Bengal cats are beautiful, exotic pets that have been popular for years. It is not uncommon for owners to pay thousands of dollars in order to adopt one. These felines were developed in the 1960s by breeding a regular domestic cat with an Asian leopard feline.
Their original name was Safari, but within a decade it was changed to Bengal. They are an unusual breed, and do best with owners who have a lot of experience with cats.
The Bengal Cat's Appearance
There really is no doubt about it. Bengals are gorgeous cats. Their coat is very reminiscent of their leopard ancestry. They usually have a brown coat with plenty of darker brown and black spots and stripes. However, some have silver or even light beige or snow colored coats. Patches of white on the face and chest are common.
The cat's back legs are longer than the front ones. This gives the pet more power when running or climbing. The kitty can move very fast if she wants to.
Bengals are short haired cats. As a result there is very little shedding. Anyone who doesn't like to spend a lot of time brushing a cat will appreciate how low maintenance they are in this regard. This breed is generally meticulous with self grooming.
However, a Bengal feline is very time consuming in other ways.
A Bengal Cat's Temperament and Activity Level
As long as a Bengal is separated by no less than four generations from the Asian leopards, she will not display aggressive behavior with people. In fact these felines enjoy human interaction and will get attached to their owners just as almost every other pet does. The cat loves to play and will be happy if you entertain her.
However, the kitty will likely dominate other animals in the house. If you have other pets, the Bengal will let them know that they are the supreme one. They generally get along much better with another Bengal than other domestic cats or dogs. Of course, if you adopt the kitty at a young age she will adapt much better to other animals in a home. The older the pet is, the harder it will be for her to adjust.
The main reason why these felines are not for everyone is because of their activity level. This breed can be hyper active at times. As a result, the Bengal is unsuitable for seniors or anyone who prefers a more sedentary animal.
If you want a kitty that is only moderately active and will love to sit on your lap, you would be much better off getting a Ragamuffin. However, if you like a challenge and don't mind a very busy, curious cat, you will probably enjoy a Bengal.
These cats need a lot of exercise and stimulation. If you don't provide the pet with activity she will find her own amusement. This may include jumping up onto high places, knocking items off a shelf, unravelling rolls of toilet paper and so on. When you come home after leaving the kitty alone for awhile you won't find the house destroyed but will likely have to pick up some items she found and used as toys.
Bengals are very curious and will get into things around the house. Of course, any potential hazards or dangers should be considered so that no harm will come to the kitty.
You could think of owning a Bengal as somewhat similar to having a toddler, except of course the feline can jump to almost any height and can be left alone at times.
The pet probably won't let you sleep in so if you do not want to be awakened early you should always keep the bedroom door closed. Otherwise the kitty will be jumping on your bed very early in the morning.
Bengals are also prone to chewing and scratching furniture. This may occur even if you have a scratching post for the cat.
All this does not mean that owning a Bengal will become a horror story. Many people have adopted these cats through the years and love them. They wouldn't have any other type of kitty. However, it is something every prospective owner should understand. People should know what to expect in a breed before adopting the animal. This is one way to reduce the chances of unwanted pets ending up in shelters or being abandoned.
These cats have very unusual vocalization. The sound is not usually a typical meow. Instead, the feline will make noise similar to a chirping. Sometimes they can be quite vocal and loud. It really depends on the cat.
Caring for a Bengal
They love the outdoors. This isn't surprising considering their relationship to the leopard. This is where they got their wild streak. However, for the animal's own safety, she should not be allowed to roam freely. Many Bengals will be happy on a leash although it may take some time for the pet to get used to it. This is the safest way to allow the animal to roam outside without getting into any danger.
Bengal felines are about the same size as most other domestic cats. Some may grow larger than average but they will not get huge. They rarely have a weight problem due to their activity level.
These cats are usually healthy and seldom have any major issues. However, the one condition they are at risk for is eye problems which can result in blindness. It is not common but can occur. It has been said Bengals are immune to feline leukemia, although this claim is in dispute. Cats can be immunized to prevent this disease. The best thing to do is consult a vet about this or any other possible vaccinations.
So in conclusion, if you like a very active, bright cat, you will love owning a Bengal. You certainly will be aware of her presence around the house and may find her entertaining. Providing the kitty with items like a cat wheel, climbing trees and so on will keep the pet busy and make her less likely to roam the house looking for something to do.