13 Steps to Identify a Bengal Cat (with Examples & Illustration)

By Nadine Oraby | 2020 Update

Bengal cats are a hybrid breed of the Asian Leopard Cats and domestic cats. This makes identifying Bengal cats a lot more complicated.

So, how to identify a Bengal cat? Bengal cats often have a spotted leopard-like coat. Usually, this coat is brown or golden. Bengal cats are slightly smaller in size but have a bulkier build. If you’re facing problems in identifying your Bengal cat, you can contact your vet, breeder, or a Bengal cat association for better guidance.

In this article, I’ll go through 13 steps for identifying a Bengal cat. Once you’re done, you should certainly be able to determine if you have one.

What are Bengal cats?

Before we go into detail on how to identify a Bengal cat, it’s essential to get some necessary information about this breed.

Bengal cats are one of the most popular cat breeds in the world due to several reasons:

  • They’re highly active and love playing
  • They’re hypoallergenic and won’t cause severe allergic reactions. You can read our article on this topic
  • They require minimal grooming

Bengals are special cats.

Why you ask?

Well, that’s because they’re part wild. Their ancestors are the wild Asian Leopard Cats which can’t be domesticated.

The reason for creating the Bengal cat breed was to produce a cat that had the beauty of the wild Asian Leopard cats and the temperament of domestic cats.

Today, Bengal cats are found all over the world and are much loved by cat enthusiasts.

Step 1: Notice their coat type

Bengal cats have a pelt instead of fur.

What’s the difference?

Well, a pelt is a lot thinner than fur and can be considered as the skin of the animal.

Having a pelt means that Bengal cats have an extremely thin coat. This makes grooming a lot easier and is also the reason why Bengals are considered a hypoallergenic breed (a breed which doesn’t cause allergic reactions.)

Another interesting fact about the Bengal cat’s coat is that it glitters. This often can’t be noticed in pictures but is quite evident when one sees a Bengal cat in reality.

Although not all Bengal cats have the glitter gene, the few who do are breathtakingly beautiful.

The Bengal cat coat can be:

  • Spotted
  • Rosetted
  • Marble
  • Sparbled

Here, I’ll provide you with the details of all four of these types

Spotted Bengal cats

This is the most common type of Bengal. Such Bengal cats have single-toned spots all over their body and look similar to leopards.

These stops are monotonous (of the same color) and can be of different sizes.

Rosette Bengal cats

This is the most desirable coat type of Bengals which contains spots with two colors.

These spots often have two different colors (one lining the periphery while the other is inside) and are larger than the single-toned spots in the spotted Bengal cat variety.

The beautiful contrast between the two different tones in the rosette pattern is what makes this type desirable.

The spots in the rosette pattern may come in a variety of shapes, including:

  • Arrowhead: Spots which appear like arrows
  • Paw print: Paw-shaped spots
  • Donut: These are larger spots which possibly form by the fusion of many spots

Marble Bengal cats

This is the third type of Bengal cat coat, which is often undesirable.

The marble Bengal cats make for great pets but aren’t much appreciated in pet shows.

This breed has darker swirls all over its body which can stretch from the head all the way down to the cat’s tail.

The reason why this type is called marble is that its swirls resemble those of the marble rock.

Sparbled Bengal cats

Originally, Bengal cats had no sparbled type. But with extensive breeding, this new variety has been formed.

Sparbled Bengals have a mixture of spots (from spotted Bengal cats) and swirls (from marble Bengal cat.)

The swirls are often found on the legs or tail of the cat.

Step 2: The coat color of Bengal cats

Whenever people think of a Bengal cat, they imagine a brown cat with dark brown spots

But the Bengal cat comes in a variety of colors.

Three color types of Bengal cats are currently recognized by The International Cat Association (TICA). These include:

  • Brown Bengal cats
  • Snow Bengal cats
  • Silver Bengal cats

There are some other colors of Bengal cats that aren’t yet recognized by cat associations around the world but are quite common.

Some of these colors are:

  • Blue Bengal cats
  • Black Bengal cats
  • Charcoal Bengal cats

To identify Bengal cats, you’d need to understand all these varieties.

Brown Bengal cats

This is the most common variety of Bengals. Look up the word “Bengal cats” on Google, and this is all that you’ll see.

Brown Bengal cats have a light brown or golden background with dark brown spots. Their eyes are usually green or golden.

Usually, these cats have a black tail tip which adds to their “leopard” look.

Snow Bengal cats

This is one of the rarest and costliest varieties of Bengal cats.

As the name suggests, their base color ranges from white to off-white.

The spots, rosettes or swirls on their bodies range from a light brown to a chocolate brown.

These cats have breathtaking eyes which can come in stunning blue color. Trust me; there’s nothing cuter than a Snow Bengal kitten with blue eyes!

Their eyes can also come in green or aqua.

In our Snow Bengal Cat Ultimate Guide, we go into detail on every aspect of this breed.

Silver Bengal cats

The Silver Bengal cats contain a gene which inhibits dark colors from appearing as a base color for their coat.

As a result, they have a base color ranging from white to dark steel. The markings on their coat are always dark, which provide a dramatic contrast.

The rosettes, however, can have a light-brown color in them as well.

Now, let’s move on to the varieties that aren’t recognized by cat associations as of yet.

Blue Bengal cats

Blue Bengal cats aren’t really as blue as one might imagine.

The base color of their coat is a bluish-grey with dark blue markings. An interesting fact about Blue Bengal cats is that their markings never really turn black as one might expect.

Blue Bengal cats seem to be next in line for recognition by cat associations as many breeders are exerting efforts for this matter.

Black Bengal cats

A lot of people have heard the name, “Black Bengal cat” but haven’t really seen this breed.

In my opinion, the Black Bengal cat doesn’t look that much like a Bengal. But this doesn’t change the fact that they are a beautiful breed.

Black Bengal cats have a black undercoat with dark brown markings. What’s interesting is that the dark markings aren’t that noticeable unless you view them in sunlight.

Charcoal Bengal cats

Charcoal Bengal cats are quite rare.

In fact, most people don’t even know they exist (which is as rare as it gets.)

The charcoal Bengal cats have a gene which gives their undercoat a smoky look. They often are not found in rust or brown and are usually found in a silvery hue.

Their darker markings complement the undercoat.

Step 3: Noticing the body type of Bengal cats

Now that you’re aware of the coat type and color of Bengal cats, you’d want to know the general body type of this fascinating breed.

It baffles me at times that some people consider Bengal cats to be “big.”

In reality, the Bengal cat size is quite small with the females weighing around 8-10 pounds while the males weigh 10-15 pounds.

Despite being smaller cats, Bengals have a stocky build with strong muscles. Just watch them climb a tree, and you’d know how powerful these beasts are.

This body type helps Bengal cats retain their energetic personality.

What’s more:

The size and weight of a Bengal cat vary with the type of domestic cat breed used for its breeding.

What does that mean?

Well, everybody knows that the Asian Leopard Cats are bred with domestic cats to produce the fascinating Bengals.

But which domestic cat breed is used with ALCs? Well, there are a number of cat breeds which can be used.

With a plethora of domestic cat breeds contributing to the gene pool of Bengal cats, their size and body type tends to vary a lot.

The bottom line is:

The size of a Bengal cat is highly dependent on the domestic cat breed used as its ancestor.

For example, a British Shorthair cat being slightly big would produce bigger Bengal cats.

Regardless of their ancestors, all Bengal cats are highly energetic, which is why they rarely ever get fat.

If the cat that you’re trying to identify has a bump or seems fat, the chances are that it isn’t a Bengal cat.

Step 4: Identifying the Bengal cat’s temperament

You might be thinking:

My cat does match all of the descriptions that are provided in this article, but I’m still not sure if I should identify it as a Bengal cat.

That’s perfectly okay. Honestly, there are a lot of tabbies that look quite like the Bengal cat.

For an inexperienced person, descriptions aren’t enough to identify a Bengal cat.

So here, I’ll be giving an overview of the Bengal cat temperament.

Think of the craziest cats that you’ve ever seen and multiply their energy by 10; that’s Bengal cats for you!

Bengal cats would go crazy for no apparent reason and would jump from one couch to the other. They would also require you to play with them daily.

If your cat matches the description above and is crazy for playtime, it probably is a Bengal cat.

A lot of people want their Bengals to sit in their laps.

But here’s the thing:

Bengals most certainly are not lap cat.

Sitting around and basking in the sun is just not what a Bengal cat does. It would rather spend time catching a fly than watching tv with you.

But this doesn’t mean that Bengals never like to cuddle with their owners because they do; just at their own will.

Step 5: Notice if your cat likes to socialize

Bengal cats love to socialize.

They aren’t one of those cats that would shy away when they meet someone new.

Whether it be other cats, humans, or even dogs, Bengal cats wouldn’t be hesitant to let others into their lives. Maybe that’s why they’re always happy!

A lot of cats get jealous if another pet arrives because they want to keep their owners to themselves; but not Bengals! They’d be more than happy to watch you spend some time with other animals.

Step 6: Does your cat enjoy baths?

Cats hate water; who doesn’t know that?

Well, apparently, not all cats do. In fact, Bengals love water.

If you let them into the bathroom, they might even learn how to turn on the tap just to soak their furry feet in the water.

They also love bath times and would desist getting out of the tub.

This is quite unusual for cats and is a significant indicator that your cat is a Bengal.

If you have a pool at your place and your cat seems awfully fascinated with it, then it might be a Bengal cat.

Step 7: See if your cat gets along with dogs

Bengal cats are especially great with dogs.

Here’s the kicker:

Many Bengal cat owners suggest that their cats are far more comfortable with dogs than they are with other cats.

If you have a dog at your place and your cat spends nice time with it, then it might just be a Bengal cat.

However, if you are planning on keeping your cat with a dog, make sure that both animals are comfortable with each other. At times, dogs are aggressive in the presence of cats, and you should never expose such pets to each other.

Step 8: Check how high your cat can jump

If someone would ask me to pinpoint one favorite activity for Bengal cats, I’d say it’s jumping.

Bengal cats are incredible jumpers.

At times I look at them and wonder why I’m such a lazy potato, but that’s another story.

Bengal cats can jump up to 3 times their height. That’s insane!

If you’re confused whether your cat is a Bengal and it seems to jump all over the place, then it might be one.

Step 9: Is your cat scared or fond of heights?

A lot of cats are afraid of heights.

You put them up on a sill, and they’d be scared to jump down; but not Bengals!

Bengal cats are fascinated with heights. They like climbing atop high branches or sills and just watching the world roll by from the top.

This has probably been passed down to them from their wild ancestors that hunt for food.

Step 10: Observe if your cat is vocal

If your cat is always quiet, then it’s probably not a Bengal because the latter are incredibly chatty.

In fact, Bengal cats have a plethora of sounds that they use for communicating.

Given below is a summary of each of Bengal cat’s sounds and their meaning:

MeowWanting attention
Purr (deep, soothing voice)Relaxed and happy
Hissing (high-pitched voice)Angry or scared
Yowl (longer meow)Anxious

Step 11: Consult a Bengal cat breeder

No matter how much information you have about a breed, a professional would always know more.

That’s why if you’re stuck and can’t identify your cat, you should approach a Bengal cat breeder.


They spend lots of time breeding cats to give rise to specific characteristics in Bengals. That’s why Bengal cat breeders are fully aware of exactly how all types of Bengal cats look.

You could take a photograph of your cat or even the cat itself to the breeder and ask him to help you identify it.

You might also be interested in breeding your own Bengal cats. Why not turn that into a business? Check out my article on how to become a Bengal cat breeder and make some good cash.

Step 12: Reach out to a Bengal cat organization

There are lots of Bengal cat organizations (which ones) out there which help maintain the standards of a breed.

They understand every characteristic of Bengal cats and even know which of them are desirable and which aren’t.

Although they might not cater to you individually, you can get lots of information from them, which might help you identify your cat as a Bengal.

Step 13: Ask your vet

If everything fails, you always have your vet to take guidance.

With their vast experience in dealing with pets, vets are often aware of what Bengal cats look like.

You could also get a genetic test done for your cat and check whether it’s a Bengal or not.

Related Questions

Is my cat a Bengal or a tabby? Tabbies look similar to Bengal cats. They can have spots, swirls, and an undercoat, just like Bengal cats.

Then how can you differentiate?

Well, honestly, there’s no authentic way to do that unless you have a recorded lineage of the cat from a breeder.

But you can differentiate both these cats with their personality and traits. Bengal cats are awfully energetic and love to play.

They’re also highly fascinated with water, which is a rare trait in cats. Bengal cats often drink water by taking it into their paws which is something regular tabbies don’t do.

Are Bengal cats good house pets? Bengal cats are wonderful house pets with an energetic yet loving nature.

A few people hold this notion that Bengal cats are wild, but that can’t be farther from the truth.

The domestic Bengal cats are at least four generations away from their wild Asian Leopard Cat ancestors. They are deemed perfectly safe for domestic purposes and make great pets.

How much does a Bengal cat cost? Bengal cats are one of the most expensive cat breeds in the world. They can be bought for a wide range of price from $1,000 to $10,000.

Their price varies with their filial generation and the quality of their coat.

Other Sources

Written By Khalil Ullah

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