Bengal Cat- Facts, History, and Health Problems
Quick Facts about Bengal Cats
Bengal cats are known for their inquisitive and friendly demeanor, as well as for their unique fur patterns. These medium to large house cats love to explore, exercise, and communicate with their owners. Today, this Asian-descended breed is prized by cat owners who love the exotic look of wild felines without the danger of their unpredictable behavior.
More Quick Facts:
- Bengal cats are the only house cats that can have rosettes on their furs (like jaguars and leopards)
- They are curious and love to learn, as well as engage in a variety of training and house-breaking activities
- Bengal cats are usually medium to large sized, can grow to roughly a foot and a half and weigh between 8 and 15 pounds
- This breed is known as a particularly talkative cat, and loves to shower owners with affection and companionship
|WEIGHT:||8 to 15 pounds|
|LENGTH:||About a foot and a half|
|COAT COLOR:||Spotted or marbled coats with patterns outlined in black, chocolate, or gray/silver|
|EYE COLOR:||Green or gold|
|LIFE EXPECTANCY:||10 to 16 years|
The modern Bengal cat is considered a hybrid breed, though they’re not usually a part of exotic breed lists due to their smaller, more domestic size. Even so, they’re a relatively new breed that resulted from crossing Asian Leopard Cats (ALC) with domestic cats in the US (they derive their name from their ancestors’ name).
Although there are mentions of attempted crosses of ALC and domestic breeds as far back as 1889, the modern line is credited to Jean Mill. The first registry to accept the breed was the International Cat Association in 1983, and since then, they have become accepted by other major organizations.
Common Health Problems
Bengal cats, despite their more recent feral ancestry, require the same immunizations and health treatments any domestic cats do. Moreover, they don’t have the same resistances and immunities as their ALC ancestors (including feline leukemia virus). ALC-descended cats are also prone to a variety of hereditary and congenital issues which can be dangerous. Before you purchase cat health insurance, it’s worth having your Bengal cat tested for many common genetic diseases as well. Some other common health issues include:
- Bengal cats are somewhat more prone to infectious diseases that include feline infectious peritonitis and trichimonas foetus (a disease that causes diarrhea)
- The breed is susceptive to hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, an abnormal thickening of the heart muscle which currently has no genetic testing marker
- Bengal cats are also prone to a rolling in of the eyelids known as Bengal progressive retinal atrophy, a disease which fortunately can be tested for quite affordably
Bengal Cat Care
Though they are descended from Asian Leopard Cats (and in some varieties the African Leopard Cat), their generational distance from these original lines means Bengal cats don’t require any specialized care. Even so, you should still give them the care and attention any other domestic breed requires, including grooming, exercise, and general health care.
In terms of grooming, Bengal cats require a weekly brush or combing to remove dead hair and prevent the accumulation of hair balls, as well as a nail trim every few weeks. Having a scratching post can also help their nail sharpness. Additionally, you should provide ample opportunities for exercise and exploration, including activities such as climbing, interactive toys, and spending time training them and actively playing together.
Moreover, while they enjoy the outdoors in some cases, you should be careful to keep them indoors to avoid them contracting any infectious diseases from other animals, as well as getting into fights. While they get along with larger pets like dogs, you may want to keep gerbils, guinea pigs, and other smaller rodents separate. Finally, although they’re generally affectionate cats, Bengals should always be slowly familiarized to children to avoid any scuffles or accidents.
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Personality of the Bengal Cat
Modern Bengal cats are known to be excellent house pets with a love of discovery and an affectionate nature. Despite their wild appearance, most Bengal cats are quite friendly and are very receptive to training and bonding with their owners. Here are some of their most common personality traits:
- They’re highly affectionate with their owners
They are quite talkative
They get along well with other cats
They are high-energy
They are receptive to training
Known to be an intelligent breed
They do shed somewhat
They are hypoallergenic
They are very playful
They have high exercise requirements
They love to retrieve objects
They’re known to like water
They’re natural climbers
They enjoy exploring and discovering new areas
They are very self-confident