Cat Breeds 101: Bengal

Cat Breeds 101 - Bengal
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The Bengal is a breed of cat that is best recognized for its exotic coat patterns. Bengal cats usually have short coats but they have thick and fine textured fur. Some are decorated with rosettes, while others have spots.

The Bengal cat is named after the scientific name of its ancestor, the Asian Leopard Cat (Prionailurus bengalensis). Jean S. Mill created a crossbreed of the domestic cat and the Asian Leopard Cat in 1963. The combination of these two breeds created a unique cat that is great for those who are experienced with handling active felines.

Studies show that the foundation of this breed is actually the first three generations of litters that were produced by crossing an Asian Leopard to a domestic cat. Since the 1800s, numerous breedings have been conducted to produce domestic cats with the looks of the wild. The primary goal of the experimental breeding was to develop a more docile breed that combines with the exotic look of the wild. However, due to the breed’s sterility, many of those experimental breeding did not emerge successful.

Some claimed that the ancestors of today’s Bengal were the products of the experiment that was conducted by a certain Jean Sugden Mill in 1983. [1] In 1986, the Bengal breed was finally recognized by The International Cat Association (TICA). Five years later, the breed’s championship status was granted by the TICA.

It’s most noted for its wild-cat like appearance. They also have a body structure that is reminiscent of its wild ancestor. They are relatively healthy and they possess a unique quality that makes them immune to feline leukemia. The Bengals have short to medium-length coat. Regardless of the length, their coats are usually plushy soft and silky to touch. Meanwhile, their coat patterns may either be spotted or marbled. The breed’s head is noted to smaller in proportion to its body. Usually of medium length, the hind legs of the Bengals are usually longer than the forelegs. Also, Bengals are very muscular, especially the males. Meanwhile, they have a large pair of oval eyes which are usually independent of the coatis color except for the lynx types. [2]

Bengal cats may come in medium to large sizes. They usually weigh between 6 and 15 pounds, with males relatively larger than their female counterparts.

At home, the Bengals are the type of cats that follow their master wherever the latter choose to stay inside the house. They often try to get involved at whatever their human companions are doing. This breed is also known to be friendly, confident, and curious. Furthermore, they can go along well with other pets at home.

In addition to being inquisitive and active, Bengal cats usually love playing, chasing, fetching, and climbing on the perches. In fact, they are often considered as the “action cats”. They are the type that liked to be present wherever the action is taking place. They can have a habit of launching themselves at you, and may need to be taught not to claw people.

According to TICA, this breed would rather choose a noisy toy that does unusual things than the static ones. [3]

Also known to be affectionate, they sometimes become lap cats, but only when they want to. Some of them are vocal while others are not. Nonetheless, they still make wonderful companions to families or singles.

Given its muscular build, it’s no wonder that Bengals are very athletic. They are also noted for their grace, agility, balance, and strength. Since most of the Bengal cats are shorthaired, low maintenance is required. In fact, they shed less compared to other breeds of felines.

Bengal cats are trainable. However, they are known to be very active and inquisitive which is a trait that can be traced back to their wilder ancestor. They love to climb up in higher places and it takes a lot of patience to own one of them. If you really want to have a Bengal cat of your own, you have to be prepared for some kind of action. This breed is usually recommended for those people who are already used to cats and don’t mind having a pet that is all over the place.

Since these cats are typical “climbers” you have to make sure that all of your shelves and cupboards are cat-proof. Try to build cat shelves on the walls and higher cat-trees so that your pet will be able to utilize its natural tendency to be on top.

As for toys, give them something that will stimulate their natural instincts. Toys like “whack a mouse”, laser pointers, or any toy that encourages activity are the ones that your pets will prefer. They don’t really respond much to static toys.

Bengals are relatively healthy, and you don’t really have to worry about their health as compared with other cat breeds. However, because of the fact that this breed is really popular, there are a few breeders that are a bit careless. Try to look for a reputable breeder so that you will know that your cat is in top shape.



Bengal Cat Video: