Snow Bengal cats are athletic, agile, and graceful. They are curious creatures with the beautiful features of an Asian Leopard cat. If you want an exotic cat, snow Bengal is perfect for you. They have a gleaming, spotted pelt and resemble a miniature snow leopard.
This guide reveals everything you need to know about snow Bengals. Let’s get started!
History and Origin
Bengal cats are a domestic cat breed. They are a genetic hybrid of the Asian Leopard cat and the common house cat. The Bengals come in various colors and patterns. White Bengals are known as ‘Snow’ Bengals.
The International Cat Association (TICA) first acknowledged Bengals as a breed in 1983. Bengals gained championship status in 1991, which allowed pet owners to show Bengals professionally. They quickly gained popularity with breeders worldwide.
The origin of snow Bengals dates back to the 1980s and 1990s. Gene Jhonson and Bob Dundon introduced the snow Bengal through selective breeding. They wanted to increase their gene pool and created a snow Bengal. Like a snow Leopard, the snow Bengal has a light brown or white pattern.
Snow Bengals are the result of breeding regular Bengals with Siamese cats. The albino gene in the Siamese gene pool gives snow Bengals their exotic coloring. The snow gene is quite rare, so the first snow Bengal breeders had to carefully expand the gene pool over the years.
It took some time to create the snow Bengal we know and love today – the first few generations of the breed were wild and impossible for a non-professional to handle. Snow Bengals became ready for household ownership after a few generations of selective breeding.
Physical Characteristics of Snow Bengals
Snow Bengals are an incredibly rare and endangered breed of wild cat. If you can’t own a fascinating snow Leopard, you can at least get a snow Bengal.
Many Bengals carry the snow gene, but it is recessive and very rare. These cats have gorgeous coats and markings.
Snow Bengal Coats
Snow Bengals can display various colors and patterns. Their shades range between soft amber and white. You can classify all Bengals as either rosetted or spotted. Here are the three main categories of snow Bengal coats:
Snow Seal Lynx
Snow seal lynx Bengals have the lightest shade of all snow Bengals. They have a pale cream or ivory coat with beautiful blue eyes. They get this physical trait from their Siamese ancestors. The seal lynx coat is pure white at birth and develops markings with age.
Snow Seal Mink
The snow mink Bengals have a darker pattern than seal lynx. They have a warm, creamy tan color and aquamarine eyes. These snow Bengal cats are unusual and carry a combination of seal lynx and seal sepia genes. Snow seal mink Bengals are expensive and difficult to find.
Snow Seal Sepia
They are also known as “brown snow Bengals” because they have the highest contrast in their coats. These Bengals appear as if they have a light filter on their coats (think of a sepia effect on a picture). Unlike other Bengal variations, they can have green or gold eyes.
Snow Bengal Markings
Snow Bengals have lighter markings than other Bengals, giving them softer contrast against their base coats. However, their markings have the same shapes and patterns as other Bengals. These include rosettes (spotted) and marbled markings.
Rosettes are exclusive to Bengals, which is part of the appeal of these gorgeous cats. You can find rosettes in different shapes and patterns, including paw-print, donut, arrowhead, clouded, and cluster.
Some snow Bengals are born with no rosettes at all. These Bengals start to show their pale, creamy rosettes as they grow older.
Arrowhead Rosettes: Arrowheads are the easiest rosette type to identify. They have a triangular shape and are sought-after by Bengal cat breeders and owners.
O Donut Rosettes: O Donut rosettes feature a dark outline around a pale center. It took years to achieve doughnut-shaped rosettes by selective-breeding. They are one of the most popular rosette types in snow Bengals.
Paw-print Rosettes: Paw-print rosettes are shaded spots with smaller and darker spots on the edges. A paw-print rosette is open on one side and enclosed by a darker color on the other side. They look like tiny paw-prints on a cat’s coat.
Clouded Rosettes: Clouded rosettes are large spots that fit together like a puzzle.
Inspired by the clouded Leopard’s coat, this spotting has a snake-like appearance.
Marbled Bengals are another striking variety of these gorgeous cats. Marbled cats have symmetrical swirls on their back and sides. Breeders prefer leopard-like spots, so marbling is rarer than spotting in snow Bengals.
All Bengals have similar markings on their coat patterns. Most snow Bengals have tummy spots, striped legs, and a striped tail with a darker tip. They also have darker markings on their faces.
Owning a Snow Bengal
Bengals are an energetic breed that requires considerable care and attention. They are very athletic and love playtime with their humans. Sometimes they will wake you up in the middle of the night. If you’re adopting a snow Bengal, you are in for a big surprise! Knowing the personality, temperament, and traits of snow Bengals can help you with the adoption process.
Here are few characteristics of snow Bengals:
|Life Span||Snow Bengals can live up to 15 years of age.|
|Weight||Snow Bengals can weigh from 6 to 15 pounds.|
|Size||Male snow Bengals are larger and heavier than females.|
They Are Very Athletic
Snow Bengals love climbing up on strangers. They are athletic, agile, and graceful creatures. Bengals have high energy and require ample space to play. You need to have tons of interactive toys to keep Bengals active and busy. They can become anxious and destructive without healthy stimulation.
They Are Playful
The snow Bengals have a playful personality, so keep your cat entertained. They enjoy playing a good game of fetch. They also love challenges and learning new tricks. You can challenge their intelligence by giving them a good puzzle toy. Reward them with treats when they learn a new trick or master a puzzle game. Snow Bengals also love the attention they get from clicker training.
They Love Water Play
The snow Bengal cat loves water play. They will jump into the tub or shower with you, or swim alongside kids in the swimming pool. A snow Bengal loves a running faucet. They love dipping their paw into the water when drinking from the water bowl. They also enjoy a nice pet drinking fountain and splashing water everywhere. Be wary of having a fishbowl or an aquarium with a snow Bengal cat.
They Are Friendly
The snow Bengal cat personality is very friendly. They can be an affectionate breed if raised properly. They are not lap cats, but they enjoy human company and will stay close to their owners. Snow Bengal cats love people and enjoy constant attention from them. They are also fond of children and love interacting with them.
They Are Talkative
Snow Bengal cats like to make their voices heard and be a part of the conversation! They make various noises, including meows, chirps, yowls, and trills. This breed is very vocal and loves to talk to their parents.
They Love Long Walks
Snow Bengals enjoy taking long walks outdoors on a leash. Leash training from an early age is helpful in achieving this. Once training is complete, your Bengal will want to take long walks around the block!
They Are Great With Dogs
Unlike most cats, snow Bengals get along well with their canine counterparts. If you introduce a snow Bengal to your dog, they will become fast friends. Bengals and dogs are both very energetic and have great fun playing together.
Bengals Can Be Trained
You can also train snow Bengals like any other dog. They are intelligent cats and understand what their owners want. Don’t forget to give them the right reward and incentive.
Snow Bengals Are Loyal
Many people adopt dogs in search of a loyal pet. Snow Bengals are the perfect alternative for people who can’t house a dog. They are very loving and protective of their human parents. Some snow Bengals will follow their human around the house all day. They want to guard you and stay close to you.
Snow Bengals are Curious
Snow Bengals are more curious than the average house cat. They are incredibly inquisitive and love to explore unfamiliar places. You should always keep an eye on your beloved snow Bengal. They can’t help but poke around and inevitably find their way into trouble!
Caring For Your Snow Bengal Cat
Snow Bengals need a caring and attentive pet owner to ensure their health and safety. Bengals have the same needs as regular housecats.
Snow Bengals are obligate carnivores like most cats. They rely on essential nutrients found only in animal products. Snow Bengals require high amounts of protein and other nutrients, including vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and fatty acids.
A raw food diet is a great option for snow Bengals. Bengals also love cooked chicken every once in a while!
A Mix of Dry and Wet Food
Snow Bengals enjoy food variety in their diets. Dry food is more economical and energy-dense. It won’t spoil if you leave it out for your cat. It contains more carbohydrates, so your snow Bengal will consume ample calories.
Wet or canned cat food has up to 78% moisture content and is ideal for fussy eaters. It contains more protein and fat and fewer carbohydrates than dry food. Giving your snow Bengal a mix of dry and wet food will ensure their best health.
Cat Food Ingredients to Avoid
You should avoid cat food that contains meat by-products, chemical preservatives, and carbohydrate fillers.
The AAFCO defines meat by-products as secondary products produced in addition to the primary product.
Meat by-products provide an inferior form of the protein to cats. Plus, you don’t know what animal species the by-product meat comes from. Avoid feeding your pets meat from unreliable and unknown sources. Your Bengal will only thrive on a high-quality protein diet.
Another red flag for cat enthusiasts is meat meal – a mysterious meat by-product. It is a concentrated meal and uses meal leftovers. It uses a rendering process to destroy natural enzymes and proteins. The meal is a low-quality and highly-concentrated protein powder. If you wouldn’t eat it, neither should your pets.
BHT, BHA, and Ethoxyquin
Chemical preservatives like butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) and butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT) are effective at preserving dry cat food but are potentially cancer-causing agents. You’ll find these chemical preservatives in oils and fats. According to California’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment, they also cause kidney and liver damage in rats.
Additionally, ethoxyquin is illegal to use in human foods in the United States. It is extremely harmful when swallowed or touching the skin. Many pet food manufacturers have started using more “natural” preservatives, such as Vitamin E and C.
Corn Meal and Carbohydrate Fillers
Snow Bengals love protein, and excessive carbohydrate “fillers” are unhealthy for them. Dry food can contain up to 50 percent grain. You can feed your cat grain-free food and limit the carbohydrate content. Wheat gluten is also problematic for snow Bengals. It’s a cheaper alternative to whole-grain options and muscle meat protein. Some cat food can contain melamine, which in combination with cyanuric acid can cause kidney stones and kidney failure.
Snow Bengals are very picky about their water intake and prefer water fountains over a stagnant water bowl. Having a constant fresh water supply will encourage your snow Bengal to stay hydrated. They also want to play with fountains and splash water everywhere!
Dehydration in cats occurs when fluid levels drop due to less water intake. You want to make sure your Bengal drinks water in hot weather. They need more water to maintain an ideal body temperature. An adult snow Bengal requires the same amount of water (in milliliters) and as the number of food calories (in kilocalories).
Schedule Regular Vet Visits
Like any cat, snows Bengals need regular veterinary care for optimal health. They need regular vaccines and annual wellness checks. If your snow Bengal enjoys taking outdoor walks, you need to vaccinate them to prevent diseases. Your Vet will also provide flea, tick, and heartworm medication for your snow Bengal’s wellbeing.
You should also spay or neuter your Bengal cat. Otherwise, your snow Bengal may develop behavior problems like spraying and yowling.
Keep Your snow Bengal Busy
Bored snow Bengals can quickly become destructive. They will attack power cords, and window blinds out of sheer boredom. Snow Bengals are highly intelligent and require proper stimulation. Bored snow Bengals can grow anxious and display irregular behavior patterns like scratching the furniture and urinating outside of the litter box.
You can keep your cat busy by giving them something to climb on. Snow Bengals are excellent climbers and love challenges. You can also provide interactive toys and crinkle balls. These cats require plenty of playtime with their owners.
Alternatively, you can get a new cat to play with your snow Bengal. Some shelters won’t allow you to adopt a solitary kitten and encourage adopting in pairs.
Give them Love and Affection
Some snow Bengals may appear cold and aloof, but they need your love and attention. Touching, massaging, and petting your cat is crucial. Learn to understand what your snow Bengal is trying to tell you with her meows. Treats are a great way to express your love and affection for cats. Find something your snow Bengal loves and buy it.
Final Verdict – Is a Snow Bengal Right for Me?
Knowing the personality, temperament and dietary requirements of snow Bengals is critical before you adopt a new furry friend. Some first-time pet owners struggle with owning Bengals because of their feisty wild-cat temperament. The key to raising a happy Bengal is giving the cat everything she needs! If you’re ready to be a devoted cat parent, then snows Bengals are an ideal choice.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do snow Bengals like snow?
Like other cats and dog breeds, your snow Bengal will develop a thicker winter coat. You might even find your snow Bengal cat enjoys snow days! It is not uncommon to have a snow Bengal cat that enjoys being outside playing in a fresh snowfall.
Do snow Bengal cats bite their owners?
Your snow Bengal cats might attack you by accident; they don’t understand that play-biting and scratching can hurt you. Bengal cats are high-energy cats and engage in frequent, intense play. They can also attack if they feel fearful within the confines of the home.
Are snow Bengals high maintenance?
Snow Bengals are high maintenance and demanding cats. They bond strongly with their owners and can beg for their time and attention.
How much do snow Bengals cost?
Most snow Bengal kittens are more expensive than an adult Bengal. You can expect to pay up to $1000 for a Bengal kitten. But they can range anywhere from $400 to $10,000. The cost depends on their location and breeder.
Are snow Bengal cats jealous?
Snow Bengal cats can get jealous of other pets. If you have many pets, you need to divide your time smartly.