Hybrids of domestic and wild cats are a very small group on the felinological map of the world. Under natural conditions, Bengal cats live in territories from the Far East to Southeast Asia and rarely reach 5 years of age.
Their domesticated relatives have a life expectancy of up to 12-15 years. Bengalis are distinguished by very beautiful “leopard” hair and are included in the TOP-10 most expensive cats.
How long do Bengal cats live at home
The ancestors of modern Bengals were wild Asian cats. Over the years, poachers have killed these animals for their valuable spotted skins, and kittens were sold for pennies in spontaneous markets to European and American tourists, thus the Bengal cat was introduced to the United States and Europe.
In their natural environment, Bengals feed on fish and small rodents. People are treated with suspicion, but they do not express aggression. At home, wild cats did not change their habits. They did not walk on their hands, were wary, and did not agree to close contact, and at night they chose a secluded place for themselves.
At the end of the 70s, felinologists began to breed a new breed. It had to keep the unique “wild” coloring, add loyalty to the owner, and the ability to live with people in the character. The main partners of Asian cats were Egyptian Mau and short-haired Burmese – these animals were better than others in terms of phenotype and disposition.
The first few generations of hybrids could not give stable offspring – males in 80% of matings remained sterile, and kittens did not always inherit the parental color and short hair. However, breeders have been able to overcome these disadvantages.
In 1991, at the TICA show ring, a new breed of cats was demonstrated for the first time – in leopard spots on a short shiny coat and with the manners of ordinary pets.
It is interesting! The life span of the first hybrids of Bengal cats barely reached 10 years. But later the breed acquired stability, the group of breeding animals expanded, and the term increased to 12-15 years.
Factors affecting the health of the Bengal cat
For a hybrid breed, it is extremely important to follow certain rules that are dictated by the genetic nature of cats.
- Bengal cats are characterized by early puberty – all signs are formed by 8 months. By this time, the process of socialization and education should be completed. In the future, the habits developed in the initial period of life are difficult to correct – the animal will be nervous and this will certainly affect the number of years lived.
- It is necessary to create conditions for active games at home. A Bengal cat living in an apartment is not able to develop harmoniously if it is deprived of the opportunity to throw out energy.
- Long walks have a positive effect on animal health.
- Bengal cats are very mobile and play like little kittens until the end of their years. Punishing them for broken vases or other pranks is a serious stress.
Sometimes Bengals are transferred to open-air cages. This decision does not contribute to an increase in life expectancy. Cats quickly lose communication skills, stop communicating with people, and die much earlier than their “indoor” cousins.
Important! Bengal cats love to be around other animals. They especially like small dogs, with which hybrids easily make friends.
How to extend the life of a Bengal Cat at home
There are no separate guidelines for keeping or feeding Bengal cats. They fit well into the general framework of the rules that were developed for pets.
Regular and timely prevention of diseases
A hybrid of wild Bengal and domestic cats does not have a predisposition to hereditary diseases. However, the first visit to the veterinarian should not be postponed.
- Bengal kittens must be vaccinated annually. Twice a year, they carry out treatment for external and internal parasites. It is noticed that if the owner of the cat ignores these procedures, then she often does not live to old age.
- Bengals also inherited from domestic animals a traditional feline disease – cardiomyopathy. It has become one of the biggest veterinary problems. Thickening of the walls of the heart muscle prevents proper blood pumping. Such a diagnosis is life-threatening for a Bengal cat. Therefore, you need to regularly visit your veterinarian for preventive examinations.
- Pyruvate kinase deficiency (affects the survival of red blood cells) is a hereditary genetic disease characteristic of Bengals. Prevention should be carried out at the stage of pairing. Breeders should not be allowed to mate two animals with this diagnosis.
- Retinal atrophy is another genetic disease, the prevention of which is carried out before the formation of a parental couple.
It is interesting! Unlike other pets, Bengal cats rarely suffer from kidney disease.
The diet of Bengal cats should be high in protein. Large mobile animals (males gain weight up to 18 pounds, and castrated even more) require adequate nutrition.
- about 90% of the menu is meat, fish, and offal;
- milk or low-fat cottage cheese;
- polyunsaturated acids and vitamin and mineral supplements.
During periods of the greatest physical activity of the animal, as well as for pregnant and lactating cats, it is recommended to increase the food intake.
It is interesting! The Bengal cat is the only domestic cat that has rosette marks typical for wild animals. The “leopard” color in nature helps the predator to camouflage itself, and for the Bengal it has become a recognizable breed trait.
Hygiene and care of the Bengal cat
Short-haired Bengals do not need regular brushing. It is enough to walk several times a week with a special mitten for hair removal on a spotted fur coat – and this is the end of it. During the period of active shedding, even short hair requires daily care.
Discharge from the eyes and nose is not peculiar to Bengals. They appear only at the time of illness and disappear after recovery.
Cleaning the auricle of this breed is a simple procedure. The ear is large, without dense inner growth, with an open ear canal. The upper part is treated with a cotton swab or stick, and drops or special lotions are used to remove sulfur deposits. The liquid easily penetrates inside and neutralizes the sludge plug.
The Bengal cat needs access to water. In nature, these animals have a desire to swim and fish, so swimming in a pond or in a bathroom will please your pet.
Education and physical activity at home
The lifespan of a Bengal cat depends on its physical condition. Even fully domesticated hybrids in the F5 + generation retain their natural craving for an active lifestyle, the desire to move a lot and take long walks.
The big spotted cat very quickly gets used to the leash and harness. It always walks with pleasure with the owner.
The process of raising a Bengal should begin from the first day a kitten appears in the house. Hybrids reach puberty early and are ready to have offspring. The organism has become accustomed to such a routine by an unfriendly natural environment – the cat must continue the race before it is overtaken by death from the attacks of numerous enemies or hunger.
A side effect of this is the same rapid psychological maturation. The habits that were formed in a cat by 8-9 months of age remain forever. It is almost impossible to get rid of them.
Important! The Bengal breed belongs to a small group of animals with a high level of learning. They quickly get used to basic requirements (tray or scratching post), are able to memorize simple commands for a long time and willingly demonstrate them in life.
No matter how many Bengal cats live at home, they still remain the descendants of very independent and wayward forest hunters. This is especially pronounced in animals with a large percentage of wild blood (F1-F4).
It is impossible to force them to do something if the cat does not want to. Any action must be to the animal’s liking, otherwise, it causes a negative reaction. Although aggression is unusual for Bengals, they use their teeth and claws without hesitation.
Stress in a cat can be caused by:
- Physical factors – trauma, pain.
- Smells, internal effects of various drugs, even the wrong set of vitamin and mineral supplements to food.
- Psychological issues – for example, loud noises can seriously scare a cat, their regular presence sometimes ends up in full-fledged depression.
If the source of irritation cannot be completely excluded, then the animal must be accustomed to it. There are cases when Bengals did not even pay attention to the sounds of close shots, although cats instinctively do not tolerate this noise.
Sterilization and castration
Two veterinary procedures that can affect a cat’s lifespan are neutering and neutering.
- Castration involves the removal of internal organs (uterus and ovaries in females, testes in males). After such an operation, the sexual instinct and the ability to reproduce completely disappear. Castration is accompanied by two side effects: a tendency to overeat and an increase in life expectancy by 3-5 years.
- Sterilization does not imply such a radical surgical intervention. During the procedure, the spermatic cords in cats and the fallopian tubes in cats are tied. In the future, these animals still strive for mating games, but kittens are not born to them.
If you do not intend to use Bengal cats for breeding, then a neutering operation will be the best solution to prevent accidental mating.
Interesting! Leopard cats sometimes have long-haired kittens. At first they were mercilessly discarded, but later enthusiasts began to develop a new breed, which they called the Bengal cashmere.
The famous long-livers of the Bengal breed
Bengal domestic cats are a very young population. In TICA, the Bengals received champion status in 1992, the FIFe entered them on the roster 8 years later, and the CFA recognized them only in 2016. The hybrids have not yet acquired their “honorable retirees”, although one of the neutered cats in the United States has already passed the 20-year milestone.
But the exotic appearance of spotted Bengal cats fell in love with many modern stars of politics, sports, and show business. Celebrities are happy to show animals with leopard hair and spare no expense for their maintenance.
Model Naomi Campbell, actress, and director Sofia Coppola, singer and designer Victoria Beckham, English writer and aristocrat Lord Jeffrey Archer, and many other famous names posed with the Bengals.
Bengal cats are now most common in the United States. Here their pedigree line began, the most rapid development of the population takes place, and from here come messages about how and how long they live at home or in free enclosure.
The only obstacle to the massive distribution of a beautiful, unique cat is its cost. So far, Bengals are consistently leading in the TOP list of the most expensive breeds.