Bengal cat, all about the cat with a leopard-like appearance
The Bengal cat is also known as the leopard cat or small tiger, they are an exotic breed that was created from the cross between an Asian leopard cat and a domestic cat.
They are currently one of the most popular cats among cat lovers because of the presence that does not go unnoticed. They are characterized by the tabby pattern of their fur and by their peculiar fondness for water.
But they are not only very striking cats, they are also affectionate, playful, sociable, and more.
If you want to know more about these little leopards, in this post we tell you all about them.
Origin of the Bengal cat
Originally this breed was born in the United States as a hybrid of the Asian leopard cat (prionailurus bengalensis), they are the result of crossing the domestic cat with a leopard cat in 1963 thanks to the psychologist and specialist in cat genetics Jean Mill.
The aim was to obtain a cat with a wild appearance but with a docile and loving character, suitable to live in a house.
In 1940 there was already knowledge of the first Bengal cats in Japan, but it is really in the United States during the 60s and 70's when this breed was developed, and it was officially presented as a new breed to the whole world in 1985.
The name “Bengal” cat is derived from the scientific name of the mother Prionailurus bengalensis. In the beginning, it was quite a controversial breed and to some extent still is due to its wild side and crossbreeding with domestic breeds.
However, nowadays the ICA (International Cat Association) still does not recognize it as a breed, that is to say, it does not accept hybrids and only allows 4th generation Bengals to participate in shows (so that the wild genetics remain more diluted and the docile character of the domestic cat is maintained).
It is currently included in the classification of large breeds of cats along with the Maine Coon, the Angora, and the Persian.
Physical characteristics of the Bengal cat
Size: they are about 20 to 30 cm.
Weight: male cats weigh 5 to 8 kg and female cats 3 to 5 kg.
Eyes: their eyes are oval, slightly oblique, and large, greenish-yellow.
Ears: Medium-sized with wide base and well-separated rounded tips.
Coat: Its coat is reminiscent of the leopard, and is characterized by large dark spots called "rosettes".
The most known color of the Bengal is orange and brown, but there are new varieties in silver and light gray tones, called "silver" and "snow".
It also has brindle areas, such as the head, paws, chest, and belly of lighter color.
Body: elongated, robust, and strong, with very harmonious shapes and proportionate size.
Its head is broad, wedge-shaped, rounded contours with a muscular and proportional neck, and a thick tail of medium length with a rounded tip.
Life Expectancy: 9 - 15 years.
The character of the Bengal cat
Is a rather sagas and alert cat, with a curious, intrepid, active, and playful character. It is also very intelligent, in fact, the Bengal's intelligence is above average in the cat world.
It is a cunning and awake cat, with a curious, fearless, active, and playful character, in fact, many of them learn to play with the ball or to bring their favorite toy as a dog would do.
It has a facility for learning tricks and words and loves to "talk" with its owners. They love heights, jumping and being able to observe the whole scene from above.
They have wild blood. That is why they can sometimes have a strong temperament, but they develop a very close bond with their owners and constantly seek attention and cuddles.
It is one of the few cat breeds that love water, it will be common to see them enjoying themselves in the bathtub when it is time for grooming. This is due to their wild ancestors, who were great fishermen and swimmers.
The meow of these cats is very special, it is usually shorter and tighter than other domestic cats and they tend to make strange noises.
Bengal cat care
As mentioned above, Bengal cats between the first and fourth generation are considered wild and are even protected by the legislation of some countries.
For this reason, there are several requirements and cares to be able to have them at home, these are some of them.
- Sufficient space in the house, they will need to go outside safely or to have a protected balcony.
- Basic training, clicker or target training is highly recommended for this breed.
- Physical activities and games with places to climb, play, scratch, and hide is perfect for them to drain their energy and avoid boredom.
- As they have short hair, it is enough to brush them from time to time to keep them healthy, soft and free of dead hairs. Once or twice a week may be enough.
- Regularly check and clean his eyes, teeth, and ears.
They don’t need any special food compared to other cat breeds.
It is only necessary that the food provided is of high quality and rich in protein for your Bengal cat to maintain its physical condition.
It is advisable to offer a diet of concentrated dry food, combined with moist wet food, vitamin supplements if necessary, and plenty of fresh, clean water.
Keep in mind that milk and fish are not good for these cats, because they do not produce an enzyme that is necessary to break down lactose.
Bengal cat health
Generally, Bengal cats are in good health, but they can suffer from some diseases such as eye problems, a genetic disease called progressive retinal atrophy (or PRA), which is an eye disease that degenerates their vision, even causing blindness.
They may also suffer from polycystic kidney disease, a hereditary disease that causes cysts to form in the kidneys, heart problems, anesthetic allergies, and joint problems.
Finally, what a Bengal cat needs most is an environment full of attention and affection. And if you want to have one of these cats at home, always do it responsibly and look for a breeder committed to this specific breed.