Breif History of the Bengal Cat
The Bengal Cat was originally developed from the crossing of the Asian Leopard Cat (ALC) a small, secretive, forest dwelling wild cat to the domestic cat. The breeder's goal was to create a stunningly exotic look in a domestic cat, "tame toy leopard", in hopes of deterring the fur trade. Many small wild felines were hunted for their prized pelts. Click on Wild Cats to see the beauty and inspiration behind the development of the Bengal. To learn more about the origin of the Bengal Cat and its originator, Jean Mill, please visit The International Bengal Cat Society (TIBCS) for some informative articles.
Filial Foundations vs. SBT Bengals
A Bengal Cat that has at least 4 generations of Bengal to Bengal breeding is considered an SBT (stud book tradition) registered Bengal. The first (F1), second (F2) and third (F3) out-crossings are considered foundation cats or filials. After four generations of Bengal breedings (SBT), the breed is recognized for champion competition by most international domestic cat associations and is the Bengal cat as we know it. SBT Bengals usually make better pets, as they have more outgoing purrsonalities. Filial Bengal males are sterile. Filial Bengals can be very exotic pets - one just needs to remember that they are close relatives to the ALC. However, anyone interested in owning a Filial Bengal should do extensive research on their personalities and other traits prior to purchasing one. One should also be sure to check the regulations in your state, county and city governing purchase/ownership of these cats.
Personality and Characteristics
Bengal Cats are very intelligent and active. If you prefer a “couch potato” or a shy cat who disappears when you have guests, the Bengal is probably not the right choice for you. BUT, if you want a cat that is totally devoted, interactive, fun and a valued contributing member of your family, the beautiful Bengal may be for you. A Bengal Cat is athletic, lively, alert to its surroundings, curious, intelligent, friendly, chatty, confident and very entertaining. Bengals have a variety of sounds they use to communicate. They range from meows, to a variety of chirps, peeps, bleats, squeaks, to the growl and hiss. They enjoy chatting with their families and will soon learn one their vocabulary. As kittens they arrive into their new home and simply take over one's life with their purrsonality and antics. They have strong personalities and are adjustable to new experiences and surroundings. This playfulness, energetic and devoted nature makes them wonderful interactive companions for children.
Bengals respond to consistent training much like a good dog. Many are known to play fetch, hide & seek and walk on harness/walking jacket. Often Bengals have no concept of fear. This tendency is apparent shortly after birth. They are extremely courageous and curious. The Bengal assumes that any door, drawer, cabinet, box or anything else that is opened, is for their entrance and exploration. Please do be careful not to allow your Bengal to follow the old adage - curiosity killed the cat. Often Bengals go to the door when the doorbell rings to greet guests and see what's going on.
Historically, some cat registries, have been concerned about aggressive tendencies in any feline with wild ancestry. This concern is unfounded in the Bengal. In the first place, the Asian Leopard Cat is a very shy, reclusive, primarily nocturnal cat. Our modern Bengal doesn't seem to have these personality traits. The Bengal does have some characteristics in common with it's wild ALC ancestors. For instance, the Bengals love water. Often making a beeline to the sound of running water. They love getting a "fresh drink" from the faucet and will do so, as often, as owners oblige. Many enjoy joining their families in baths, showers, or an outdoor wading pool. Let's see most household felines top that. Ever have a persian want to join you in the shower? They stalk their “prey” (usually a fellow pet or a toy) like a wild feline. They will lay on their back grasping a toy between their front paws and mouth. Some cats enjoy "hiding" toys in water bowls.
Bengals are easily socialized to other Bengals, cats, dogs, and kids of all ages. Our dogs interact with our Bengals and kids with ease. We highly recommend a scratching/climbing tree for your Bengal. Bengals love high places, and will find the highest place in your house shortly after their arrival. Providing them with a tall tree will be better for them and for you. Especially if you are a person who does not like your Bengal peering down at you from the top of your refrigerator, tallest bookcase, door facing or etc. That is not to say that when they have a climbing/scratching tree, they will never visit the other high places in your house, but the tree will gradually become their more favorite hangout. We recommend a tall tree for your Bengal. While the kitten is young, the tree should be laid on it's side to prevent injury from falling. Young Bengals get their “climbing up” skills much younger than their “climbing down” skills.
At this point, let us give you fair warning....
Bengals are like potato chips... can't stop at just one. ;-)
back to top
The Bengal cat is a medium to large sized cat which exhibits good strong boning and a very muscular build. They vary in size between the genders. Males adult size ranges from 10 to 16 pounds. Whereas the smaller females range from 7 to 11 pounds at maturity. The Asian Leopard Cat (ALC) is quite small, about six-ten pounds when grown.
LIFE EXPECTANCY: A well cared for Bengal's life expectancy is 10-15 years, although 20+ years are not unheard of.
Your pet Bengal should be neutered prior to reaching sexual maturity, otherwise they will mark their territory. Both the males and the females will spray or mark if they are not altered. We recommend early neutering at 12 weeks of age, as long as kittens are robust. Sometimes they are in such a large litter, that they need to be older before altering. In these cases, we recommend having them "fixed" at 5 months. We find 5 months will sometimes be young enough that they haven't started marking yet. A 5-month old Bengal kitten of either gender will be a healthy, robust cat who will barely notice his or her visit to the vet for altering. Some have been known to breed as early as 4 months of age!
Most Bengal kittens go through what is referred to as the " fuzzies or the uglies ". A beautifully clear kitten at three weeks old may begin to acquire a ticked kitten coat at four to five weeks old. This coat begins to clear again to higher contrast at about 12-16 weeks and is again breathtaking by 6 months. This is inherited from their ALC roots. As most "wild" felines have "fuzzy" coats during kittenhood to help camouflage them from predators. Luckily, they grow out of the "fuzzies" and are beautiful slick adults.
APPEARANCE: A Bengal has a wide nose with prominent whisker pads. Large oval, almost round eyes set in a slightly small head (in proportion to the body) enhance the wild appearance and expressive nocturnal look of a "jungle cat". It has a very slight, nearly straight concave profile, and relatively small ears, which make it unique and distinctive in appearance. They should have a long athletic body with substantial bone and musculature. Back legs should be a little longer than front legs. Tail should be medium in length and thick with rounded tip desired.
Click on Colors & Patterns to learn more about Bengal appearance.
Below you can see cubs displaying "kitten fuzzy coats".
back to top
Fuzzy snow leopard kitten