Many Bengal cat owners purchase or adopt the feline in order to eventually breed it. There are many questions out there like how should one breed a Bengal? Or is it safe to breed one without any professional help? Bengal owners that do not really want to breed their cats, should also be aware of the feline’s breeding situation so that they know when to be careful.
When Do Bengal Cats Go into Heat? The answer is 6 months on average. So..Most Bengal cats will have their first heat cycle for around 6 months. And it’s also common for these cats to reach sexual maturity as early as 4/5 months or as late as 10/11 months or even a year.
Bengal Cats in heat – what to expect, kittens 4-5 months old
Ways to Tell If Your Female Bengal is in Heat
- Display of Affection
- Excessive Grooming
- Mating position or call
- Loss of appetite
- Marking her territory
- A desire to escape
A Display of Affection
As soon as your female Bengal goes into heat, you will notice that she becomes very affectionate towards you. She may rub and sidle her back against her stuffed toys, your furniture, other felines or even you.
You can differentiate this display of affection from pure edginess by the way the female Bengal sometimes assumes a mating position or even lifts her tail.
Your fuzz ball might begin to spend a lot of time licking her private parts, even though there is no sign of blood. Most people assume that a cat bleeds when she heats but that is not true. Cats do not bleed during their heat cycle.
Unlike humans, during the heat cycle cats do not shed the lining of their uterus. However, you need to understand that excessive licking of the genital area is also a symptom of urinary tract disease. It could turn out to be something very serious if is not taken care of quickly. When it comes to health issues of cats, it is always against the clock.
If your female Bengal only showcases this behavior without any other signs of heat, then you should immediately take your little friend to the vet. It is better to be safe than sorry.
Mating Position or Call
When your Bengal goes into heat, she may begin to yowl loudly. A yowl is just like a meow but much longer. This calling will most probably go on for days on end, until the feline mates.
The female Bengal will then most probably assume the mating position which includes bowing her head, bending her forelegs, raising her tail that is held at the side of her body and also raising her rear quarters and exposing her perineum. This posture is known as lordosis. And as soon as your Bengal assumes it, her rear legs will begin to tread rhythmically as if she is walking in place.
Loss of Appetite
During the heat cycle, you may notice that your cat is eating less than she normally does. Frankly, at that point in time, her mind is preoccupied with something else. The female Bengals’ inherent instinct transitions her bodily needs towards reproducing, rather than filling her belly with food.
At that point, you should keep a close eye on her appetite. This behavior should not last for more than a week or two. There might be something else at play if your cat is not eating for more than the time period mentioned. Take your Bengal to the vet immediately, if you think that something else is wrong.
Marking Her Territory
A Bengal female that is in heat will spray vertical surfaces with a fluid that has a strong stench, just like her male counterparts. In order to do that, she will back up to her preferred surface, raise her vibrating tail, and may even perform the rhythmic strolling that has been mentioned above.
Bengal owners who are not aware of the situation may think that their cat is in distress. At that point do not be worried, as this is very normal behavior for a female cat that is in heat. She may ruin your furniture, but at least you will be aware of the circumstances.
A Desire to Escape
During the heat cycle, your cat’s natural instinct causes it to pounce at the door as soon as it opens. Outside there are potential suitors and your cat’s desire to find a mate is rather apparent. During the entire ordeal, your cat might just leave for a day or even a week.
If you do not want your cat to leave, sealing all escape points should be on your priority list. You can go ahead and distract the female Bengal in order to divert her mind from the task at hand.
What to Do When Your Bengal Goes into Heat
Your course of action when your Bengal Cat goes into heat really rides on the fact, what do you want to with your cat.
If you do not want to breed your female Bengal then during the heat cycles, you need to ensure that she stays away from all-male Bengals or even other male cats.
Most cats get really good at escaping during a heat, so you may even have to lock your fuzzball in a bedroom or even the bathroom during her heat cycle just as a precaution. This strategy will guarantee that your fuzzball does not get into contact with any male cats.
On the other hand, if you want to breed your Bengal then you should introduce her to a male cat when she is fully sexually mature. You might as well pick out a stud even before she goes into heat in order to have the best babies with the right characteristics. The qualities that you want to transfer to the next generation.
Things to Know Before Breeding Your Bengal
You need to allow your Bengal cats to cycle in and out of the heat a couple of times before you allow them to mate, thus allowing long breaks in between babies.
These breaks actually allow the female Bengal to replenish her body and also gain her strength. You need to understand that the Bengal breeds need to be treated much differently than the other house cats.
This is due to the fact that the Bengal Breed has a much harsher and intense heat cycle that will drain the energy stores of the cats and it lasts way longer if the felines do not mate.
Risk of Vaginal Infection
Another issue with Bengal Cats is that during the heat cycle the cervix of the female Bengal dilates in order to allow the entry of the male Bengal sperm. This dilation poses a threat to the health of the female as it allows the entry of deadly bacteria that can normally co-exist inside the walls of the creature’s vagina.
With all the other cat breeds, the heat cycle is not very long and so the time frame for infection is minimal. The heat cycle of the Bengals is much longer due to which they are much more susceptible to this fatal uterine infection that is popularly known as Pyometra.
The only way that you could reduce the chances of your Bengal from being a victim of this infection is by mating it with another cat. Successful mating actually reduces the normally long and harsh heat cycles of a Bengal and thus decrease exposure to Pyometra.
It is because of these definitive dissimilarities between other Breeds and the Bengal Breed that the best policy for the optimal health of your Bengal is Breed the cat when it goes into heat and to not miss the heat cycles.
All this also means that you need to provide your Bengal with a highly nutritious diet and supplements in order to alleviate any stress that the cat develops due to having more litters plus you might need to retire the cat sooner than other cat Breeds.
Just because your female Bengal mates during her heat cycle does not necessarily mean that she will get pregnant. There are many reasons that Bengal’s might not get pregnant such as:
- Immaturity of the female or the male
- Low weight
- Not enough mating
If a female Bengal does not get pregnant during one heat cycle, she will most probably go into heat again after 2 to 3 months if ovulation occurred and if ovulation did occur then she might go into heat after about 4 weeks.
Bengals are much more at risk of contracting Pyometra, as a result of the increased frequency of heat cycles from the lack of ovulation.
Things to Expect after Your Bengal is Pregnant
When to Take the Bengal to the Vet?
If you think that your Bengal is pregnant or you suspect that the cat mated while she was in heat then the first thing that you should do is take your Bengal to the vet.
The best time to take the pregnant Bengal to the vet is about three weeks into her pregnancy. If you take her any time before that, then you will just waste cash as the vet will not be able to confirm the pregnancy.
In case you think that your feline is sick, then you should definitely take her to the vet in order to get her health assessed and do let the vet know that you suspect that your Bengal is pregnant.
Options Regarding Bengal’s Pregnancy
After about three weeks, your vet will most probably be able to give you a positive affirmation regarding your Bengal’s pregnancy by gently palpating the abdomen of your Bengal. If an ultrasound is available, then you will know after about two to three weeks after your cat gets pregnant.
During the early weeks of the cat’s pregnancy, your vet will tell you about all the options you have. One of the options will be of getting your cat spayed which will help end her pregnancy or you may decide to do it for the sake of your Bengal’s health or to reduce the feline overpopulation.
If you want your Bengal to go through with the pregnancy then your vet can give you advice regarding litter care and also caring for your pregnant cat. This will also be a great time to think about getting your future kittens homes.
How Many Kittens?
After about 42 days into the pregnancy of your Bengal, the vet will most likely be able to give you an x-ray so that you can look at the number of kittens that your Bengal will have. This will help you know how many kittens to expect when your Bengals give birth and if she is in some kind of stress in between the birth of the litter.
Feeding a Pregnant Bengal
When your Bengal gets pregnant, the thing you should know is that now your Bengal needs food that is enough to sustain her as well as her litter. You should only feed her food that is high in quality and wet food is a much healthier choice as compared to the dry food.
When buying food for your pregnant Bengal, male sure that you read all the ingredients on the food product labels in order to make sure that all of them are of the highest quality. You Bengal needs the energy to maintain her pregnancy as well as have enough might in her to carry out the nursing afterward.
Do Bengals have morning sickness? Bengals do not have morning sickness. If your cat begins to vomit a lot or show any signs of being sick then you should immediately take the feline to the vet. There might be some other underlying sickness that she may be hiding.
Do Bengals let people touch their stomachs? Cats are very territorial and their motherly protective instincts kick in as soon as they get pregnant. They become very protective of their kittens so you should just observe the pregnant feline and do not touch it or even poke the poor creature’s belly.
Does a pregnant cat drink a lot of water? This actually depends on the cat, but most of them tend to be very thirsty during pregnancy.