:Cat Breed Profile
Although the Bengal Cat has inherited the physical characteristics of the Asian leopard cat from which it partly descended, it is nonetheless an easy-going, gentle and sociable cat. Medium to large in height, It’s characterized by an athletic, powerful, agile, and graceful physical constitution.
Devoid of aggression and very curious, the Bengal is also very intelligent. It’s a petrified cat of qualities, able to adapt to a variety of living environments, easy to maintain, and get along with all the members of the family.
History of the breed
The history of Bengal begins in the early 1960s in Yuma, in the State of Arizona (western United States). This is where Jean Mill (1926-2018), geneticist and cat breeder lived and worked. In 1963, she had succeeded in obtaining a hybrid female kitten by crossing an Asian leopard cat ( Prionailurus bengalensis ) and a domestic cat.
Another cross of the same type was made sometime later at the University of California, Davis, and the 8 cats that were born from it were given to Jean. She then crossed them with various other feline breeds, mainly Abyssinian, Burmese, and Egyptian Mau. It was on this basis that the development of the Bengal really began.
The first Bengal cat was registered by The International Cat Association (TICA) in 1983.
- Its body: long, robust, powerful, and elegant. The musculature is well developed and the bone structure strong. The neck is long and well-muscled, the legs of medium length and accentuating the impression of power released by the whole.
- Its hair: short and thick, silky, and soft texture.
- Its color: the sought-after and accepted patterns are “spotted”, rosettes (paw print, arrowhead or ring), and marbled. The speckles and rosettes should contrast well with the background color. The marbled pattern should be arranged horizontally and ideally have 3 colors for the base, the marks, and the outline of the marks. The LOOF standard does not admit vertical bands.
- Its head: triangular in shape, relatively small in size, more similar in appearance to the wild feline than to the domestic cat. The nose is broad and the chin well marked.
- Its eyes: oval, almost round, large, wide apart. The color can be green, gold, blue or light blue (close to topaz)
- Its ears: small or of medium size, wide at their attachment, rounded at their top, pointed forward and without a plume.
- Its tail: short or moderately long, thick at birth, then tapering to the end which is rounded.
Behavior With Others
The Bengal cat is a great companion for the whole family, including children with whom it is gentle and docile. They also get along quite well with their peers and other animals.
Sporty, agile, and curious, It needs to stay active, to express Its hunting instinct, and to explore Its environment. The Bengal is also known for its high intelligence.
With Its master, It’s particularly affectionate. Its attitude is friendly with other people.
The Bengal cat needs room to move freely and stay active. The ideal would therefore be for it to have a secure exterior. It can nevertheless adapt to living in an apartment if Its living environment offers It enough opportunities to express Itself: jumping, climbing, running …
Accessories such as the cat tree, scratching post, and interactive toys, especially those that mimic prey, are essential to help It maintain a balanced behavior.
Curiosity, a hunting instinct, and the urge to explore can cause the Bengal to venture a little too far from home.
Health & Maintenance
The Bengal cat is a generally healthy cat. However, certain diseases can be encountered in this breed, including the following:
- Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM): it gives rise to acute congestive heart failure, manifested by cardiac arrhythmias, pulmonary edema or even pleural effusion.
- Distal neuropathy: disease of the nervous system, affecting the nerves in the limbs.
- Flat Chest Kitten / Pectus Excavatum Syndrome: corresponds to the flattening or hollowing of the bottom of the rib cage in a kitten, and causing breathing difficulties.
- Pyruvate Kinase Deficiency (PK-def): a genetic disease caused by a mutation in the gene encoding Pyruvate Kinase, an enzyme involved in the metabolism of energy production by the degradation of sugars in red blood cells. This results in severe anemia.
- Progressive retinal atrophy
- Hip dysplasia
- Patellar dislocation (of the patella)
Hypoallergenic Breed: Yes
The life expectancy of a Bengal is between 10 and 13 years .
The short coat of the Bengal cat and its minimal shedding make the maintenance of this cat very simple. However, it should not be neglected, as the health of the coat and skin, as well as the well-being of this animal, depend on it. In addition, this cat appreciates water and can therefore take a bath occasionally.
When it comes to the care of the Bengal’s coat and skin, a good brushing done once a week is sufficient. The goal is as much to rid it of any debris (dust, vegetation…) and to prevent external parasites, as to strengthen the master/cat links with these privileged moments.
The Bengal’s eyes and ears are also to be monitored and cleaned regularly. The maintenance of the claws is to be carried out approximately every month.
As Bengals cats are dynamic cats, they need a diet that provides them with sufficient quality protein. Some brands offer croquettes and pâtés specially designed for the breed.
The Bengal must also be able to have fresh, clean, and regularly renewed water.
Is Bengal Cat Right For You?
- The Bengal cat is an athletic cat, which needs room to move.
- Remember It loves to climb and jump all over the place, so watch out for valuable items!
- Better to keep It in a confined space, as the Bengal cat’s hunting instincts will cause It to stray if It’s free.
- Keep your eyes peeled when you open the front door, as Its hunting instincts lead It to be a bit of a runaway.
The ideal master
- The Bengal cat will be very happy in a family with children and other animals, as these will allow It to satisfy Its need to play.
- Since the Bengal cat requires a lot of affection, Its owner must love to cuddle … and be cuddled!