THE BENGAL CAT

Thanks to its name, many people believe that this cat breed originates from the Bengal region in southeast Asia. On the contrary, Bengals actually appeared first in the United States, but were named such due to their resemblance to the exotic Asian leopard cat.

Brief History

The Bengal shares a common ancestry with the Asian leopard cat and various wild cats such as Margays, clouded leopards and ocelots. After many generations of selective breeding between the Asian leopard cats and domestic cat breeds, Bengals were born. This authentic breed has no wild instinct and tends to be very domesticated, confident and friendly. The Bengal’s coat comes in light brown to orange color, snow Bengals also exist and their coats are often off-white or pale.

Physical Features

Bengals are a very muscular, yet medium-sized cat. Their coats have a glitter gene that allows rays from direct sunlight to give it a shimmering effect on its stripes and spots. Though fully domesticated, these cats have a wild appearance that resembles other small wild animals within the cat family. Their heads are more rounded than wedged with a small nose that sits well above its full muzzle and pronounced whisker pad. Bengal cats also have hind quarters that allow them to stand slightly higher than other cats. Notably, a Bengal tends to place its thick tail at low angles.

Average Height:

16 inches

Average Weight:

10-22 pounds

Life Expectancy:

9-15 years

Temperament

Bengals are highly intelligent and highly active cats. They are fun to live with as they are fast companions, but also provide lots of energy and inquisitiveness to day-to-day adventures. Socially, Bengals are very friendly and talkative — which they do with confidence. They are also friendly to kids, strangers and other pets. Bengals are always extremely alert and they tend to notice anything that crosses their paths.

Special Needs

Although they love the outdoors, Bengals are fairly satisfied as mainly indoor cats. If you want your Bengal to explore the outdoors, ensure that it is always in plain view as they are prone to straying from their play areas to explore. Attacks from aggressive pets such as dogs can also frighten a Bengal and lower its self-esteem, making it reserved and afraid to socialize.

Possible Health Concerns

Bengals are a generally healthy breed, however they may suffer from a host of genetic diseases and conditions such as:

  • Distal neuropathy
  • Flat-chested kitten syndrome
  • Hip dysplasia
  • Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy
  • Patellar luxation
  • Progressive retinal atrophy

Exercise

Being highly active and social cats, Bengals are one breed that does not thrive on lazy days. Even when the entire family is seated watching TV, a Bengal will most likely be busy strolling from one room to another or doing something that needs less sitting and more movement. They play easy with kids, fellow cats and other friendly animal pets.

Nutrition

Bengals love to eat raw unprocessed fresh meat. Cut it into small fine chunks and serve it in a clean feeding bowl. Bengals also do well with other high quality cat food that is home prepared or commercially manufactured with the supervision of a veterinarian. Ensure that a Bengal’s diet consists of 50%-60% protein preferably red or white meat and the rest of the percentages can be spread across supplementary foods such as fiber and vitamins. Clean, fresh water should also be available at all times.

Grooming

Bengals have a short and thick coat that is extra soft when stroked. Maintaining this coat is an require minimal effort, namely brushing once a week a stainless steel comb to remove dead hair. Although Bengals love drenching themselves in water, regular baths are really not necessary unless called for.

If you’ve ever wanted a small version of a wild cat, but with a friendly nature, the Bengal cat is for you. These cats also do well in up beat families and social groupings and are sure to brighten your every day with lots of laughs, play and adventure.

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