Bengal Cats - The Energy Packed Breed

A Bengal named Jeffy. Photo: Kyle Greenberg

Bengal cats were developed to combine the look of the Asian Leopard Cat (a wildcat) with the disposition of the domestic cat.

This crossing of wildcats and domestic cats, usually Egyptian Mau, Indian Mau, Burmese and Abyssinian, met with a good deal of controversy.

For the Bengal breed to gain acceptance, it needed to be shown that all the wildcat tendencies had been bred out, and that these new felines could reproduce a consistent type.

The litters born of wild/domestic parents (F1) tended to produce infertile males and fertile females, and in most cases the temperament of the offspring was unstable.

Most cat associations do not allow early generation, F1, F2, F3 Bengals to be shown, and they are . . .

. . .not regarded as being suitable as pets.

Domestic generation Bengals (known as SBT Bengals) are four or more generations away from the Asian Leopard Cat.

Spotted Bengals

It is the spotted coat pattern that most resembles the coat of the Asian Leopard Cat and has earned the Bengal breed the nickname "living room leopard."

bengal catStunning to look at, but a Bengal is definitely not just for show, they very much make themselves part of your family.

The spots range through chocolate, seal brown, tawny, gray, orange and golden.

A high contrast between the spots and background color is considered preferable.

The Bengal should have a spotted belly and a black tip to the tail.

Some spotted Bengals have a darker center to their spots and are known as Rosetted Bengal cats.

Seal sepia with gold or green eyes and seal lynx point with blue eyes, are known as snow leopard spotted Bengal cats.

Marbled Bengals

The term "Marbled" relates to Bengals that have sweeping swirled pattern coats.

There will be at the least two basic colors, a light and a darker, with possibly a third color, which produces a colorful whirlpool. Every marbled Bengal flaunts its own distinct pattern.

The Bengal - Appearance and Personality

This is Copper. Photo: Francis Luong

Bengals have short to medium, shiny, very dense and unusually soft coats. In fact the coat of the Bengal breed has been described as "Quite unlike any other domestic breed, being more akin to the feel of a wildcat's pelt".

A medium sized cat the Bengal is large boned, so tends to be heavy for its size, with males weighing up to 15 pounds and females up to 10 pounds. Muscular, and generally very healthy, Bengals live up to about 20 years.

They have small rounded ears, large oval eyes and often quiet pronounced facial markings.

Bengals are blessed with personality - in spades!

This breed of cat may be admired for their striking and unusual coat patterns, but make no mistake, Bengals are not felines that are content to sit quietly on 'display'!

A running, jumping, and very much a climbing cat (a Cat Tree is highly recommended), in fact, Bengals could be described as feline dynamos.

They are curious, intelligent, energy packed cats who will very much make themselves one of the family. Bengals love to stretch and roll around on the carpet.

Melly in the garden. Photo: Rosane Prada

Because they are so full of vim and vigor, the occasional unintentional scratch may occur when playing with your Bengal cat.

This may be a concern if you have children in the family, but you can be assured that most domestic Bengals (SBT Bengals) are not over aggressive, they love and are loyal to their humans, including children (as noted above, early generation, F1, F2 and F3 Bengals are not regarded as being suitable as pets.)

Watch These Delightful Bengal Kittens Play

With its loud 'voice', and often extensive range of yowls and chirrups, a Bengal will get your attention if it needs it.

Bengals use their extensive vocal skills to express a wide range of emotions, but do not generally continually chatter like a modern Siamese.

These cats are famous for their love of water, standing, playing and splashing about in it.

Some owners have reported that their Bengal cat will happily get in the shower with them!

The Bengal breed loves to receive affection, willingly taking all the stroking and petting that you are prepared to give them. These felines are also not shy in giving affection, often pushing and nuzzling their face into yours. All this and stunning good looks too.

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