Beguiling and fascinating, Bengals are fabulous felines that cannot fail to grab your attention. Their leopard-like appearance suggests that they would be aloof, independent and aggressive by nature but they are actually friendly souls who relish human company. Bengals are special but they are expensive cats to buy and are easily bored.
Bengal breed history
The stunning Bengal is the result of crossing an Asian leopard (Felis Bengalensis) with a domestic cat. Although examples of such crosses have been seen occasionally since the late 19th century, the breed was established in the 1970s by Jean Mill in California. She was looking to produce a cat that resembled a small leopard and which possessed a friendly nature. After the breed was developed, many cats were crossed with other breeds including the Egyptian mau and Abyssinian to refine their appearance and lend an exotic sheen to their coats. The breed was recognised by the GCCF in 1997 and awarded championship status in 2005.
Bengal blue breed characteristics
It is the stunning spotted or marble coats which ensure that once seen, a Bengal cat is never forgotten. Those amazing coats are soft and luxurious, with some boasting a glittery effect. These distinctive cats are also notable for their elegant, muscular and balanced appearance. Bengals boast alert expressions and carry their tails low, just like their wild ancestors. Males are considerably larger than females with both sexes having heads which are small in relation to their bodies. Their ears are small to medium in size with rounded tips while their large eyes are slightly slanted towards the base of the ears.
Bengals are generally friendly felines with a tendency to form a strong bond with one person. They are intelligent and playful, thrive on human company and love to be kept busy. Unusually, these beautiful cats like water. They possess a strong hunting instinct and enjoy exploring the great outdoors.
- Lifespan: 12-16 years
- Weight: up to 9kg
- Males much larger than females
- Spotted or marbled coats
- Athletic bodies
- Small ears
- Large eyes
- Elegant appearance
- Friendly natures
Health issues with the Bengal
There are no inherited defects associated with the Bengal breed. However, it is believed that they may be prone to a heart condition called hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. Bengal cats also seem to be susceptible to feline infectious peritonitis.
What sort of owners does the Bengal suit?
As Bengals are intelligent cats with oodles of energy, they are best suited to owners who have plenty of time to devote to them. They don’t like being left home alone and boast a very low boredom threshold. These cats like to climb and to sit in elevated positions, a legacy of their wild ancestry. As such, they are happiest in homes where there is room to feature platforms for them climb up to and from where they can survey their domain. They love exploring and will roam far from home, making them ideal for life in the countryside. They can adapt to living only indoors but would need even more human interaction to keep them stimulated and to burn off that impressive energy.
Great with children and happy to live with other animals, Bengals are excellent family pets. However, they will place significant demands on their owners’ time. They tend to be very expensive to buy and costly to insure which could make them less attractive propositions for households on a budget.