Having the visual features and patterns of its wild relatives, the Bengal cat is an impressive domestic cat gifted with numerous wonderful traits.
Here are 17 brilliant facts about the Bengal cats that will leave you running to your nearest cat breeder to purchase one. Don’t trust me? Read on!
After reading these brilliant facts, not only will you admire this wonderful creature more, but you will also know about how to nurture one.
Without further ado…
1. Bengals have wild DNA
Ever wondered from where these cats get their exotic look? Well, here’s your answer:
The Bengal cat is the product of the cross between the Asian Leopard cat and the Domestic Shorthair. Therefore, it enjoys the physical appearance of a wild cat while the personality of a cute domestic cat.
Now, a little history lesson:
People have always been fascinated by the rigor, freedom, and grace of the wild cats.
Therefore, people have tried to keep them as pets; although with little to no success. However, in 1963, Jean S. Mill pioneered the Bengal breeding program in order to meet this ever-growing desire.
2. They love to get wet
The Bengals have broken the general notion that cats hate water.
Unlike other cats, the Bengals love water so much that they would drink water right from the tap. So if you are a big advocate for privacy, keep your bathroom door shut, or else this little leopard will sneak right in while you’re taking a shower.
What’s more, these cats also drink differently. While most cats lap up the water with their tongues, these cats like to dip their paws into the bowl and lick the water off.
The reason for the Bengal’s love for water is that their wild ancestors were great hunters and fishers. These cats are also known to swim in family swimming pools. In fact, you should keep an eye on your Bengal near water bodies so it does not get itself into trouble.
3. They’re smart
If you are looking for a lap cat that won’t need much attention, then the Bengal might not be the right fit for you.
The Bengals are an intelligent cat breed which makes them curious. They love to play with toys, and I am not talking about those stuffed toys typical cats like to play with.
These clever cats need challenging stimuli to keep themselves interested which means you’ll have to provide them with interactive puzzles and toys. However, if you fail to keep them occupied, they’ll find ways to kill boredom which might result in unwanted consequences, viz. broken equipment, scratched drawers, etc.
4. They’re pretty smart
Bengals are known to be among the most intelligent cat breeds. These cats can learn tricks and can amaze you by how fast they’ll learn them. You can teach them to play fetch and impress your friends by showing off your precious cat’s abilities.
Another trick that cat owners have taught their Bengals is how to turn a switch on or off. However, beware of this one or else you’ll find it switching the lights on and off throughout the night, which can be extremely irritating.
5. They’re incredible jumpers
The Bengals will astound you with their incredible jumping and climbing abilities. If you think that your expensive china vase is placed high enough to be out of your Bengal’s reach, then think again. There is virtually nothing that they cannot reach.
If you are thinking of bringing a Bengal cat home, then make sure all of your valuables are kept locked away, or else prepare yourself to get them shattered.
6. Their coats glitter
Although not true for all Bengals, there are some that have what is commonly known as the glitter gene which makes their coat sparkle under the sun. You might not notice this sparkle in a photo so you’ll have to see it to believe it.
Speaking of coats, the Bengals do not only have the spotted leopard-like coat, rather their coats come in a variety of colors and patterns. The Bengal coats are categorized into two classes on the basis of coats:
- A spotted coat
- A marbled coat
These two categories consist of numerous unique patterns of coats. Moreover, their coats come in six different colors categorize in the following two categories according to the International Cat Association (TICA):
- Solid Black
But of course, the Bengal cat coats are not only limited to just these six colors but consist of numerous tones and variations of these six.
Bengals are among those cats that like to interact a lot. These leopard-like cats crave for attention and feel alienated if left alone. As said earlier, these cats are intelligent; therefore, they know when they are being neglected.
If you want your Bengal to develop emotionally and intellectually, you’ll have to give it enough time and attention. Otherwise, it might not develop as much as it would if you had given it due time.
What’s more, these cats not only enjoy interacting with their human owners but also love to spend time with other pets such as other cats or even dogs.
8. They behave like dogs
You’ll have to keep a Bengal to actually experience this trait.
Bengals, similar to dogs, like to follow their owners (even in bathrooms). Unlike other cats that can even resort to scratching when it comes to wearing a leash, the Bengals don’t mind a leash. They even love to go on evening walks. These cats also enjoy the same games as a pet dog would.
Nonetheless, the Bengals are cats and should be treated as such, especially, in terms of their diet.
9. They steal
These little fellows are quite mischievous, especially when they aren’t trained. An example of their mischief is their habit of stealing. If you can’t seem to find your car keys or your TV remote, it is probably hidden inside your Bengal’s litter box.
Moreover, Bengal kittens love to shred or tear things such as pillows, toys, papers, etc. Since childhood, these cats have a tendency to destroy everything and anything reachable.
So, make sure you are keeping all of your valuables far from its reach until it is fully trained.
10. Bengals are quite vocal
11. They’re popular
In the beginning, cat associations were slow to acknowledge the Bengal; however, in 1991, The International Cat Association (TCIA) approved the breed. Since then, the popularity of this breed has only risen.
According to the TICA, in 2010, this breed was the most registered with 6369 registered cats leaving the Ragdolls as runner-ups with 4050 registered cats.
12. They could be wild
Owing to having both wild and domestic ancestors, these cats can either have wild characteristics or can be domestic. If you want to keep them as pets, breeders advise purchasing only those that are the fourth generation or onwards.
Preceding generations have known to showcase behavioral patterns resembling their wild ancestors.Therefore, purchasing a Bengal that is a 4th generation or onwards ensures that it does not have any wild behavioral characteristics.
13. Bengals are attention seekers
The Bengals love attention and would do anything from meowing to scratching at the door to grab your attention. These cats love to interact and play with their owners. These cats are quite active and like to indulge in different activities.
If you don’t want to spend too much time with your cat, then a Bengal might not be a good choice for you. However, if you want some excitement and activity in your life, then having a Bengal would be great. This cat would never let you feel bored.
14. They’re amazing hunters
The Bengals belong to a lineage of great hunters; therefore, they have a knack for hunting.
Bengals are especially known for hunting birds. So, it might not be such a great idea to keep a pet bird if you own a Bengal cat. Because your little hunter will not spare any bird, outdoor or pet, that it sets eyes on.
15. They bite
No, they don’t bite humans (if properly trained).
However, if you don’t give enough time to your Bengal cat, it will feel bored. And Bengals don’t like boredom. So, in order to avoid boredom, they start biting at furniture.
16. They’re friendly
You will never hear about a Bengal cat scratching or biting a human because these cats have an innate likening towards humans. Bengals are quite friendly and will retract their claws while playing with humans.
These cats are known to be especially loyal and affectionate to one person in a family. However, it is up to the Bengal to decide who that lucky person will be.
17. They’re expensive
If you’re thinking of buying a Bengal, then you’ll have to start saving up because the Bengals rank among the most expensive cat breeds and now you know why. These small-sized leopards can cost you anywhere from $500 to $25000.
While purchasing a cat, you’ll come across two main types:
- A pet quality cat
- A show quality cat (these cats fall in the high-end of the price range)
The price of a Bengal, or any other cat for that matter, depends upon several factors, viz. locality of the breeder, reputation of the breeder, pedigree, etc. Furthermore, if you are also purchasing the breeding rights, then you will most probably have to pay a premium.
Adopting a cat from the adoption centers is not only affordable but you also get the satisfaction of providing shelter to a homeless cat. However, when going with adoption, you’ll have to compensate on the trueness of the breed and the age of the cat.
Things you need to know for keeping a Bengal cat
Now that you know 17 amazing facts about Bengal cats, you might be interested in buying one (maybe you’re already done with that part.) In that case, you need to be aware of some basics of keeping a Bengal cat.
Given below is some information on how you can earn the best Bengal cat parent award of the year.
Bengals are wonderful cats that make great pets. If you have a Bengal cat at home, you’ll never have a dull day.
However, these wonderful qualities come at a price. You’ll have to take care of your Bengal’s needs if you want to see it running around your house.
The most important aspect of a cat nurturing is its nutrition. When deciding food for your cat, whether wet or dry, make sure it is approved by your pet. Furthermore, consult your vet on the quantity of the food you’ll need to provide.
Make sure your cat doesn’t get overweight because obesity is a serious issue in many cat breeds including Bengals. Check if your cat has a waistline and that you can feel its individual ribs. If you cannot feel its ribs, that means that your cat is overweight.
To lose your cat’s weight you will have to reduce the food by 10% and check again after a week.
The smooth and glossy coat of your Bengal doesn’t require much grooming; however, if you make a daily habit of brushing your cat’s hair, it will make a habit of making your job more difficult.
A weekly grooming session is enough for your Bengal to clean off the dander and dead hair.
Apart from that, your Bengal needs the basics, namely:
- Weekly or biweekly nail trimming
- Cleaning of Ears (as necessary)
- Cleaning of Eyes (as necessary)
Bengals vs water
You are already aware of the Bengal’s obsession with water and its odd method of drinking it. Normally, you’ll need a dish for your cat to drink water in; however, if you really want to do something special for your beloved Bengal cat, buy it a running water system from your nearby pet store.
If you are buying a running water system, make sure you place it someplace which is water-proof or else you’ll be left with wet carpets as these little mischief-makers love to splash water and can play with it for hours.
Word of advice: Don’t forget to keep your toilet seat cover down; otherwise your Bengal will dip its paws in the water and start splashing it across the bathroom.
Bengals are known to be excellent jumpers and they can jump up to three times their height. Therefore, you’ll need to have a litter box with high edges. Otherwise, your untrained Bengal kitten will jump out and pee along the edges leaving you with a huge mess to clean.
However, Bengals are quite intelligent; therefore, they are comparatively easier to potty train. It would be a good idea to train your Bengal kitten when it is young.
Bengals are healthy cats with a life expectancy of 14 to 16 years. However, the Bengals, like other cats, have certain genetic health issues.
The most common among these is the Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP). Preventive treatment for this ailment does not exist.
When purchasing a cat from a breeder, make sure he/she offers a health guarantee. If a breeder says that his/her cats are free from any health issues or that he/she has kept the kittens away from the main household because of health concerns, then do not buy from him/her.
Obesity is a major issue in almost all cat breeds.
Keeping your cat in an optimum weight range is essential for its health. Nutrition is the only thing that you need to take care of in order to maintain your cat’s weight; you will also have to ensure that your Bengal plays regularly and remains active.
Playtime is an essential aspect of a cat’s mental and physical development. The high intelligence of a Bengal cat demands frequent stimulus so make sure you devote at least 10 to 15 minutes twice, every day.
Make sure you provide enough mentally challenging toys for your Bengal so that it doesn’t get boring. Another, thing to keep in mind is that these cats love to have late night play fights. So, if you don’t want your cat bothering you at a night before your big meeting then make sure it has a playmate.
This playmate does not have to be another Bengal, it can be any cat; even a stray, as long as it is healthy and friendly.
Do Bengal cats have behavioral problems? The Bengals have wild ancestors due to which many people believe that they have behavioral problems and they bite. However, that is far from the truth. Bengals are no more prone to making a mess or scratching than any other cat.
What’s more, these cats are highly intelligent and fast learners so they can be trained according to one’s lifestyle.
However, these cats might not be for everyone. Their active lifestyle and craving for attention demand that the owner be proactive.
Are Bengals indoor cats? There are two different opinions regarding this:
Many argue that the Bengals have a wild ancestry, thus, demand freedom. Therefore, these cats should be allowed to roam outside and enjoy themselves. These cats love to go on walks and keeping them restrained inside is cruelty.
The other side argues that these cats are quite expensive and precious; therefore, letting them outside them means you’re putting them at risk of being stolen. Moreover, these cats love to hunt birds and will harm outdoor birds.
My advice on the matter would be to choose the middle route. Let your Bengal enjoy the outdoor environment under supervision. An excellent way to do this would be to build a cat garden for your cat. Make sure you build a tall fence that it can climb up but cannot escape.