Give your Bengal fresh, clean water at all times. Water is essential for all the animal’s physical processes, and, while many cats are not big water drinkers, this is hardly an issue with a Bengal.
- In fact, you can’t keep them out of the water! With a Bengal in the house, the floor space around his bowl will be the cleanest in the house because you’ll be constantly mopping up after his splashing!
- If you really want to give a Bengal a treat, get him a water dish with a circulating fountain for about $30 US(£19.70 UK / $30.57 CAD).He’ll not only drink out of it, he’ll think it’s the best cat toy EVER!
- Bengal cats are not high-maintenance cats due to their tight, short pelt, which lies close to the skin.
- Their fur is dense and semi-waterproof, which explains in part the breed’s great love for playing in the water — it simply rolls off their backs.
- Bathing a Bengal is no trick at all since many will just walk right in the shower with you. Some individuals like water more than others, but all Bengals play in water to some ex- tent, as evidence by the splashed mess they so often leave around their water bowls.
- The truly important chore with a Bengal is to keep their claws well-trimmed. They are vigorous scratchers, and need their own scratching “post” — bigger is better with a Bengal. Declawing is so universally decried as inhumane that it is even outlawed in some regions.
- If you get your Bengal accustomed to having its claws clipped, this should not be an issue. Be prepared, however to keep up with the chore on a weekly basis, or see the shredded results around the house.
Bengal Health care
Overall, Bengals are extremely healthy cats. Like all domestic cats, however, they need to start their lives with the correct veterinarian care.
Preventive care on your part, and regular checkups will ensure that you have your devoted companion for the full span of its life.
(Note that it is a mistaken notion that it is difficult to get a vet to treat a Bengal because the cat is in any way “wild” or “unusual” in its physiology. Bengals are fully domesticated cats and can be treated by any competent small animal veterinarian.
Spaying and Neutering
Consult with both the breeder and your veterinarian on the timing of these procedures, which are normally required for pet quality Bengal adoptions. It is standard procedure for bengal kittens to be spayed or neutered at roughly eight months of age.
- Do not be surprised if the terms of your adoption contract require you to present proof that you have honored this clause of the agreement.
- Regardless, these procedures should be performed on either a male or female Bengal kitten before they reach six months of age.
- Vet clinics charge across a fairly broad range for their services. It is possible to have a kitten spayed or neutered for around $50 US (£32.82 UK / $51.08 CAD).
The truly important thing, however, is that you choose a good veterinarian who works in safe conditions. Discuss all possible complications, including the use of anesthesia before agreeing to go forward with the procedure. Bengals are highly sensitive to anesthesia and can suffer from allergic reactions that result in coronary arrest. Also, stop and consider that having your Bengal spayed or neutered might be the point at which you establish a long-term relationship with a vet.
Rather than thinking about saving money, this might be when you want to consider choosing a vet who will care for your cat throughout his life. Taking the time to interview prospective vets, and perhaps spending a little more in the beginning, might offer much larger returns in the long run for both you and your cat.
- To some extent, in both cats and humans, vaccinations have become a point of controversy. Certainly the use of vaccinations in companion animals has reduced the spread of infectious disease.
- As mentioned earlier, this is particularly true in cats, where many such diseases are spread just a nose “tap.” It is true that there have been cases of tumors in cats developing at the site the shots were administered. This is something you can discuss with both your breeder and with the vet before arriving at a decision.
the typical regimen of vaccinations and the intervals at which they are given follow this course:
- At six weeks, the distemper combo*, with a second shot every 3-4 weeks until 16 months of age. After a booster at one year, the vaccine is re-administered on a three year schedule.
- At eight weeks, feline leukemia with a repeat inoculation in 3-4 weeks, thereafter fol- lowed by an annual booster.
- Rabies, administered according to local regulations and repeated annually as per the applicable law. * This vaccine combines antibodies for panleukopenia (FPV or feline infectious enteri- tis), rhinotracheitis (FVR is an upper respiratory or pulmonary infection), and calicivirus (causes respiratory infections). It may also include protection from Chlamydophilia (causes conjunctivitis). Expect to pay a minimum price of $40 US (£26.26 UK / $40.86 CAD) per individual shot. (Again, prices vary widely by veterinarian practice.)
In recent years, veterinarians, working with owners, have furthered the cause of preven- tive health care in all companion animals by a simple process of education. Knowing how to monitor your cat’s behavior for signs of illness will not only keep your beloved pet happy and well, but it will reduce the potential costs of reactive veterinary visits.
Read More About:
- How to introduce a new cat
- Everything about the abyssinian cat
- Introducing cats tips – How to socialize a cat
- How to bathe a dog at home
- Introducing kitten to cat
- Choosing the right cat
- The most popular cat breeds
- When and why to spay or neuter cat
- Introducing a new cat – Tips for socializing kittens or cats
- How to take care of kittens 4 weeks old
- How to take care of kittens
- how to take care of a cat for the first time